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Old 06-29-2000, 04:24 PM   #1
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Smile Iroquoian Singing and Dancing

Good Afternoon everyone, I've browsed this board may times but I haven't seen much info on my cultural dances. So to get the ball rolling what do the rest of you think about smoke dances as competition at many powwows up hear in the NY/NJ area?

I'm also interested in learning what everyone else feels about the stomp dance. Traditionally it was a religious dance but has now become a more social dance. I know the Cree and many other tribes use the stomp dance, so what's your take on it?

Hope to see a lot of you at a powwow this summer. Later
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Old 06-29-2000, 04:55 PM   #2
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Good tpoic. Im Mvskoke Creek/Seminole and Stomp Dance is a very big part of who we are. It goes WAYYY back and is something that we have always done. I dont know or have ever heard of the Smoke Dance so I cant comment on that.
As far as Stomp Dance, we have social stomp dances and the "religous" stomps that are held for healing and occasions like Bvsk(Green Corn Ceremony) which we just had Bvsk a few weeks ago.
I have seen people do exhibition stomp dances for educating people but it is nowhere near the real thing. Also,there are benefit stomp dances. People come and participate and donations are collected for school supplies for the kids, or food and house repairs for our elders who need it etc. These are run like a "traditional" stomp dance but it is more the informal, social stomp dance then anything.
The "religous" Stomp Dances that are held are invitation only. These dances are communtiy only dances unless you are brought in by someone within that community.
This year someone mentioned something to me about competition stomp dancing, I think that is ridiculous.
Anyways, I will go to a Stomp Dance before I go to a powwow any day! Especially if you have a REALLY good caller. To those of you who have never been , you cant help but to start moving when those locha (turtle)shakers start going and the rattles start kicking in with the stomp songs being called and answered by the men in a perfect, balanced harmony; with the voices permeating every shadow of the arbor as you dance in the firelight. Words cannot express what it is like, but it is awesome!!

So what is the Smoke Dance?
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Old 06-29-2000, 05:37 PM   #3
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This past weekend I saw the Allegheny River Indian Dancers perform Smoke and other Iroquois dances at the Indian Art Market at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, IN. The group was excellent. They had several great singers. Bill Crause, the leader of this group, said they have over 35 dances they can do. I highly recommend them if you get a chance. The group is made up of mostly Seneca people from around Buffalo, NY.

I've seen smoke dance competitions at the Oneida Pow-wow in WI. (I'm heading up there tomorrow to see it again!) I don't see it as a problem that it is done as a contest. From what I've been taught about smoke dances they are a social dance. I don't have a problem with contest dancing in general.
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Old 06-29-2000, 09:47 PM   #4
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Yeah, I think smoke dances would be a great addition to the powwow scene. Contest too. I never could get that timing right. Lots of fun!!
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Old 06-29-2000, 10:41 PM   #5
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I go to school in Ny and when I am up there I go to the Pow wows and really enjoy the Iroquois Social dances. I love watching the smoke dances, i wish i knew how to dance that way... http://www.powwows.com/ubb/smile.gif And Bill Crouse is an excellent singer. He was the MC at our pow wow this past year (at Cornell University)and he was great!!! Well thats my thoughts on it....

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Old 07-05-2000, 09:46 AM   #6
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All right you guys, got a question about the head pieces (for lack of better term). How are those headpieces made? I've seen some old b/w pictures (looks about the 1940's) labeled "Seneca social dance" - what is the significance of the single feather sticking straight up?

What is the origin of the smoke dance? I know the story behind it about making a draft so the smoke can leave the long house. Second what is the stick dance? If I remember correctly I believe the Dance Theater did a special on PBS several years ago with this as one of the dances they did.

Any info would be helpful.
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Old 07-05-2000, 11:59 AM   #7
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I saw the Stick Dance done at Oneida, WI on Saturday night. The MC said it was a social dance and invited everyone to join in. The songs are similar to other Iroquois songs in that there is a "call & response" part and then the song. The dance was led by one of the Iroquois dancers and everyone else "followed the leader". I don't have any information about the history of it.
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Old 07-05-2000, 02:43 PM   #8
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I've seen two examples of stomp dance. Once, a group brought a demonstration up from OK; the second time, there was a competition at a powwow in OK.

We watched 'til it wrapped up about 4 a.m. Correction: Couldn't stop watching it!

With respect,
Lee

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People keep telling me to act my age. How old am I, again?
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Old 07-11-2000, 02:02 AM   #9
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From the little that I know about Iroquois and social dancing, I know the "head pieces" http://www.powwows.com/ubb/smile.gif are called, and I know that im not spelling this right, but it sounds like Ga-stow-ah....i think. PLease dont hate me if im wrong. http://www.powwows.com/ubb/smile.gif And as for the feathers, eack member of the Iroquois confederacy, Seneca, Onieda, Cayuga, Mohawk, Onondaga, and the Tuscarora, have a different arangement of feathers. One might have a feather sticking straight up or have one up and one back, or have three up, but im not sure which arrangement corresponds to which nation. Lets see what else do I know.... I think thats all. I hope that this is at all informative, just my little input. http://www.powwows.com/ubb/smile.gif

Sasha
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Old 07-11-2000, 10:21 AM   #10
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We are having the Bigmountain family (Iron Mountain Dancers) from the Six Nations reserve in Canada at our Pow Wow in November to demonstate Iroquois Dances. They seem like such good group of people. We are exited about learning about this!
We are also hosting the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Youth Dancers, to learn about their traditonal social dances. The caller is only nine years old.
I have seen the Choctaw, but not the Iron Mountain group. Has anyone seen them?
As an Intertribal Pow Wow we like to show some other styles of dancing each year other than Plains style dancing! Need to learn more about each other and we need to breakdown those sterotypes, ya know!
*All of our demonstration are scheduled in the "down" time!

[This message has been edited by terence, AISC Director (edited July 11, 2000).]
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Old 07-11-2000, 10:52 AM   #11
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terence,
you will absolutely, not be in any way, dissapointed by The Big Mountain family. They are all incredibel and wonderful people. Little Big Mountainthe Father) is an aweseom person and wait until you here his presentation. you will aughing so hard you wont be able to breath. Defintley a good choice as far as a group of people to come to your powwow http://www.powwows.com/ubb/smile.gif you will enjoy them very much http://www.powwows.com/ubb/smile.gif
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Old 07-11-2000, 11:48 AM   #12
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The Big Mountains- while I have never seen them do any shows or smoke dances, are a wonderful family. I am a well traveled dancer and the family is respected every where I go. Their children are excellent dancers and nice people as well. I am sure that the show will reflect the love and values that the Big Mountains posess.
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Old 07-11-2000, 02:00 PM   #13
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Talking

Thank you guys so much! Now I am even more excited! It is very unusual for us to hire anyone w/ out checking them out, but they were recommended and all I had to do was talk to them by phone! We look for good hearted people, as that is what we want to put "out there" about our Pow Wow, so this is great to know they are as wonderful as they sound! Oh, dear! If the Dad is funny, I can't wait to see him with our M. C. Scott Richards is always saying something with a twinkle in his eye.
Iron Mountain is helping us with our school Day program w/ over 2,000 children.
I am also looking forward to having our first female hoop dancer (Katrina Big Mountain)! Sounds like fun and a few worries off of me!
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Old 07-11-2000, 04:41 PM   #14
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I don't know what the origins of the smoke dance are, but I will try to find out. The old folks I know from Seneca and Mohawk say that the name comes from all the dust that was raised from the pounding of the dancers feet during the dance. It would seem that if there was smoke in the longhouse they would open the dampers on the stoves rather than do a dance.

Stick dance, if it is the one I am thinking of is a very old hunting dance, predating the Handsome Lake religion. It is called 'Shaking the Bush' and is one of the neater dances to do. The pairs of dancers face eacher and perform a little hopping/kick step. Not so good dancers or their partners often get it in the shins when they start on the wrong foot.
***Oops, This is a good example of why you should check your brain before you open your mouth. I really don;t know what I was thinking. Shaking the Bush is called KICK dance in english, sometimes...The "Stick dance is the same as Delaware Skin dance. The name comes from the old style delaware (Lenape) drum of folded rawhide. later on, after the Seneca adopted the dance into their song bag they used other kinds of noise makers instead of the folded drum. I have even seen Kellogs cereal boxes used. They are beaten into smithereens with sticks, sometimes the habdles of horn rattles. Sometimes no 'drum' is used at all. The singers beat the bench to maintain the rythm. After the introductory songs there are fast and slow songs song pretty much at random depending on where you are. Also denending on where you are this will be the last dance of a social evening.


In my experience, The basic difference between the secular and the sacred form of any of the dances depends on the use of the long chanted introductions to the dance tunes. These chants do not appear on any of the recordings with which I am familiar.

The hat is called 'gustowe'(real or original hat)by the Seneca, and the moving feathers on top do have national significance. The frame of the hats are traditionally made fron ash splints, folded and tied together and then covered, depending on the identity of the wearer, with cloth, either as a full cover or just along the ribs of the frame (mostly Mohawk)

[This message has been edited by raptor (edited July 17, 2000).]
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Old 07-11-2000, 09:16 PM   #15
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Hey,the BigMountains are great people and fine entertainers. You got the right people to work the children. Little is a riot. We have alot of memories together but I don't think he'd want me to mention those!!!! That was before he met Katrina! http://www.powwows.com/ubb/biggrin.gif I know all the Bigmountains. Worked with a couple of the brothers at thier show in Ca. Any one of them would be great to have, but LittleDeer's got all the charm and jokes too! When is that Powwow? I might have to drop by if I'm anywhere in the neighborhood.
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Old 07-12-2000, 10:35 AM   #16
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Thanks for the info so far - it's been helpful.

However, I have a question about the general outfits worn by the Iroquois. Are the outfits basically the same among the 6 tribes or is there a difference? The reason I ask is that at most dances, when they call for the smoke dance competition, the dancers are wearing their regular dance outfits. I've only been to one dance where there was a single dancer wearing what I presume is an Iroquois outfit. His dance cloths consisted of the hat, a collard ribbon shirt, wool leggings, a velvet or hand woven sash with fringe at the ends, a set of mixed deer toes and tin cones, mocs and a necklace. That's the best description I could tell from where I was sitting. How do the Mohawk or Tuscarora sew up the mocs? Also, what is the basic dance cloths for the lady dancers?

Thanks.
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Old 07-13-2000, 04:28 PM   #17
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Yes, there is a 'basic' Iroquois style. Much like there is a 'basic' straight dance outfit, subject to tribal and historic fashion and fad. You seem to have the basics down. There are differences in the designs of beadwork, some are tribal specific and some seem to be gender specific.
The same is true of the moccasins. They are tribal and gender specific. How they are made depends on the time period and style. Some are sewn with a vamp insert and some are sewn with a simple center puckered seam. Some have a combination of the two.

This could be a very complicated post, send me a private message if you want very specific info and I'll see if I can help.
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Old 07-13-2000, 08:59 PM   #18
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Red face

rabbitbelly,
The pow wow Terence is referring to is listed on this site. It is in November. I will be there with bells on! Can't wait to see the Big Mountain family as well as the Choctaw youths. Hope to see you there!
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Old 07-25-2000, 09:18 AM   #19
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I was looking over everyone's replies and I know about the Stomp Dances. I'm a shaker for the Ani-go-di-ge-wi (wild potato clan),Cherokee. We have our Green COrn Ceremonies like the Creek, Seminole, Caddo, and the rest of us. We are similiar in songs, calls, dress, arbors, and etc. It is taken very serious and can be fun too. especially when yo get a good caller and ZOOM there you go.

I can also SMoke Dance. I was with the American Indian Dance Theatre and am in that crazy video we did for PBS. We were taught those dances by Bill Crouse, Kevin Johnny John, Litha Johny John, Pete Jemison and a few others. I danced in the compt. at Schemitzen and had fun. Bill and his family are wonderful people. If i can recall too, the Stick Dance is not like Shake the bush. The stick dance is all the men first then all the woman and its a slow to fast dance. We follow each other around in a circle and there are no jumps. The hats that the men wear depend on their clan and whether they are Cayuga, Mohawk, Seneca, so forth. I truly hope that I'm gettign this right. It has been a long time.

I think that my favorite smoke dancers to watch in woman's are Valerie Parker and two other girls and I can't remember their names. Ah shoot. But the Jam! I like to smoke dance, its really fun.

I hope this helps.
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Old 07-25-2000, 11:05 PM   #20
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Tooter, you wouldnt happen to know Emma Taylor's family down there in cherokee would ya?
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