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wardancer 02-16-2001 11:50 AM

Wheelchair Bound
A question for my fellow "Tradish".
My son is in a wheelchair. He has Cerebral Palsy , but mobility is his only handicap. He is 7 and has a Grass outfit. He is able to use a walker for short period , to " Dance with Dad". He also now has an electric wheelchair.
My Grandsons bustle hangs on our livingroom wall. My son asked me the other day where his bustle was. I told him I haven't built his yet because He is a Grassdancer and not a Traditional , yet. This seemed reasonable to him , and the subject was dropped.
My question is as follows: What are your thoughts on his wearing a bustle on his chair? I am thinking of building the outfit and I have plenty of feathers. The feathers would not be Eagle at first. I want him to learn more about them first.He has litterally "grown up " in the dance arena. He knows how to behave when in the arena. And mostly , He wants to dance with Dad. He has had , in his 7 years , had 15 surgeries , including 2 on his heart , but inspite of all that , he is always happy , cheerful , and always ready to help others. He even said if his nephew wanted , He( my son ) would teach him how to dance ! I personally don't see a problem , but I can see the potential for a problem. I know there are many issues involved , but would like to get some input from all, pro's and con's. Thanks.......Later


contemptradish 02-16-2001 02:43 PM

hi wardancer.
personally, i'm all for it. what's the reason we all go into the circle anyway? to make us feel good about ourselves and our families. i think it would be great of you to make him feel that much better by putting a bustle on the back of his chair.
i've taken the past year and a half off from dancing to go through leg reconstruction surgeries. 7 surgeries in a year, external fixator covering my whole leg for that year, and either in a chair or on crutches since the start as well (of course, i'm sure it's not near the struggle that your son has endured for all his life). in this time i've stuck to singing at powwow, but i always "dance" on my crutches for the intertribals. i've said many times that i should strap my bustle to my chair and wheel around the circle. my few reservations, of course, would be dragging feathers or smashing them in the spokes. but if it's built specifically for the chair, it'll work out great and i say go for it!
if i saw him dancing with the bustle on his chair, the smile on his face would definitely put one on my face, too! http://www.powwows.com/ubb/smilies/smile.gif


1dancing white wolf 02-16-2001 02:49 PM

I think that is a great idea. Your son should be able to participate as fully as his physical limitations allow. And if he can't actually wear the bustle, then put it on his chair. He should not have go without one of the major parts of his regalia just because he cannot wear it on his body. I know from experience that participating in pow wows is vitally important for handicapped folks, especially children, and this gives him a way to do so.


BIGDANCER 02-16-2001 03:11 PM

If anyone has any problem with you doing that for your son, obviously has no heart.One dances with his heart and soul first.The sooner he learns that the better. I think it's a great idea. GOOD LUCK with him, and I hope he has a great life. My nephew loves to watch me make things but has only seen me dance one time due to his kidney disorder. It makes me sad that he can't join us in the circle-ONE day he will.

MrRuminator 02-16-2001 04:11 PM


<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by wardancer:
I know there are many issues involved , but would like to get some input from all, pro's and con's. Thanks.......Later
Yours is a most awesome post. The only issues would come from insensative people. I've seen legless veterans take the Tonkongia and Manitide staffs and dance with them while they sat in their chairs, tears streaming down their cheeks. I've seen them scalp dance with the women. I've seen a man with Downs Syndrome get up and dance to his fathers song and he let go with the prettiest string of lulu's that stirred the people so much that everybody in the place was on their feet. I've seen old men in wheelchairs with alzheimers break down and cry at the drum only to have their families come out and try and remove them. The other singers would tell them to let him be, he's all right. I've seen a person who was the brunt of jokes because he was considered the "tribal retard" carry water to the dancers. Most didn't know that he carried life in that bucket. And I've also see the Boy Scouts whom so many seem to be down about, one in particular, in a chair, also carry water. Imagine that. Somebody put a bustle on the back of his chair and pushed him around the arbor. You should have seen his face light up. The head dancer came up to him and gave him the eagle feather he wore in his roach. I could go on and on. Each one of these people are gifts to us from the Creator, regardless of what we call Him. Some will only be with us for a short time, some longer. Above all, we love our children and we all want the best for them. I'm reminded of the words to a song specifically made for children by the old people, way back there. In translation it says "You love your child. The tribe wants to see them. Show them off"

[This message has been edited by MrRuminator (edited February 16, 2001).]

cricket 02-16-2001 04:27 PM

This is a beautiful post, Thank You for sharing.

Dad go for it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Riverwoman 02-16-2001 06:57 PM

I am all for ithttp://www.powwows.com/ubb/smilies/smile.gif

Good luck and please keep us posted!


"Live to win, Dare to fail" James Hetfield

bluewolf 02-16-2001 07:55 PM

Wardancer, my bells jingle for you!! It's obvious how much you love your son. I know it's a great idea, you just don't know how much your post got to me. I am Northern Tradish, and I see a few of our people on crutches and wheelchairs going around the Circle. For me, I can't help but feel great pride knowing that the beat of the drums, the songs, the Circle, just can't keep anyone away who truly loves it!! At 7 yrs. of age, your son has shown strong character and spirit by showing that even through the CP, he is willing to teach others what he has himself been taught, which means he has in him the wonderful qualities his Dad has taught him.....

In the words of Contemptradish;

'If I saw him dancing with a bustle on his chair, the smile on his face would definitely put one on my face too....'

As far as the cons go, I doubt very much you would meet much resistance, if any, to come your way---and if it so happens, remember this my friend, your son would be the happiest!!!

Because now he gets to 'Dance like Dad'....

jmm 02-16-2001 09:23 PM


Thank you for sharing your story with us. I remember going to a pow wow several years ago, seeing a man in a wheelchair without an outfit on dancing his heart out to every song. Go for it, and please let us all know how it turned out.

wardancer 02-18-2001 01:08 AM

Greetings once again: First I would like to say thank-you to all of the people here. I had to let these posts "sink in" for a while , to compose my thoughts ( Yes , some of us THINK before we post ) LOL
First I would like to mention that praising me , for the way I raise my son is not nesassary as I, as all parents want only the best for him. We all try to raise our children to be the best they can be and hopefully they will turn out better than us ! Drew gets very little " special treatment" because of his handicap. I try to treat him as I have my other children.The support for his endevores in the dance arena , have been overwheming. It seems every dance we go to , some choses to honor him in one way or another. He walks every day , in his walker , but when we are at a dance , he can go 3 times farther , before he gets tired ! This is because of the Drum and we know this to be true , we see it often. As he gets older , he gets stronger , and we hope someday he'll be able to get rid of his chair. He'll never be " normal" , and he'll never be able to " run and play with the other kids" , but he does posess other attributes. His memory for songs is amazing , his attention for detail. He sees things that most of us never notice.
Now I'm rambling...Sorry ...
My son and I both thank-you and appreciate everyones support. I'm finishing up anew outfit for myself , and then I'll start his . Should have it done by mid-summer.
I will add that if anyone thinks of any "cons" , I would like to here them. Later

Proud2BLumbee 02-19-2001 06:55 PM

I say GO FOR IT. I was at a Powwow awile back whene a freind asked if her brother could have a word with me.He was disabled by a motorcycle wreck many years ago.He asked me in a good way if he may photograph me dancing because he liked my dancing. After talking with him for awile I said yes and that the next dance was for him(I told him that this time my leggs would be his and every move I made would be his movment)and guess what the next dance was. Sneak up. As the dance ended I noticed he had tears streaming down his face.From that night on I have devoted my Dance to those that cant dance on their own legs. So i say the heck with Nay sayers and let him Dance.

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