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Old 10-27-2008, 10:19 AM   #1
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Who calls the shots

Running a powwow smoothly takes plenty of coordination, communications and cooperation.

When it comes down to it, who has the final say so on important decisions

The arena director, the emcee or the committee?

Take for instance the powwow schedule and what takes place when?
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe View Post
Running a powwow smoothly takes plenty of coordination, communications and cooperation.

When it comes down to it, who has the final say so on important decisions

The arena director, the emcee or the committee?

Take for instance the powwow schedule and what takes place when?
From personal experience, here's what I've seen that works the best.

The committee is ultimately responsible. But for it to run smoothly, they need to give the MC and AD a basic schedule. And the, most importantly, give them the ability to make changes as needed.

These individuals need to be able to make changes to the schedule quickly to keep things on track.
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Old 10-27-2008, 02:59 PM   #3
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Why not go old school and let the CENTER DRUM or the HOST DRUM(S) say what goes. After all, if your singing bites, so will the powwow. I guess you could play tapes for the dancers since no one seems to think the singing has any importance.

Last edited by WhoMe; 10-27-2008 at 03:03 PM..
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Old 10-27-2008, 03:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmer ned View Post
Why not go old school and let the CENTER DRUM or the HOST DRUM(S) say what goes. After all, if your singing bites, so will the powwow. I guess you could play tapes for the dancers since no one seems to think the singing has any importance.


Ned,

I tried that. I was head singer at a large summer community powwow. I was instructed by the powwow committee that their powwow would be run old skool and let everyone enjoy themselves. So I after the flag song, I instructed the arena director to tell the dancers to just sit down, like they used to do.

A veteran, who recently started dancing, went to the announcer and said I was disrespecting the veteran's by not having a victory song for them to dance out.

Rather, that cause a rucus, I started a victory song for them to post the flags.

So much for old skool............
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Old 10-27-2008, 03:19 PM   #5
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I have seen well organized powwow start with a schedule put together by the committee. Then allow AD and MC to adjust as needed. Flexibility and cooperation are really important. Most of your hired staff will try their best to follow the committee's request. But also speak up when they think it might not be a good idea. It is so important to have headstaff who are sorta familiar with each other.

Ole skool only works when all those involved are Ole skool. Otherwise someone thinks they know better or "older"

When in Rome.....
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Old 10-27-2008, 03:47 PM   #6
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My father ran Stroud Pow Wow for several years, and my grand parents ran it before him as well as sat on the board of several large oklahoma pow wows as charter members. When asked this question, he stated"as a committee, you set your schedule in advance, then you hire an arena director to implement that schedule therefore he is in charge of all that takes place in the arena. Its out of your hands unless its a major decision that he feels he wants your support. The MC follows the direction of the arena director. Thats what hes hired for,to run your arena and handle any and all questions, requests, and problems that come up. That is why you hire a dependable, knowledgeable, and strong minded person to handle your arena. He will keep order and also see to it that things run smoothly and in a timely manner with the least amount of drama" so, if you are having problems in this area, its because you either hired the wrong person or too many people trying to be the boss and in that case they need to be told their positions and their duties. The arena and all that goes all inside belong to the arena director.
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Old 10-27-2008, 05:00 PM   #7
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everything started going downhill after OJ was acquitted
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Old 10-27-2008, 05:13 PM   #8
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i don't know

[QUOTE=WhoMe;1232485]Ned,

Was this veteran part of the committee or someone who thought they knew it all? Wasn't there and don't claim to know it all, but I can remember when there wasn't any victory songs, post the color songs, memorial songs, whispering hills songs, man-i-like that songs, who's song is that one songs, my song is better than that one songs, can you think of another song to take up more time songs, let me sing this song songs, who's looking at me songs, and other songs like this all before we get to sit around and look at each other for about 5 to 6 hours. We just used to dance and veterans songs were sung at an appropriate time in a dance and the veterans knew that, way back then. They could even request, before anything started, if some war mothers songs or soldier dance songs could be sung and they could join in. But somewhere along the way, these simple, respectful, ways got lost.

A veteran, who recently started dancing
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Old 10-27-2008, 06:21 PM   #9
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Ned,

I tried that. I was head singer at a large summer community powwow. I was instructed by the powwow committee that their powwow would be run old skool and let everyone enjoy themselves. So I after the flag song, I instructed the arena director to tell the dancers to just sit down, like they used to do.

A veteran, who recently started dancing, went to the announcer and said I was disrespecting the veteran's by not having a victory song for them to dance out.

Rather, that cause a rucus, I started a victory song for them to post the flags.

So much for old skool............

Where was this at?
Could have been a Northern fella- they expect a vets song right after the flag. I don't know why they do it that way, but they do, and they will get steamed. Pity for the Southern AD or drum who gets cornered by a mob of angry vets.
This fits in well with the thread question though-
Is this a Northern or Southern Pow-wow? I have seen (and been in) some conflicts that result from Northern organizations hiring Southern singers, or Southern ADs or Emcees, and vice versa.

Either way, committee sets basic schedule- i.e. GE at this time, dinner at this time, and so forth.
If there are timing issues with the committee- i.e. we need to do a give away at 3:30 because that is when someone is here to cover, or we need to have all the contest done by 8:30 so we can tabulate, then it falls to the AD to try and make that happen.
Yes, if you have a center drum they should have some say so, but it is not outright control- no offense meant to the honor of the position or our head singers, but those guys are stuck in the middle and so may not be aware of other things going on.
The Emcee does have some input- after all those guys are the entertainers and for small pow-wows they can read the crowd better than most and can tell you- "Hey you got some potatos, we need to do something to get these people out here" or
Ideally your drum, AD, and Emcee are all working together. I know there have been times when I was working as AD that I was so busy working out this or that that specials would have gotten skipped if I hadn't talked over everything with the Emcee and the drum.
With everything working together your head staff should also be included- I can think of at least one instance where the AD, drum, and emcee wanted to do a particular dance and when it got called one of the heads walked up and said they couldn't do it.

This all gets worse when you are bringing in folks from outside of your area. While we all have basic protocol- whether it be Northern or Southern- but it varies somewhat- When do the flags have to be taken out, and how? Do we do exhibitions? Men on the outside or in for round dance? How many guys have to be at a drum for them to get paid? I can think of a bunch of others too, where the local folks will get steamed cause you aren't following tradition, even though to you everything is 100% A OK.
So I say a meeting of the minds is required- the committee needs to designate one person to take the heat of making sudden decisions (that dont involve finances) and that person should stay where they can talk to the drum, AD, or emcee. Better yet, ask someone on the committee to be the AD- gives the AD even more authority and if they aren't judging the contest them being local is only an advantage as far as I am concerned.
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:31 PM   #10
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Old 10-28-2008, 11:52 AM   #11
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Lightbulb The Arena Director.....

Is hired by the Committee as well the M.C. Although it is up to all 3 to work together (obvious...) However when it boils right down to it.....The Arena Director should have the last say.....
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:08 PM   #12
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Yote,

In my travels to nuuurthern powwows, I 'used to see' the emcee directing the flow of the powwow. In more recent years, I have seen the arena director gaining more status in the flow of things.

At southern powwows, I used to see the emcee ask the head singer in the center drum what to do next. In more recent times the emcee asks the arena director for a "high sign" on what to do.

In both cases the committee gives a general outline and expects the emcee and arena director to work together to run the powwow smoothly.

Every once in a while you get an arena director and emcee with strong personalities that when pitted against one another, can cause behind the scenes conflicts.

___

Ned and legal,

The powwow I spoke of was in Oklahoma City (Indian Hills). My job as head singer was to cooperate with the wishes of the committee. The veteran was not on the committee. However in the spirit of cooperation, I certainly did not want to offend anyone. The veteran in question was a 'southern' Northern traditional dancer who has not been dancing in the arena long enough to remember that at one time a series of veterans songs were sung at the end of southern style powwows. This was something I fully intended to do since I was told to run the drum 'old skool."

_____


legal,

I agree with your statement about bringing in outsiders to run your powwow. Especially if they have not been in that area before.

I recently emceed a powwow in a new area. I have a good basic understanding of how to run a powwow. The powwow committee did not give me any instructions whatsoever. As a result I ended up publically apologizing for not knowing the protocol of that particular powwow.

One of the main protocols I inadvertly overlooked at this powwow was after the flag song, I didn't invite all the non Indian veterans into the arena and call for a veteran's song to post the flags.

Instead I called for a victory song to post the colors - which was a veterans song. The eagle staff carrier and color guard didn't do anything but stare at me during the song.

After the victory song, the arena director went to the color guard and they told them to tell me that they wanted a veterans song to post the colors and that I should have invited all the veteran's to dance.

Hmmmm????

I thought everyone knew that the victory song was used to bring the eagle staff forward, including the color guard and veteran.

Again when in Rome.......
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Old 10-28-2008, 08:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Yote,

In my travels to nuuurthern powwows, I 'used to see' the emcee directing the flow of the powwow. In more recent years, I have seen the arena director gaining more status in the flow of things.

At southern powwows, I used to see the emcee ask the head singer in the center drum what to do next. In more recent times the emcee asks the arena director for a "high sign" on what to do.

In both cases the committee gives a general outline and expects the emcee and arena director to work together to run the powwow smoothly.

Every once in a while you get an arena director and emcee with strong personalities that when pitted against one another, can cause behind the scenes conflicts.

___

Ned and legal,

The powwow I spoke of was in Oklahoma City (Indian Hills). My job as head singer was to cooperate with the wishes of the committee. The veteran was not on the committee. However in the spirit of cooperation, I certainly did not want to offend anyone. The veteran in question was a 'southern' Northern traditional dancer who has not been dancing in the arena long enough to remember that at one time a series of veterans songs were sung at the end of southern style powwows. This was something I fully intended to do since I was told to run the drum 'old skool."

_____


legal,

I agree with your statement about bringing in outsiders to run your powwow. Especially if they have not been in that area before.

I recently emceed a powwow in a new area. I have a good basic understanding of how to run a powwow. The powwow committee did not give me any instructions whatsoever. As a result I ended up publically apologizing for not knowing the protocol of that particular powwow.

One of the main protocols I inadvertly overlooked at this powwow was after the flag song, I didn't invite all the non Indian veterans into the arena and call for a veteran's song to post the flags.

Instead I called for a victory song to post the colors - which was a veterans song. The eagle staff carrier and color guard didn't do anything but stare at me during the song.

After the victory song, the arena director went to the color guard and they told them to tell me that they wanted a veterans song to post the colors and that I should have invited all the veteran's to dance.

Hmmmm????

I thought everyone knew that the victory song was used to bring the eagle staff forward, including the color guard and veteran.

Again when in Rome.......
We saw the same thing this past summer
A Victory Song was announced and the Color guard remained fixed despite the AD going out and telling em to dance out
LOL he (AD) later said that they were waiting for the veteran's song

The next night I happened to be a flag carrier and whispered to the Eagle staff carrier that they wanted us to dance out
LOL
we did that time
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:26 AM   #14
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It depends on the powwow, contest(large or small) or social non-contest. The AD should have authority with the MC be helpful in some manner. A hands on committee with a person with to lend a hand with decisions is a plus.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:28 AM   #15
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My father ran Stroud Pow Wow for several years, and my grand parents ran it before him as well as sat on the board of several large oklahoma pow wows as charter members. When asked this question, he stated"as a committee, you set your schedule in advance, then you hire an arena director to implement that schedule therefore he is in charge of all that takes place in the arena. Its out of your hands unless its a major decision that he feels he wants your support. The MC follows the direction of the arena director. Thats what hes hired for,to run your arena and handle any and all questions, requests, and problems that come up. That is why you hire a dependable, knowledgeable, and strong minded person to handle your arena. He will keep order and also see to it that things run smoothly and in a timely manner with the least amount of drama" so, if you are having problems in this area, its because you either hired the wrong person or too many people trying to be the boss and in that case they need to be told their positions and their duties. The arena and all that goes all inside belong to the arena director.

I couldn't agree more. The AD is the most important person on the headstaff. Not everyone can be an AD, that's for sure. Thanks SLTate.
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Old 10-30-2008, 12:57 PM   #16
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As usual Who Me you keep this site interesting.....Thanks for your input and knowledge. Sltate always has something good to share as well....

I've seen alot over the years and i'm bound to see more....Sure it varies and sure it gets rather interseting to say the least i.e. the tug of war we witness at times....

There are a number of good Arena Directors out there....Experience, organization and communication is the key to moving things along at a good pace....
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Old 11-03-2008, 12:38 AM   #17
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I think that the OK style AD probably comes from the Whipman status. I have been asked to help as an MC and AD. These two really must be on the same sheet of music. The Committee does have the final say so if all poopoo hits that fan. The AD, if a smart one, will do a lot of communication with the Headsinger and MC. The AD should have enough knowledge to know what is supposed to happen and orchestrate.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:24 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by CHEROSAGE View Post
I think that the OK style AD probably comes from the Whipman status. I have been asked to help as an MC and AD. These two really must be on the same sheet of music. The Committee does have the final say so if all poopoo hits that fan. The AD, if a smart one, will do a lot of communication with the Headsinger and MC. The AD should have enough knowledge to know what is supposed to happen and orchestrate.
From a leadership model standpoint, the only thing that truly matters is that the buck stop, somewhere, and that everyone know where that is.

To be honest -- and I am not pretending that I am any big special thing but I have been on Head Staff in multiple slots -- if that isn't me, or if it isn't someone that I know and trust, I get very nervous...

There's nothing like watching everything screw up around you, knowing you can't do a darned thing but watch it embarrassingly burn, because it's not your call. (For the record, that's not just tied to powwows: it's a leadership paradigm issue.)

Last edited by Zeke; 11-16-2009 at 06:26 PM..
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:41 AM   #19
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You know, Zeke, I remember quite a while ago at the Ottawa tribal dance when your Dads Uncle was that Powwow authority. The MC's and AD's always worked well together. Your cuzns are doing well along with the rest of the committee.

Many of these older dances can just about run its self, because they have beeen around for so long and run solidly the same forever.

Do you remember the ICOTT when Harry Adams was in charge. There was never any doubt who had the actual final say when your Uncle and Harry then Terry was around their dance.
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Old 12-04-2009, 01:56 PM   #20
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