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Old 09-26-2005, 01:25 PM   #1
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Question Chicken Dance History

Undoubtedly, Chicken (Prairie) Dancing is becoming more popular coast-to-coast.

I have seen Navaho, Comanche and Lumbee chicken dancers.

Anybody wanna' venture out and explain this dance? Perhaps the who (tribe/s), what, where, whys and how?
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Old 09-26-2005, 05:56 PM   #2
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the history

I know for a fact that it had originated in Cree and or Blackfoot territory in what is now Canada. It is disputed between the two of who created it, mostly by the Blackfoot, who absolutely want to lay claim to it. I know that both tribes have their own ceremonies and societies, but it shouldn't come down to attempting to lay claim to it. The Cree have their own, and the Blackfoot have their own: the two tribes can meet and dance together, besides pow-wow was created elsewhere. Today chicken dance at the pow-wow is for everyone that wants to dance it, enjoy it. It is nice to see chicken dancers from all over turtle island. Heck, there is even a Negro chicken dancer in Canada!
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Old 09-27-2005, 08:47 AM   #3
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Yes, this dance did originate with either the Cree or Blackfoot people...which one I'm not sure. But this is (or was originally) a society dance, and I've been told that it still exists in this societal form in some Cree communities (Battleford).

Now, the question: If this is still considered a society dance by the Cree (or Blackfoot or both), is it proper for anyone to just decide to make a Prairie Chicken Dance outfit and start dancing without going through the proper measures?
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Old 09-27-2005, 10:29 AM   #4
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the chicken dance came from the Blackfeet confederacy...... let me reaffirm everyone that the chicken dance (and it's songs) is a sacred dance and not merely a dance style.. it is a dance that must be learned and taught in the appropriate way, with the dancer being initiated into the chicken dance society. the dance is imitating the prarie chicken in mating, no bustle is worn.
there is also a dance called the roundbustle which orginated from the yakama and nez perce and other northwest tribes which was a warriors dance. that dance was performed at National Powwow by Nakia Williamson with the duck and dive......that dance also has right.


most things that the dancer carries when he dances have a meaning like the otter skin that is a part of a society, there are alot of things that some ndn people don't understand about this dance. to me i think this dance is very sacred especially with my blackfeet roots, it kinda p***es me off when i see it done the wrong way, when it should be done the right way.

This dance was very popular in the northwest area and canada and still is.......
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Old 09-27-2005, 01:37 PM   #5
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Thanks for the recognition Dennis, the fella that taught me is Arnie Mc Donald whom is BlackFoot, he is over in Afganistan right now, but stationed here in NC at Fort Bragg. And he was told that you must be taught by another Chicken Dancer, sort of handed down..
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Old 09-27-2005, 02:17 PM   #6
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Arnie is not blackfeet he is a salish/pueblo.... i know because i come from the same place he does........i am flathead/cree/blackfeet but enrolled flathead, my dad is flathead and my mom is blackfeet/cree.............just to let you know it doesn't count.......
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Old 09-28-2005, 07:30 AM   #7
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On the lines of the above comments... what happens when the dance is brought to people who dont know it and ten inturn are taught by some1 who doesnt really know it?

And end up teaching it wrong? or giving them the right to wear certain items, when they dont have the right to give???
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Old 09-28-2005, 08:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmy
On the lines of the above comments... what happens when the dance is brought to people who dont know it and ten inturn are taught by some1 who doesnt really know it?

And end up teaching it wrong? or giving them the right to wear certain items, when they dont have the right to give???
Ask the Kiowas, this is exactly what has happened with THEIR gourd dance.
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Old 09-30-2005, 05:42 AM   #9
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Talking dance style

It's intersting that you all bring this up, and good. I believe one needs to know where their dance style comes from and originated. My family use to powwow a lot in ALberta and I remember seeing this dance done by some elderly men. It was awesome because you can see their story and the prarie chicken itself. But I believe that this dance was done in different forms depending where you were at. It is found primarily in the northern western area of the US & Canada. I seen the Blackfeet (primarily) and the salish tribes do this dance.
I moved to Kansas a while back and I knew Prarie Chicken was coming back in the west, but when it reached the midwest, everyone there, that was dancing it, looked and danced like a Crow dancer. LOL! I tried to asked & tell a few of the guys they were dancing it sort of wrong, but who's going to listen to a woman? But I can tell u I don't like it when a guy spins a lot. I was told by some Blackfeet/Blackfoot friends how it should be done and I relayed it to my brother-in-law and he went and asked more about it. So it was all cool. But learn and get the right/permission, instead of going out there without knowing anything..
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Old 10-01-2005, 10:16 PM   #10
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Right. Just like grass dancing,hoop dancing, jingle, gourd, and men's traditional dancing.



Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudN9ne
the chicken dance came from the Blackfeet confederacy...... let me reaffirm everyone that the chicken dance (and it's songs) is a sacred dance and not merely a dance style.. it is a dance that must be learned and taught in the appropriate way, with the dancer being initiated into the chicken dance society. the dance is imitating the prarie chicken in mating, no bustle is worn.
there is also a dance called the roundbustle which orginated from the yakama and nez perce and other northwest tribes which was a warriors dance. that dance was performed at National Powwow by Nakia Williamson with the duck and dive......that dance also has right.


most things that the dancer carries when he dances have a meaning like the otter skin that is a part of a society, there are alot of things that some ndn people don't understand about this dance. to me i think this dance is very sacred especially with my blackfeet roots, it kinda p***es me off when i see it done the wrong way, when it should be done the right way.

This dance was very popular in the northwest area and canada and still is.......
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Old 10-04-2005, 08:29 AM   #11
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Check this out!!!!!!!!!

This is my thought on the topic. Some people know what they are talking about and some people just like to talk like they know. Much respect to the people that still use this dance in their cermonies and do it in the right way but for yall that take your outfits and dance at pow-wow's (FOR MONEY) then try to preach aat people about how sacred it is and cut others down for dancing chicken in the arena I think yall are full of ****!!!!!! Once money is put up for the contest I think all religious meaning is gone. If the dance was ment to be sacred it should have never been introduced into the pow-wow arena and put on display for others to follow. That is my thoughts on the topic. WHAT DO YOU THINK????????
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Old 10-06-2005, 09:36 AM   #12
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by stylin
This is my thought on the topic. Some people know what they are talking about and some people just like to talk like they know. Much respect to the people that still use this dance in their cermonies and do it in the right way but for yall that take your outfits and dance at pow-wow's (FOR MONEY) then try to preach aat people about how sacred it is and cut others down for dancing chicken in the arena I think yall are full of ****!!!!!! Once money is put up for the contest I think all religious meaning is gone. If the dance was ment to be sacred it should have never been introduced into the pow-wow arena and put on display for others to follow. That is my thoughts on the topic. WHAT DO YOU THINK????????
stylin,

That is a good point.

"Money changes things." It is out there now and there is no way stop the spread of contest chicken dancing.

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Anybody else have some theories, facts or thought concerning the history of Chicken Dancing?
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Old 10-06-2005, 08:22 PM   #13
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Cree stuff....

http://www.sicc.sk.ca/saskindian/a99pow14.htm

and

http://www.sicc.sk.ca/saskindian/a99pow03.htm

George has passed on - but that's what those old guys do . Lucky for us we still have some of his words around.
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Old 10-07-2005, 01:29 PM   #14
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Talking

2 b honest me @ mah sis lauffed when we heard chicken dance 4 da first tyme but den dis guy who dances it met us @ explained 2 us what its bout n all. It's pretty koolerz!!!!
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Old 10-07-2005, 04:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudN9ne
Arnie is not blackfeet he is a salish/pueblo.... i know because i come from the same place he does........i am flathead/cree/blackfeet but enrolled flathead, my dad is flathead and my mom is blackfeet/cree.............just to let you know it doesn't count.......
Uh oh folks....we have....an "EXPERT".

many of our "ceremonies" are taught and shared w/those who may not be from the spacific tribe it originated from. BUT it is passed on & shared for a reason & depending on the sitation that person can be given the right to perform &/or teach what's been shared w/them.

Who are you to say "It doesn't count?"
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Old 12-07-2005, 06:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkwaterlum
And he was told that you must be taught by another Chicken Dancer, sort of handed down..
Here in alabama, there are only 3 Chicken dancers (myself included), and I was taught that to be a praire chicken dancer you had to be given permission and taught by one to do the dance, kinda like the jingle dress. I was given permission and taught by a chicken dancer, who was given permission by another chicken dancer. I may not be blackfeet or cree, but I dance because I was given permission. You gotta understand that dances travel and evolve as they do.

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Old 04-28-2006, 04:24 PM   #17
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Tansi, im Cree and 21 years old.
I dance chicken myself.
I was told that the chicken dance was originally a Cree dance but i also with hold respect to the Blackfoot people because of the respect and value they hold for this dance. I was told that chicken dancers danced the same way as oldstyle grass dancers, there were stories that were once told by elders from my community who told of a similar dance like that of the chicken dance. Is this how much genocide our people have lost? I wish that other people would understand that this is how much our ways were forgotten from within my region.
Why don't the Cree people and Blackfoot people credit each other for the dance because this arguement will never end. Powwow is a celebration that is to be shared, Its time we stop separating each other because of what tribe we are. We are all brothers and sisters.

thats my personal input on the subject.
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Old 06-06-2006, 11:46 PM   #18
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by buckskin pantyhose
Uh oh folks....we have....an "EXPERT".

many of our "ceremonies" are taught and shared w/those who may not be from the spacific tribe it originated from. BUT it is passed on & shared for a reason & depending on the sitation that person can be given the right to perform &/or teach what's been shared w/them.

Who are you to say "It doesn't count?"

I agree with your statement BSPH, It's because of that very reason (CloudN9ne statements) that we as Natives have lost a lot of our culture. What are we going to leave our future generations if we are stubborn with what we know and hold onto to those teachings? Nothing! (If the stubborn approach is continued like saying "it's my people's dance" or "it's not your rite..").

Again if it wasn't meant to be shared, it shouldn't have been introduced into the powwow. To end on a good note, thank you to whomever decided to share their dances, it gets my lazy @$$ off the couch and actually do some physical activity to stay healthy in some sorts!!! Just my 2 cents..
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Old 06-07-2006, 07:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sookout sh'nob
Cree stuff....

http://www.sicc.sk.ca/saskindian/a99pow14.htm

and

http://www.sicc.sk.ca/saskindian/a99pow03.htm

George has passed on - but that's what those old guys do . Lucky for us we still have some of his words around.
M'gwitch for the links, it is always a blessing to be able to read the words of an elder.

~b2w
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Old 06-12-2006, 12:10 AM   #20
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Thank you for posting the article. I always like to here other Elder Native stories. I have a Grandma who is 98 yrs. She has lots of information. I enjoy listening to her. She doesn't speak English so the translation is emotional. Too bad there is not a section on sharing all the Elders stories. Once again Thank you.
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