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Old 02-02-2006, 05:46 PM   #1
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Eagle Feathers

What's Up Chicken Dance Enthusiasts, I Was Wondering About Something. To The Best Of M Understanding, Or From What I've Been Taught, It Is Improper For Chicken Dancers To Wear Eagle Feathers, Due To The Fact That You Dance Backwards And In Circle. Now I'm Pretty Sure This Will Differ From Nation To Nation, So Pour On The Facts Folks, Just Want To Hear Your Opinions And Ways.

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Old 02-02-2006, 10:41 PM   #2
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What's up Dan!
You know I'm glad you posted this question, because it came up while we were in NC a few weeks ago. I've been wondering the same thing myself. This is a matter that I think really needs to be addressed because there are more and more guys in the south that are wanting to chicken dance. In way, like Dan said any and all information is greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-03-2006, 11:02 AM   #3
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Not to get ahead of ourselves....

Does anybody "down south" know the meaning behind the chicken dance, where it originated, why and when it was danced, what specific articles that are worn mean or the meaning behind the songs?
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Old 02-08-2006, 08:53 PM   #4
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good good question!!!! i know it....but you "down south" natives have to give a answer!!!
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Old 02-08-2006, 10:11 PM   #5
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Just My $.02 worth. First off I do not do this style, but have seen 1 chicken dancer in the area, a soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg. It is a really awesome style and I can see why people are interested in it. Just as all styles, i.e. Jingle, Straight, N. Trad, etc. all started out specific to one area or nation with certain restricted items, it seems, at least from what I've read on this site and from people I've talked too, that once introduced ont he powwow circut, it will be copied and duplicated. Next thing you know people who have no idea on the significance ar edoing the dance.

Anyway that's my $.02. I am posting 'cause I wan to ge tthe dailey updates.
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Old 02-09-2006, 12:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GJJudd
Just My $.02 worth. First off I do not do this style, but have seen 1 chicken dancer in the area, a soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg. It is a really awesome style and I can see why people are interested in it. Just as all styles, i.e. Jingle, Straight, N. Trad, etc. all started out specific to one area or nation with certain restricted items, it seems, at least from what I've read on this site and from people I've talked too, that once introduced ont he powwow circut, it will be copied and duplicated. Next thing you know people who have no idea on the significance ar edoing the dance.

Anyway that's my $.02. I am posting 'cause I wan to ge tthe dailey updates.
This is SOOOOO quotable in any forum of specific dance.

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Old 02-09-2006, 10:34 AM   #7
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I didn't know there were prairie chickens in Alabama & further eastward. I learn something new everyday.

I live around the great lakes. None here.
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Old 02-09-2006, 11:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GJJudd
Just My $.02 worth. First off I do not do this style, but have seen 1 chicken dancer in the area, a soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg. It is a really awesome style and I can see why people are interested in it. Just as all styles, i.e. Jingle, Straight, N. Trad, etc. all started out specific to one area or nation with certain restricted items, it seems, at least from what I've read on this site and from people I've talked too, that once introduced ont he powwow circut, it will be copied and duplicated. Next thing you know people who have no idea on the significance are doing the dance.

Anyway that's my $.02. I am posting 'cause I wan to get the dailey updates.

Whats the difference between white people who powwow and do the dance wrong or an indian that powwows and does it wrong?

When some1 is doing the dance wrong and some1 in a society comes to that person and tells them they r doing it wrong and they dont want to listen, whats the next step?

what happens if the person who taught them lied about their "dance credentials...

are they well within their rights to take away their outfit? what happens next?

i mean how can u dance a dance, not know the meaning, and not know the songs?
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
Not to get ahead of ourselves....

Does anybody "down south" know the meaning behind the chicken dance, where it originated, why and when it was danced, what specific articles that are worn mean or the meaning behind the songs?
You're all "down south" from here.

Folks will talk all day here if they know somthing about thier own style, but folks are real closed mouthed on this prairie chicken forum. Beadwork is sacred to my folks, and there are beadwork how-to's on this site. There's a huge post on how to make fancy war dance bustles - contemporary, but cited as an example of how folks talk a lot if they know somthing. It makes me think of someone who is trying to bull**** me. I'm not saying that no one here knows anything, I think at least a couple of folks do - but some of you are playing games i think.

Now, that said, I've seen round bustle dancers with eagle feathers, but no honest-to-goodness prairie chicken dancers as of today. I have seen a boatload of peahen feathers lately though.

This isn't a for sure yes or no kind of answer, but one thing that that comes to mind is those fancy war dancers with the double eagle bustles. They spin and go backwards and spin again going counter-clockwise all day long. No one seems to mind. Maybe it's not so much the direction of the dancing as it is the dance.

I think maybe you folks who want to know about this dance are going to have do some traveling. See you in Standoff.

Last edited by sookout sh'nob; 02-09-2006 at 10:45 PM..
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Old 02-09-2006, 10:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwehnzii
I didn't know there were prairie chickens in Alabama & further eastward. I learn something new everyday.

I live around the great lakes. None here.
There are Prairie Chickens present in Minnesota and Wisconsin - both are Great Lakes States in the Great Lakes Region.

One has yet to be seen in Michigan.
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Old 02-10-2006, 10:34 AM   #11
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finally soem sort of answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by sookout sh'nob
You're all "down south" from here.

Folks will talk all day here if they know somthing about thier own style, but folks are real closed mouthed on this prairie chicken forum. Beadwork is sacred to my folks, and there are beadwork how-to's on this site. There's a huge post on how to make fancy war dance bustles - contemporary, but cited as an example of how folks talk a lot if they know somthing. It makes me think of someone who is trying to bull**** me. I'm not saying that no one here knows anything, I think at least a couple of folks do - but some of you are playing games i think.

Now, that said, I've seen round bustle dancers with eagle feathers, but no honest-to-goodness prairie chicken dancers as of today. I have seen a boatload of peahen feathers lately though.

This isn't a for sure yes or no kind of answer, but one thing that that comes to mind is those fancy war dancers with the double eagle bustles. They spin and go backwards and spin again going counter-clockwise all day long. No one seems to mind. Maybe it's not so much the direction of the dancing as it is the dance.

I think maybe you folks who want to know about this dance are going to have do some traveling. See you in Standoff.
sookout sh'nob, thank you!! some sort of response to the question. that's why i posted this question to get a simple answer and someone finally gave me one, well not an answer. i posted is because i know fancy dancers where full eagle bustles and spin everydirection possible do cart wheels and all sorts of other moves, that's why i asked....once again sookout sh'nob thank you
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Old 02-10-2006, 02:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sookout sh'nob
I think maybe you folks who want to know about this dance are going to have do some traveling. See you in Standoff.

Sookout,

*L

Good advice!

That is where I get a lot of my info!
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Old 02-10-2006, 04:18 PM   #13
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At Standoff you might even get to see one of the old guys with their big eagle feather bustles and eagle feather spinners dancing old style chicken.
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Old 02-13-2006, 04:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jed
At Standoff you might even get to see one of the old guys with their big eagle feather bustles and eagle feather spinners dancing old style chicken.

jed,

What I observed at Standoff, all the Blackfoot chicken dancers had on "Crow style" bustles.

Hardly any of them had the round bustles or big eagle feather bustles.
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Old 02-13-2006, 06:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
jed,

What I observed at Standoff, all the Blackfoot chicken dancers had on "Crow style" bustles.

Hardly any of them had the round bustles or big eagle feather bustles.

True. Most chicken dancers today wear that kind of bustle you describe. But there are a few really old guys that wear big swing eagle feather bustles and eagle feather spinnners. They usually dance old style chicken as well.

I don't think these older gentlemen dance very often. I really remember seeing a couple at Standoff in 2001, but they are coming out less and less.

The rest of their outfits look much like the contemporary chicken dancers that is really popular, minus the neon.

Saskatoon pow wow actually had old style and contemporary chicken dancing categories this past year.

I am no expert in chicken dancing, but I have been told that chicken dancers used to wear this kind of bustle.

As for eagle feather spinners, there are quite a few chicken dancers that wear spinners even today. Sheldon Scalplock and Sammy Seaulteaux were wearing them last I saw.

I think I will ask them more about this next time I see them.
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Old 02-13-2006, 11:13 PM   #16
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prairie chicken bustles

It's be good to call this dance what it is, the prairie chicken dance. The chicken dance is somthing done at weddings in middle america.


That said, a lot of the old archive photos show dancers with no bustles whatsoever. I've observed a couple of older cree guys who had a lot of dyed fluffs - almost like how a grass dance fringe is - around the arm and chest area. Again, no bustle for these guys, but they still looked real sharp. They had good style to. I like how those old guys look. I like to take that and then add my own young guy style to it. I think that looks good for me.

I think maybe the bustle is optional. A lot of young guys come to me and want 30 inch pheasant tail bustles with a metric ton of fluffs and bells. I'm not so sure that's what this dance is about. I'm not so sure that any dance but fancy war dance is this way. I know we're not trapped in history or burdened by protocol, bust sometimes I wonder why people do some things. No judgement or anything like that, I just wonder sometimes. I'm a curious guy like that. I'm sure people do the same thing when i dance, and it's probably a healthy thing too. It helps us to think outside or own way of thinking - outside the box as they say. That's growing right there. Still, those big prairie chicken style bustles they ask for look off to me.

At any rate, I'd love to get my hands on a bunch of prairie chicken feathers some day - until then i'm collecting those female pheasants - those look the business. A real good size too... maybe aroiund 10 inches or a foot. I like that size.

I have a round bustle made of owl feathers too. It's maybe two and a half feet across. That looks good too - and people think i'm prairie chicken dancing when I wea rit - but i'm not. I don't think the same when I dance that style. My mind isn't in the same place and my body moves differently because of it.

Sometime though, I think it's all because of those tights!

Aniishaa, those are some more of my prairie chicken thoughts - I'm sewing an apron and cape right now so i have a lot of them. It was going to be for hoop dancing, but I think it's for prarie chicken dancing too.

Miigwech.
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Old 02-14-2006, 07:52 PM   #17
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I can only give testimony to what I have seen and what I have been told

I can only give testimony to what I have seen and what I have been told. I have heard from plenty of self proclaimed "experts" that chicken dancers don't dance with big eagle feather bustles or any eagle feathers at all. I have also heard that Blackfeet started this dance and can trace it back to their societies etc. etc. I have little respect for these experts as they try to tell me the way things are and expect my respect. Respect isn't taken, its earned. I especially do not agree with such experts when they preach the way it used to be or should be to hurt one only to bring themselves up higher. That is blatant twisting of words, nothing better then what white men did during the signing of the treaties.

First let me say that I have seen chicken dancers IN STANDOFF wear big bustles just like traditional dancers, in fact some of my favorite chicken dancers today, such as the Scalplock brothers wore, at one time, these type of bustles for at the very least an entire pow wow season. The year was 1995.

Second I do agree that Blackfeet have a valid claim to this style of dance, the feather mess bustle is NOT historically correct, however I do see dancers today where them and have seen old black and whites of Blackfeet chicken dancers where these type of bustles. I have been told by my elders that the "traditional" chicken dance bustle is not the feather mess bustle and belongs to the Crow people, however I have seen other tribes where this as well in old black and whites.

Third have heard it said earlier that people borrow dances from a particular tribe, exploit and copy it and all meaning is lost. Not true, all meaning is not lost. If we look at the old black and white photos we will see contradictions to what is said to be this tribe's and that tribe's today. And if we devalue "borrowing" do we devalue our elders, our ancestors, our families, those that are in those photos? It appears to me that there needs to be more thought put into our judgments of other tribes and other people. Its what is in our hearts that make things lose their meaning, not the things we do.

Second, it is so difficult to say that Round Bustle and chicken are polar opposites or even the same dance. Whats funny is that round bustle is called round bustle at all. The name, if you want to put one on it, is Pah-loots-pu which essentially means "prairie chicken dusting off its feathers." That is the Sahaptin word for the description of the movements in this dance. Sahaptin is the language of the Nez Perce and Yakama peoples. We do not call it Sahaptin though, we refer to it as "the words we speak" can't write the word up here but you get the idea. Round bustle is the english word for this dance, a language that is not of our own.

And for those of you who think that Plateau people stole or borrowed or exchanged through marriage to get the round bustle, think again! Plateau people, historically, did not get along with Blackfeet, but had some alliances with the Sioux and Crow. I have access to archive recordings from the turn of the last century, which were recorded on wax cylinders, songs referred to as pah-loots-pu songs or chicken songs, which was the description the old people used to describe these songs as best they could in English. But if our ancestors did borrow from another tribe, does that make them less Indian too?
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Old 02-15-2006, 12:39 AM   #18
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This reminds me of somthing - pheasants are from Asia and weren't a real popular bustle component untiill the late 1800s they say. Apparently George Washington was among the first to bring them to the Americas for sport hunting. For a long time I thought pheasants were indigenous, so I was mistaken there.

I remember someone posting once about how a lot of young guys went to Haskill together and came home with thier traditional style of dance all being a little bit different. It's hard to say sometimes how far back the memory of elders really goes; not for the sake of judging the worth of thier knowldege, but for knowing what customs are newer and which are older.

There used to be a time where the eagle was a regular bird and the raven was the most highly thought of being amongs Anishinaabe. Women ran things then too - all the ceremonies and things that men typically do today. That's how they did things then.

I wonder how the bustles looked.
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Old 02-15-2006, 08:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sookout sh'nob
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There used to be a time where the eagle was a regular bird and the raven was the most highly thought of being amongs Anishinaabe. Women ran things then too - all the ceremonies and things that men typically do today. That's how they did things then.

I wonder how the bustles looked.
As time goes on, it seems that the one thing remains constant is change. I can only speak for myself, and for what I've been taught. I DO know the meaning of the prairie chicken dance. I was given permisssion to dance (something lost on most of the "down south" boys) and I'm proud to call myself a praire chicken dancer. But back to the main point, I was taught never to wear eagle feathers, and I won't, but that's just my teachings. Is it my place to tell others what they can and can't do? I don't beleive so, and I personally leave what they do up to them. What works for me might not be right for them. Especially in intertribal powwows, we should respect each others differences and learn from each other.
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Old 02-16-2006, 09:02 AM   #20
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you are right about the part of the messed up feather bustles belonging to the crow people but back then chicken dancers never wore bustles.....oh yeah one more thing most of the plateau people never were affiliated with the crow people but maybe the siouxs for trading. but you are right for saying that the blackfeet people can trace the dance through their societies. what i was told by my elders my people got the crow belts through battle with them when we defeated them for their hunting territory.
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