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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Arena > Ask PowWows.com New Member with LOTS of questions. New Member with LOTS of questions.

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Old 06-22-2017, 06:13 PM   #1
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New Member with LOTS of questions.

Hello all. I am a new member here and would like to introduce myself. My name is Heath (last name removed by moderator) and I am a young white man currently living in Oregon, but I am originally from Texas. I have always been very interested in Native American history, and my family has collected Native American items for almost 100 years. I have always had a very deep respect and a personal connection with the things that were created by Indigenous peoples, as well as the history and culture of different tribes. Tribes that traditionally inhabited the area I am from in Texas, as well as the area in which I currently reside I find very fascinating.

While doing my family ancestry recently, I discovered that I had an ancestor who married a native woman in Texas, and they were later "removed to Indian Territory" in Oklahoma during the 1870's. This has led me to really want to discover if I have native lineage, and if so, what it may be. From the scant information I have been able to gather, it has led me to believe that the tribe would probably have been Comanche.

I am very interested in any information that may lead to discovering more about my ancestry, and I am very interested in learning more about the Comanche's and any possible connection to my ancestry, as well as the current history of the Comanche and their dance styles and regalia designs and colors, etc. I am not sure if I would want to dance, as I am unsure whether I even could as I have no current tribal affiliation. But I am very interested in learning how to create regalia and other items that were made by the Comanche, such as weapons and ceremonial items

As I said before, I am a white man, and am absolutely clueless as to how a powwow works or whether I am only spinning my wheels due to the fact of having no real tribal affiliation.

I sincerely hope I did no offend anyone, and I really hope to be able to grow my knowledge of the culture and traditions, so as to be as respectful as I may possibly be.

Thanks in advance to all.

Last edited by Comanche_kid; 06-22-2017 at 06:44 PM..
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Old 06-22-2017, 06:42 PM   #2
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Welcome to powwows.com. This is the place to get your questions about powwows and related art froms answered.

First and foremost, powwows are a social event, a chance to visit with friends and family. You do not need to be a tribal member to attend. And when the MC calls from everyone to dance during an intertribal, you are welcome to join in, regardless of ancestry.

As for making regalia, many people from a range of backgrounds make regalia. It is a slow but rewarding process to learn the techniques. That said, I would caution against making society regalia and ceremonial items, however. The right to make these things is earned.

I would give you one another warning, for when you start attending powwows. Don't lead off with the story of your unconfirmed Native ancestry. Every Native person has had at least a dozen pigment-challenged individuals approach them with tales of their -- usually female -- Native ancestor, for whom they have no documentation. Most Native people don't really care and find these introductions more than a bit off putting. After all, do you introduce yourself to folks in the dominant culture with your genealogy? Personally, I always am left feeling like either the introductee wants a white-guilt get out of jail free card or is trying to establish premature intimacy. Save yourself some uncomfortable moments by skipping the story of your ancestor until the subject comes up -- if ever.
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Old 06-22-2017, 06:57 PM   #3
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Thank you for your reply. I only related my family history due to the fact that that was what initially led me to want to learn more about the culture and history. If you knew nearly nothing of your family history other than that they all came from Oklahoma and Texas, would you not also want to try to gain as much knowlede as possible? That is my goal. As I believe I said, my knowledge is still fairly limited. Hence why I came here. As far as Society Regalia and Ceremony items, at this time I am not even sure what those items may be. The items I was picturing are things like Gourd Rattles, etc. Perhaps I should have used the term "Regalia Accessories"?

Again, I am not here to offend, impose, or encroach on anyone or their culture or tradiions. It is fully my intention to be as respectful as I possibly can.
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Old 06-22-2017, 08:35 PM   #4
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Gourd rattles may well be either ceremonial or society regalia. In my experience, they are usually associated with the Tia Piah or the NAC. At powwows, they are mostly carried by men who belong to one of the Gourd Dance societies.

ICMT:Gourd Dance

Powwows.com: Gourd Dancing

Gourd Dance

Last edited by OLChemist; 06-22-2017 at 08:39 PM..
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Old 06-22-2017, 08:53 PM   #5
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Thank you OLChemist for the info! I very much appreciate it. As I said I am just trying to gather as much information as possible. If there ends up being no connection with a native tribe, then at least I have gained knowledge about the people, thier culture and traditions.

Personally, my favorite type of native american art is the beadwork that they created. The beauty of the colors, the designs and symbols that they used, the precise and skillful technique and the time and amount of skill that goes into the pieces is just a stunning combination to behold. I started doing the Peyote Stitch as a means to sort of "center" myself and relieve stress and anxiety. It is a very peaceful, solacing type of work. I would love to learn more about colors and designs used by the Comanche people.

I really would like to be able to make items, but I want to be able to do so while showing proper respect and appreciation for the techniques and traditions. Of course I do not wish to embarass myself, but I also do not want to be disrespectful. I really do appreciate your advice.
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Old 06-23-2017, 09:14 AM   #6
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A few gourd stitch threads:

Designs in 3-drop

3-drop vs 2-drop and reversing the spiral

Chevron variation of 3-drop
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Old 06-23-2017, 10:24 AM   #7
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Go to a powwow and observe, admire, and when appropriate take pictures or video.

I live on the east coast and the thing that always gets me is with all of the resources on the internet between this website, Google image search, and YouTube that people here still dress and powwow like they just watched Dances With Wolves on a bad acid trip. What I am getting at is do yourself a favor and read up on powwows on this site, the different dance styles, and about the singing. Most importantly read Pow Wow Etiquette - PowWows.com - Native American Pow Wows Also watch videos and the archives of powwows to get an idea on the format and structure of the powwows. Check out the Powwows.com archive here: https://www.youtube.com/user/PowWowsCom

*Fun fact: Google has index over 1 trillion pictures, images, and graphics.*

Basically don't wear one of those dumb shirst with the wolf motifs or any other native motif on them, you know the ones with the washed out tie-dye colors with a big wolf's head on it with lightening or a anglicized ndn woman's head in the background. Also don't come dressed in mountain man clothes. Go dressed in normal clothes but nothing trashy.
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Old 06-23-2017, 02:53 PM   #8
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Old 06-24-2017, 09:56 AM   #9
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Welcome
I have many Comanche friends and go to dances down around Lawton and at there complex north of Ft Sill.
Now days they have several societies that still dance, the Little Ponies which Gourd Dance and there Man Dance Society that holds a dance once a year. Comanche Homecoming is a big Powwow that is held in July by the tribe it is a Social Dance and tribes from all over come to that one and its nice and Hot Lol.

As for your research I wish you luck the tribe did not keep their own records until well into the 20th century. So records are in the form of Agency Rolls. Very scant on information, the rolls were mainly concerned with who was in a Family not who they were related to. Most tribes will help with research to some extant but the Bulk of it will be on you. If you are truly wanting to learn I suggest you make your way to Lawton Oklahoma and visit the Tribal Complex. You will not find what your looking for online and far away in Oregon, this information is shared in person after a person gets to know you and figure out who you are.

I do a lot of research in this area, so I looked up Comanche enrollment requirements: minimum blood quantum is 1/8th and you trace back to an original allottee which would be a person that received land (160 acres) in 1900. NOT THE DAWES ROLLS!!!

Ok according to the Comanche Government website the person on that roll were all considered full bloods.
If that person married a Non-Comanche the children of that union would be 1/2
And if the next generation married a Non-Comanche the children would be 1/4
And finally the last generation would be 1/8 if again no Comanche was married.

So what this says is if that is beyond a Great Great Grandparent this would just be a Heritage hunt.

This is an page out of the National Archives it is of the Comanche's in 1895, Interesting that they listed Quanah Parker first (He was Chief) But as you can see the problem you will have they just listed everybody one at a time as you read them you can kind of see where each family leaves off and the next one begins

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