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Old 04-20-2014, 01:31 PM   #1
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Is this offensive?

Hello,

I'm a Lakota girl going to a college away from home. This week is diversity week at my school, and there are posters advertising the different events we're going to be having. Unfortunately, the poster is advertising a drum group with the saying, "Sing and sway the indian way!"

I found this offensive and would like it changed. However, I just want to make such this isn't just me being overly sensitive. None of the other events on the poster had a 'clever' saying such as the one they used for the drum group.

Any thoughts at all would be appreciated.

-Ipta
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Old 04-21-2014, 05:58 AM   #2
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What part is Offensive?
the Word Indian?
Or that we sing and Sway when we dance?

I have heard that saying hundreds of times or it was said this way:
"Swing and Sway the Southern way"

My two cents: it is not offensive
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:15 AM   #3
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Is this an NDN drum group or non NDN?
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:47 AM   #4
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You've not heard of "Swing and sway the Blackstone way"?
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Old 04-21-2014, 10:39 AM   #5
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I've heard that said at dozens of powwows ! I'm not offended by it. It's what we do !
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:25 AM   #6
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Old 04-21-2014, 03:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ipta View Post
Hello,

I'm a Lakota girl going to a college away from home. This week is diversity week at my school, and there are posters advertising the different events we're going to be having. Unfortunately, the poster is advertising a drum group with the saying, "Sing and sway the indian way!"
I found this offensive and would like it changed. However, I just want to make such this isn't just me being overly sensitive. None of the other events on the poster had a 'clever' saying such as the one they used for the drum group.

Any thoughts at all would be appreciated.

-Ipta
If it said,: Swing and sway the woundedBear way, that could be viewed as highly offensive Since it doesn't go back to the books and earn good grades.
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Old 04-21-2014, 04:56 PM   #8
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Okay, thank you all for your input.

However, I am still in disagreement with the phrase. Considering that I was raised on my reservation, I have never heard this phrase, or any variant of it. And the fact that this phrase was "thought" of by non-natives, advertising for a native drum group, the week of diversity week, when the school powwow is this weekend, I was more than a little blindsided by it. There are other natives here at the school who have agreed with me on the phrase being offensive. I should have mentioned before that my school is very near UND, which seems to be a magnet for these kinds of things, and sometimes the overflow of problems reaches my school.

There are three main reasons that this I found this offensive.
1). Indian. I mean I don't mind people calling me indian, it's what they called my ancestors. However, there are way more Native Americans who find being called indian a slur. Columbus misnamed us, and people often use the word Indian to insult us.
2). Singing is sacred, unless I'm mistaken. Dancing is sacred. This I know for a fact. Reducing things that are important to the culture to just "Singing and Swaying" is very offensive to me when it is used by non-natives. But I'm young, so maybe it's not so sacred, and I'm just misguided. However, I will say that since we're all from different tribe, there could be very different opinions because I don't know any other traditions but my own.
3). The fact that this is an advertisement for diversity week is rather rude. They didn't ask the on-campus native group for input at all. Of all things to put on the poster, wouldn't it have made more sense to just simply write "Native American Drum Group" and then the information? Like all the other events? (None of the other events on the poster had such a phrase.)

But like I said, I am young. So I am probably misguided in the way I see things. I'll back off of this and keep on studying. To clarify though, I am not here to have fun. I am here to get my education degree, and go back to the reservation and clear the way for other natives to get off the reservation. I saw this and thought it maybe prove to be a problem for later students at this institution. But I'll back off.

Once again thank you for your input.
Mitakuye Oyasin.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:07 PM   #9
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Sounds like the school needs YOUR input, before they output

Give the event planners your email so they can have your advice ahead of time, as a campus cultural liaison. (Put that on your resume')

Are you at Mayville?

Exhibits, food, and dance highlight Mayville State global expo :: Mayville State University :: Mayville, ND
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:14 PM   #10
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Each year during "Native American Month" many gov't agencies & corporations task their managers with staging a Native American "event".

Problem is many plastic shamans are ready to take their money.

They end up booking the wannabee tribe.
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:49 PM   #11
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People might want to be careful about being too revealing about personal information, locations etc.
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Old 04-22-2014, 10:35 AM   #12
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Update!
Since other native americans use the phrase, they say it's fine. So that brings it to a close. They even use some of the threads on here as evidence. They also throw in the email a bunch of links and things to people using it in songs, or to MC's saying it at powwows. They then end their email stating the leader of the drum group picked it themselves, and if we'd like to learn more about powwow MC's, they'd be happy to send us articles. This made me laugh, because it made it seem like they assumed I'd never been to a powwow before. I've been to plenty, but miraculously never heard the phrase. Maybe it's just a regional thing? I'll just assume the anthropology professor knows what they're talking about though. They got the degree, not me, and chun. They even specialize in my tribe's culture. xD

But in all seriousness, apparently the phrase refers to the fringe on the shawls of dancers swaying as they dance.
Something I totally didn't comprehend. So yes. I just thought I'd update you guys since you gave your advice and input. Silly me. I know when I've made a mistake. I'm going to apologize right now for being so obnoxious, and hope you guys don't think less of me for being on edge about this stuff. This is my first year off the reservation, so I'm still a little lost.

Thanks again!
Mitakuye Oyasin

P.S. I'm not in Mayville. And I agree, you can't be too careful these days. :)
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Old 04-22-2014, 11:20 AM   #13
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It depends on you

I`m new to forums, been listening to radio for a long time. I enjoy most of the music.
I`ve heard this saying before and if it offends you, then it`s offensive. You look inside yourself for the answer. If you`re offended then speak up to committee. I`m old and I was raised to be Kickapoo not Indian or native American. I find both of those terms a bit offensive to me as a human being. Do I say anything to people? Sometimes I do, it depends on how I wake up and find my way into the illusion. You`re offended, you say something. Good luck.
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:17 PM   #14
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Okay, I'll take the blame for this. By the way the phrase is "Swing & Sway" and not "Sing & Sway". It is my dance group that is performing for your school as part of your schools Diversity week. I was asked to come up with a catchy phrase and I threw out several suggestions and this was the one that was picked. The idea for a catchy phrase was an attempt to draw more interest to get other students to show up for the performance and to spur more interest for the pow-wow as well. By the way I'm not a non-native.

My family & I have traveled all across the US & Canada to various pow-wows and I have heard the term "Swing & Sway the Indian way" many times over the years. The first person I've heard say the term was Hammond Motah from Oklahoma while MCing a pow-wow in Stroud, OK back in the early 80's. Since then I've heard many times used various other MC's across Indian Country.

You do have to admit, that you're are not going to find the different styles of dancing that we have or are you going to hear our style of songs or music anywhere else in the world. We are very unique people to this Mother Earth and when we dance & sing we are "Swinging & Swaying our own way".
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:51 PM   #15
3 down and 1 to go! lol
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmigoKumeyaay View Post
Each year during "Native American Month" many gov't agencies & corporations task their managers with staging a Native American "event".

Problem is many plastic shamans are ready to take their money.

They end up booking the wannabee tribe.
Oh yes, the wah-nah-be tribe....
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Old 04-22-2014, 02:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ipta View Post
Update!
Since other native americans use the phrase, they say it's fine. So that brings it to a close. They even use some of the threads on here as evidence. They also throw in the email a bunch of links and things to people using it in songs, or to MC's saying it at powwows. They then end their email stating the leader of the drum group picked it themselves, and if we'd like to learn more about powwow MC's, they'd be happy to send us articles. This made me laugh, because it made it seem like they assumed I'd never been to a powwow before. I've been to plenty, but miraculously never heard the phrase. Maybe it's just a regional thing? I'll just assume the anthropology professor knows what they're talking about though. They got the degree, not me, and chun. They even specialize in my tribe's culture. xD

But in all seriousness, apparently the phrase refers to the fringe on the shawls of dancers swaying as they dance.
Something I totally didn't comprehend. So yes. I just thought I'd update you guys since you gave your advice and input. Silly me. I know when I've made a mistake. I'm going to apologize right now for being so obnoxious, and hope you guys don't think less of me for being on edge about this stuff. This is my first year off the reservation, so I'm still a little lost.

Thanks again!
Mitakuye Oyasin

P.S. I'm not in Mayville. And I agree, you can't be too careful these days. :)

That's totally understandable!!
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Old 04-22-2014, 05:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndnsooner View Post
Okay, I'll take the blame for this. By the way the phrase is "Swing & Sway" and not "Sing & Sway". It is my dance group that is performing for your school as part of your schools Diversity week. I was asked to come up with a catchy phrase and I threw out several suggestions and this was the one that was picked. The idea for a catchy phrase was an attempt to draw more interest to get other students to show up for the performance and to spur more interest for the pow-wow as well. By the way I'm not a non-native.

My family & I have traveled all across the US & Canada to various pow-wows and I have heard the term "Swing & Sway the Indian way" many times over the years. The first person I've heard say the term was Hammond Motah from Oklahoma while MCing a pow-wow in Stroud, OK back in the early 80's. Since then I've heard many times used various other MC's across Indian Country.

You do have to admit, that you're are not going to find the different styles of dancing that we have or are you going to hear our style of songs or music anywhere else in the world. We are very unique people to this Mother Earth and when we dance & sing we are "Swinging & Swaying our own way".
Hammond Motah likes to say Swinging and Swaying the Southern Way but then I heard him say the "Northern Way" a few times LoL

He is not doing as many powwows anymore but I did see him at Carnegie last weekend during the Unity Powwow when all three Kiowa Gourd Organizations were invited to dance together. It was AWESOME!
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Old 04-22-2014, 05:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
Hammond Motah likes to say Swinging and Swaying the Southern Way but then I heard him say the "Northern Way" a few times LoL

He is not doing as many powwows anymore but I did see him at Carnegie last weekend during the Unity Powwow when all three Kiowa Gourd Organizations were invited to dance together. It was AWESOME!
I haven't seen Hammond Motah in a while, he makes me laugh when he talks about the midget tossing competition after the powwow I know people can take offensive to that but I always snicker thinking about that.
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Old 04-22-2014, 06:18 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by ndnsooner View Post
Okay, I'll take the blame for this. By the way the phrase is "Swing & Sway" and not "Sing & Sway". It is my dance group that is performing for your school as part of your schools Diversity week. I was asked to come up with a catchy phrase and I threw out several suggestions and this was the one that was picked. The idea for a catchy phrase was an attempt to draw more interest to get other students to show up for the performance and to spur more interest for the pow-wow as well. By the way I'm not a non-native.

My family & I have traveled all across the US & Canada to various pow-wows and I have heard the term "Swing & Sway the Indian way" many times over the years. The first person I've heard say the term was Hammond Motah from Oklahoma while MCing a pow-wow in Stroud, OK back in the early 80's. Since then I've heard many times used various other MC's across Indian Country.

You do have to admit, that you're are not going to find the different styles of dancing that we have or are you going to hear our style of songs or music anywhere else in the world. We are very unique people to this Mother Earth and when we dance & sing we are "Swinging & Swaying our own way".
My apologies again. All it said on the poster was sponsored by the student senate. As far as I know, there are no natives on the student senate, which is why I said that. If I offended you, please forgive me. It was not directed at you.

As I've said before, I've never been off of my reservation, so this phrase was new to me, but I've been listening and learning about how it is not offensive to some, but offensive to others. Now that I know more, I'm not offended by it so much, but I am not exactly thrilled about it either.

The the "W" on my laptop doesn't work sometimes. Which is why it wrote "Sing" not "Swing."

But I digress.

I'm a very head strong person sometimes, and do foolish things. And as a person who's never heard this phrase, it appeared offensive, and even the other native on campus, who were also wondering about it, otherwise I wouldn't have said anything. But like I said, the person who sent us an email is educating us about this phrase.

So sorry once again!
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Old 04-23-2014, 02:09 AM   #20
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Nobody appears to be upset but this is the issue:

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Originally Posted by Ipta View Post
As I've said before, I've never been off of my reservation...
Exposure fixes a lot, enjoy school.
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