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Forum Home - Go Back > Pow Wow Arena > Ask PowWows.com powwow visitor etiquette powwow visitor etiquette

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Old 07-26-2013, 03:22 PM   #1
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powwow visitor etiquette

What is the respectful thing for a powwow visitor to do if they're the first one to notice a feather fall??

Are there different protocals for the arena vs the vendors area or parking lot??

I've been carrying this question since the first time one fell in the arena a long time ago....
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Old 07-26-2013, 06:37 PM   #2
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If a feather fall I flag the AD and tell him about it.
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:58 AM   #3
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And this I don't know - what does it mean - when a feather falls? I know they stop the dance.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:11 AM   #4
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Ok, this question has been asked and answered in numerous threads.

Muttly, The handling of a dropped feather will depend upon, a) where the feather was dropped, b) which people's customs are being applied, c) the type of feather.

There is and never was a one stop answer to this question - there is no such thing as a pan-indian custom/answer for dealing with a dropped feather.

I suggest to those who have asked about a fallen feather do a search on this site for a starter. Keep in mind that not all First Nations have exactly the same process for retrieving a feather that has fallen on the ground. That process is as different and unique as our songs, dances, stories, languages and dress.
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:19 PM   #5
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i guess maybe the thing to do is ask at each different arena....
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yaahl View Post
There is and never was a one stop answer to this question - there is no such thing as a pan-indian custom/answer for dealing with a dropped feather.
Ok, aren't there are SOME minimum acceptable standards that should be shared by all powwow visitors in this regard??.... if the MC says "clear the bleachers, everybody dance!!" and you're a visitor in the arena of ANY powwow and you see a feather down, you don't just dance on by nor do you grab it up and run over to the person with a "hey dude you dropped this".... I think it might be said that the respectful thing to do would be to first protect it and second to get somebodys attention that it might be dealt with properly according to the local tradition... Could this often asked but somewhat obvious stuff be compiled into a FAQ link that could then suggest the search button for more info?? or is it already done and I missed THAT too?? A FAQ page may serve as a buffer from repeat questions and uninformed posts like mine.... just a thought....
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Old 07-28-2013, 12:38 PM   #7
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Muttly, as I set out there are no "minimum Acceptable standards" for this. It is entrely up to the host First Nation's culture on how they deal with it as well as the uniqueness of the individual dancer and where they come from and who they are and what they believe they must do to retrieve a fallen feather.

You've answered your own question, ask the AD or the MC or resident elder what to do in the case of a fallen feather.

Last year at Hobbema, an entire eagle staff was knocked down by a child, it took the committee and elders an fair bit of consulting to deal with it. Every situation is different - there is no minimum answer.
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Old 07-28-2013, 02:53 PM   #8
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Thanks, I'll go off and chew on that for a bit to digest it all....
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Old 07-28-2013, 03:59 PM   #9
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Down here in southern country its handled differently.
The Staffs and Flags are never alone and placed in a manner that people don't walk around or near them so "accidents" can't happen.
As for dropped feathers...
Lets only talk about Eagle Feathers 1st
In Southern Country the AD was the whipman in the older societies and are still used in the Ceremonial dances, they are in charge of the arena and all things that are dropped on the floor of that arena they and only they can pick up including eagle feathers.
They don't stop the dance, they do not make a ruckus, they take care of the arena.
Usual manner is the person that dropped the feather it is a HUGE deal for them and there family, I have seen where the family has packed up camp and left there after...
Which is why you dress and you take care of those feathers and secure them in such a manner that you CAN'T drop one...
Now having said that I have been at some powwows that people have decided that they needed to do a big ceremony to pick up a dropped feather I am not sure where that came from or can say that is made up but they seem to do this. I have been at dances where over 300 straight dancers dancing 2 sessions a day for 4 days and not one single feather dropped! I have been to Red Earth and seen 4 in one afternoon!!!

As for other items suck as Fake Feathers, Bells, Bead work ect ect ect it is normal practice for the AD to pick up those items and attempt to get them back to the owner, it is customary for that person to pay to get it back for they did not secure the item properly.
Of course I am only talking Southern Powwows and Only talking about ones in Oklahoma and even that is slowly changing as we see more people come into to arena from other places that like to do things a little bit different.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muttly View Post
What is the respectful thing for a powwow visitor to do if they're the first one to notice a feather fall??

Are there different protocals for the arena vs the vendors area or parking lot??

I've been carrying this question since the first time one fell in the arena a long time ago....
You're gonna look mighty funny standing over a chicken feather next to a frybread stand waiting for someone to come over and have a picking up ceremony.

Mr. Muttly, you are first going to have to be able to identify the feather that has fallen. `Real eagle? Painted eagle? Hawk? Turkey? Owl? Etc..

The grandfathers were competing at a powwow when on of the dancers dropped a feather at the end of the song. When all was done, I went and asked the AD did he feel it necessary for me to erase the event. He said no. World Champion Grass dancer, he was.

So yeah. Go ask somebody.
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Old 07-28-2013, 07:52 PM   #11
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My experience is the same as Josiah's.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:11 PM   #12
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Thank you for sharing!!
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:11 PM   #13
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if i see one fall i would hurry and go stand by it and dance in place, and try to keep people from dancing over it in case they dont see it....sooner or later sometimes a few dancers in regalia or drummers or elders or whoever may dance over and dance in place also surrounding the eagle feather until song is over......then AD or MC usually notice by then and come over and then they do what needs to be done before resuming powwow
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Old 07-30-2013, 12:11 PM   #14
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I have been asked numerous times what should be done if a feather is dropped on the ground while in a dressing roomm at the car while you're getting ready, or at a camp when the powwow is not going on. Pick it up! The same is true if you are at home. NO ceremony needed. If smudging is your way pick it up and smudge.

Once the feather is dropped on or near the arena, you should consult the arena director as to not offend traditional people or veterans.

*Disclaimer. In many ceremonies, eagle feathers are purposely laid on the earth.
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:57 PM   #15
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good good answer josiah

to add a little bit not that is not a big deal when a feather is dropped but to me the ad is in charge of the arena. if he chooses to pick it up and get it back to its owner then good. if that person who dropped it wants to take care of it or pay for dropping it, do it in the backround, give the committee some money or something even go put some on the drum. it doesn't have to be announced or big deal made out of it.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:39 AM   #16
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You're gonna look mighty funny standing over a chicken feather next to a frybread stand waiting for someone to come over and have a picking up ceremony.
OH ya!! that'd be TOO funny for sure but don't those have to be rescued by decendants of Cherokee princesses??
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:42 AM   #17
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to add a little bit not that is not a big deal when a feather is dropped but to me the ad is in charge of the arena. if he chooses to pick it up and get it back to its owner then good. if that person who dropped it wants to take care of it or pay for dropping it, do it in the backround, give the committee some money or something even go put some on the drum. it doesn't have to be announced or big deal made out of it.
While certain customs come into play on this issue, if you see any of the regalia fall off from a person, contact the person immediately and point to that person that something of theirs dropped on the ground Let them pick it up or you pick it up and give it to the owner right away.

I saw on one of the videos showing a grand entry and a piece of regalia fell off from a fancy dancer and the dancer behind him picked it up and returned it to the owner without much ado about nothing.

Same for anything if you see it fall and saw whom it fell off let that person know right away, and return it. I would rather pick it up than let it get trampled by others behind him that do not know a feather or some regalia fell off.

Its my way of giving that person some respect. No need to pay me, as most regalia's from others is very expensive.

Again I may be wrong but different strokes for different folks.
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