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Old 02-24-2009, 07:33 AM   #1
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Having to pay to dance and/or sing...???

This is something that just gets under my skin. Dancers and singers should not have to pay to get into a pow wow. Heck, no one should have to pay to get into a pow wow. It should be FREE for everyone...that's how it was intended.

And, all pow wows should feed. I don't know how many times I've seen people down on their luck or kids in line for a feed who you just know that's their first meal of the day....possibly their only meal of the day. They came to the dance to eat, and there's nothing wrong with that. That dance was doing things right. They get it.

These pow wows that charge people to get in, especially the ones that charge singers and dancers, and then don't feed anyone or only feed the singers and dancers...you don't get it.

I know I'm not making much sense here and am ranting a lot, but I'm just sick of it. It's not so much the $5 fee to get in or the $10 to register for contest...it's the principle of it all...where does it end?

Just my rant for today.
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:26 AM   #2
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I've never thought it was right, either. Sometimes we've traveled pretty far to get to a pow wow and money will be tight. So kind of discourages to go to ones that charge the dancers. I understand the committee has to make money to put on the pow wow...........but doesn't seem fair to hit the dancers with the charge.
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:41 AM   #3
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Asking your dancers to pay to get into the pow wow to dance is just wrong. Asking them to pay for their entourage is different. I see lots of pow wows where dancers bring everyone they know to the party and only one or two people in the group are dancing. I am not saying their immediate family here, but their neighbors 2nd cousin, the boss' brother-in-law, the lady down the street and her dog, and so on.... I have seen campsites at some of the events that my husband and I go to with 5 or 6 tents and only one dancer or drummer in the entire bunch. But they got 20 people lining up to get fed and to camp at a nice location for free all weekend....

I don't mind paying a small fee to camp if I am dancing. I understand that some events are put on in places where the site must be rented. Insurance has to be provided for some locations, and lets face it things are not cheap to put on....
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:39 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by steelemagnolia63 View Post
Asking your dancers to pay to get into the pow wow to dance is just wrong. Asking them to pay for their entourage is different. I see lots of pow wows where dancers bring everyone they know to the party and only one or two people in the group are dancing. I am not saying their immediate family here, but their neighbors 2nd cousin, the boss' brother-in-law, the lady down the street and her dog, and so on.... I have seen campsites at some of the events that my husband and I go to with 5 or 6 tents and only one dancer or drummer in the entire bunch. But they got 20 people lining up to get fed and to camp at a nice location for free all weekend....

I don't mind paying a small fee to camp if I am dancing. I understand that some events are put on in places where the site must be rented. Insurance has to be provided for some locations, and lets face it things are not cheap to put on....
You're not going to real, old-fashioned tribal events then. Real events not only encourage camps with everyone welcome, including extended family, in-laws, etc., but they also feed everyone. Paying to be at a pow wow is wrong in my opinion. I'm starting to feel I'm going to be in the minority on this issue.
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:14 AM   #5
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Talking Dance or No Dance?

I recall times of good old fun-time dancing at powwows in a traditional sense. Then contests became an added event. Fees became the norm in order to participate in the Prize game. Much like 5-K runs, rodeos or any event which had trophies, cash and bragging rights you had to be an entrant and pay that fee attached. So, this is what the powwows began to offer to bring you in to their event.
You also became that powwows' entertainer. Some powwows pay an honorarium for your contribution. And of course the public that comes to watch you dance becomes the paying public. Now if there is no contest you will not see much of a participation by popular dancers. You will not hear the top name drum groups.
I understand some big powwows do make money by offering a other related events like concessions, art market, rodeos etc. If you've been to a state fair, it would be no different. But that's what has evolved.
Nowadays dance competitions are strictly contest and our entertainment. Personally I do not see a dancing that shows people having fun in a social manner. Some communities still retain their social dances that involves everyone. If anything a good two step would be a good example however there doesn't seem to be time for that either at times. We have choices to go to and how we choose to have fun. ONLY IF WE JUST DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY!! Isn't "It all about the money?" All in all, it's good to see a crowd of Skynz and to hang out with them
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Wojapi4Me View Post
You're not going to real, old-fashioned tribal events then. Real events not only encourage camps with everyone welcome, including extended family, in-laws, etc., but they also feed everyone. Paying to be at a pow wow is wrong in my opinion. I'm starting to feel I'm going to be in the minority on this issue.
We still have those kinds of powwows back home. No admission fees, no registration fees, lots of camping, giving out rations, etc. I miss those powwows...dancing all day, contesting at 12:30am...lol...sweatin all day in the sun then bundling up at night waiting to dance...being woken up from the heat of the sun beating down on your tent at 7am...lol. The prize money is good, but the committees work hard all year long. They have reliable fundraisers like bingo, etc., to rely on. They are of the mindset that its a community event and its for the community and for visitors.

The powwows that charge have a different mindset...its not bad, its just different. The casino powwows are a business venture...they have a huge budget because they figure they have to spend money to make money...but they always have some administrator looking at what they are spending versus what they are taking in, so that's why they charge a registration fee....the committees know its ridiculous to charge a fee (I remember when Dave use to get irritated with having to charge a fee at PI), but they have to work with their tribal council and their finance people to have that budget and they have to compromise somewhere.

And college powwows are different too....they have to rely on state funding, or other funding through their colleges (which they have to fight their student senate to get usually), and they often have to pay to use the facilities if its a big fieldhouse or other athletic facitily. I know when I was at KU they made it impossible for students to fundraise in the ways that were good for us...food sales, t-shirt sales, etc. We had to go to Haskell to do those things because the university had a lock on any type of food sale on-campus....but they wanted us to be self-sufficient...go figure.

You can find the powwows that you are describing...where there is no admission or registration fee and they feed everyone, or give out rations, etc. But you have to be willing to go to where those celebrations are...and there are so many different types of powwows now that its unrealistic to think they should all be alike...people fell in love with the big prize money and being able to stay at a casino...so they give up those other things in order to have the "modern" conveniences, so to speak. People want to dance year round too...for different reasons...so thats another reason for a different type of powwow.

I've been involved with most of these different types of powwows...it sucks having to charge admission, but when people expect a good celebration but offer no help (financial or otherwise), when people don't want to pay but want the committee to donate stuff to THEM (free booth space, etc.), then it makes it impossible to put on a good celebration and please everyone at the same time.

I don't mind paying a fee (except the videtaping fee at Denver bugs me...lol) because I just want to dance..and if thats the powwow I choose to go to, then "when in Rome..."

We went to Macy powwow for the 1st time last summer and it was an old-timey powwow like we used to go to all the time...we loved it and would like to back again.

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Old 02-24-2009, 11:40 AM   #7
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Good comments everyone.
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:25 PM   #8
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Just a very few around here charge to get in
Red Earth and IICOT pops to mind
But the vast majority do not charge at all
And there are some good size powwows that still feed everybody and I mean everybody!

My favorites are the 3 day camp and powwow
Hearing the call for rations and seeing what they are giving out that day and try to figure out what you can make out of it. Now that is eating

LOL

Indian Hills powwow has been going on since the 50's and they still have camping and do not charge to get in
They have numerous benefit powwows throughout the year to pay for the 2 big ones they put on.

We camp at 2 or 3 a year and none charge for camping but only one still gives rations...
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:58 PM   #9
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Actually 90% of the pow wows that we go to are small family or fund raising pow wows. Most of them don't have a huge budget to rely on to pay for the fees that the event generates. One event the head of the committee dipped in to the money for his house note to cover the cost of feeding the attendees. Almost all that we head dance at we dance at for free so that the money that would be paid to us goes to the committee, we dance for the joy that dancing gives us....Most of the people who are there never pony up one dime to help defray the expenses.

I don't have a problem with people being fed at a pow wow. What I have a problem with is people who show up and do absolutly nothing to help that pow wow that they are at. They don't volunteer to pick up the trash, to work the gate, to help in the kitchen or make a donation to cover expenses. They just show up and sit in the shade until time to eat and they are the first ones in line at the kitchen door... them and the 50 people that they brought with them.

I am not talking about the elders, they have earned the right to sit in the shade and tell their war stories. I am not talking about the sick. I am talking about those who are perfectly able to dance or get off their duffs and do something to earn their keep....

I don't pay to dance or expect anyone to pay to be dancers, drummers and singers. I think that if you aren't dancing then do something, or be ready to make a donation to cover your camping. It would go a long way to paying for that food that they are in line for.....
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:58 PM   #10
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Our powwow doesn't charge admission and I remember on the poster it used to say, "Bring your cook stoves, rations will be provided." There are still a lot of people that camp and the stick gamers go on all night long. My family usually puts up tipis and let visitors camp in them. Wow making me wish for June already and its still only Feb.
Things change though and committees change, rations are no longer provided but the powwow is still good and theres feeds for all the visitors and the stick games still contuinue all day and night.
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Old 02-24-2009, 01:12 PM   #11
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the community powwows here in the 4-corner area . . . not all powwows, tho . . . have a dinner break and feed all the ppl-dancers, singers, and guests . . . they also hand out snack packs, bottle water, and fruits . . . its very succesful when everyone lends a helping hand
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:16 PM   #12
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Most powwows here (on rez or off) have a fee for spectators, usually under $5, which is not bad. camping is provided for those directly involved and thier families. Often the spectators pay to camp. I know from people that are on committees that certian powwows have a harder time fundraising due to location (local economy being a factor) and I have a friend who puts a lot of her own money into the powwow and often spends months eating no-name mac and cheese. I think the smaller powwows get less sponsors and stuff, but if ya like the small powwow then it is what it is. You can't expect a small traditional powwow to be like a large competition powwow. When it comes to things money related, I think rather then "right and wrong" it's about what that powwow can do and weather or not you choose to go. HOWEVER I think the powwow committee needs to be VERY clear about what is and is not covered and what will need to come out of your own pocket.
For the comments about it being all about the contests...if ya don't like it try a different powwow, there are plenty with out contests.
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:24 PM   #13
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This is something that just gets under my skin. Dancers and singers should not have to pay to get into a pow wow. Heck, no one should have to pay to get into a pow wow. It should be FREE for everyone...that's how it was intended.

And, all pow wows should feed. I don't know how many times I've seen people down on their luck or kids in line for a feed who you just know that's their first meal of the day....possibly their only meal of the day. They came to the dance to eat, and there's nothing wrong with that. That dance was doing things right. They get it.

These pow wows that charge people to get in, especially the ones that charge singers and dancers, and then don't feed anyone or only feed the singers and dancers...you don't get it.

I know I'm not making much sense here and am ranting a lot, but I'm just sick of it. It's not so much the $5 fee to get in or the $10 to register for contest...it's the principle of it all...where does it end?

Just my rant for today.
I totally agree with you here.

There is one pow wow where I am that I really like to go to. I usually camp, but sometimes will get a hotel 'cause it usually rains.LOL

But they don't charge the dancers or singers to get in and they feed EVERYONE. If you are there on sat morning or sunday morning there is breakfast for anyone who shows up. They take a dinner break on saturday and all who goes in gets fed and it's really good food too and alot. Then after the pow wow on sunday there is a big feast too. And then during the day both days they have kids who come around all day long with fruits and vegetables cut up with dip for anyone who wants, they pass it out to all. Usually they have alot of Watermellon too 'cause this one's in Aug and if it's not raining, it's very hot.

They do charge a door fee for the spectators--that's not too high--but they do charge and they do charge for the competition. But the meals are for all. So I really like that one around here.

And then I really liked the ones in OK that I went to. There was no gate fee and they fed everyone there too. I was a guest and they were so kind and generous and totally treated me like welcomed family. That's really nice to see.

But more and more they are becoming more about charging rather then giving and I see it all over. There are still many that don't charge the dancers or drums and feed them and the vendors, I don't really know if they feed the visitors, but they do charge a gate fee at most of them anymore.

There was one that I really liked going to and I had gone for several years. They didn't feed the people that I know of, but dancers and drums were free and they did charge a gate fee, but camping was free too. Then one year I was there and someone from the pow wow staff came up to me and asked me how many was with me and told me "That will be X amt". I looked at them and said "For what?" They told me for the gate fee, I was already there camping and had never paid or had that ever happen. I told them that I was a dancer, so they were gonna charge me for two days for the other's in my party. I got it all worked out that weekend and have never gone back. I liked it up to that point.LOL And I don't contest, so why pay to get in to dance? So they were charging me to dance basically.
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:20 PM   #14
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Paying to get into big arena pow wows is a necessary evil. Big buildings cost big bux.

Paying to go to dance at a reserve pow wow though... I ain't always happy about that.

But what is an addict to do? Quit?
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Old 02-24-2009, 08:29 PM   #15
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well I have to say that I go to alot of powwows around the Va./DC/Md. area and I sometimes have to pay to dance sometimes not, I don't usually mind too much because I figure it goes towards the drums or the ppl putting on the powwow. The one problem I do have is when they say they will pay for ALL registered dancers to come and I register but have yet to recieve any money but I look at any money as bonus for coming and helping pay for my food (they don't feed) I understand if they run short of money or only pay for a given number of dancers they should at least let the ones NOT getting any money know. Around here there aren't many powwows that there is camping at and I miss that. I always enjoyed the afternoon dancing and the the evening dancing but it seems around here they are few and far between

Becca
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Old 02-24-2009, 10:20 PM   #16
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well I have to say that I go to alot of powwows around the Va./DC/Md. area and I sometimes have to pay to dance sometimes not, I don't usually mind too much because I figure it goes towards the drums or the ppl putting on the powwow. The one problem I do have is when they say they will pay for ALL registered dancers to come and I register but have yet to recieve any money but I look at any money as bonus for coming and helping pay for my food (they don't feed) I understand if they run short of money or only pay for a given number of dancers they should at least let the ones NOT getting any money know. Around here there aren't many powwows that there is camping at and I miss that. I always enjoyed the afternoon dancing and the the evening dancing but it seems around here they are few and far between

Becca
Wow, I'd be going to new powwows. Never been to one where dancers pay, but obviously it happens or this thread wouldn't be here but not feeding dancers or only paying some and not others, I have never experienced. Why not just pay all the dancers a little less so there is some for everyone.
I think these commitees need to figure that if you got no dancers, you got not powwow, just like some of the other key roles.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:13 AM   #17
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Almost all that we head dance at we dance at for free so that the money that would be paid to us goes to the committee, we dance for the joy that dancing gives us....Most of the people who are there never pony up one dime to help defray the expenses.

I don't have a problem with people being fed at a pow wow. What I have a problem with is people who show up and do absolutly nothing to help that pow wow that they are at. They don't volunteer to pick up the trash, to work the gate, to help in the kitchen or make a donation to cover expenses. They just show up and sit in the shade until time to eat and they are the first ones in line at the kitchen door... them and the 50 people that they brought with them.

I am not talking about the elders, they have earned the right to sit in the shade and tell their war stories. I am not talking about the sick. I am talking about those who are perfectly able to dance or get off their duffs and do something to earn their keep....

I don't pay to dance or expect anyone to pay to be dancers, drummers and singers. I think that if you aren't dancing then do something, or be ready to make a donation to cover your camping. It would go a long way to paying for that food that they are in line for.....
This wasn't exactly what I was talking about when I said that we didn't get much help at one powwow we ran for a few years. It was a college powwow and we got no funding from the college at all....then they had a problem with having any type of "raffle" to generate some change but we found a way to address that. Then they said we couldn't solicit donations from other tribes, that all requests had to get approved through the president's office first (and then it never went anywhere when we did that). There were alot of students and staff that wanted the powwow a certain way, but I guess they thought that just expressing themselves and complaining was going to do it...they never helped the committee out or even came to any meetings....now if they were a committee member and put in all the hard work that we did then they were more than welcome to express whatever they wanted...because they were a part of the planning and everything. But we had students that would come to the meetings just to see if they could vote their friends in on head staff or get themselves in - then once they did that we never saw them again. OR we would have staff come in and want us to give them time to do this or that, or they were requesting free booth space so they could fundraise for their group....in this instance it was just a matter of everyone taking and no one giving...but everyone wanted a big powwow....lol....with no admission fees. Well, it costs money to bring head staff in, even to get local staff if you want to treat people right...and we were doing good awarding comp time to those staff members that helped and then our president at that time cut us off at the knees and said she wouldn't approve comp time anymore...so then the number of our "volunteers" just went down the drain.

So there is alot of consideration that goes into whether to charge or not....and then even some "students" who powwow quite a bit and said they understood how powwows ran and the work involved were some of the ones throwing the biggest fits at the gate when they had to pay their reduced admission fee. Even one "elder" in particular was very insulting to one of our committee chairs...and they had been coming to this powwow for years and it was no big surprise that they had to pay an admission fee.

Bottom line of MY rant is that you can't expect something for nothing...this college powwow I worked expected a good powwow every spring...but no one wanted to help us out with ANYTHING...so finally all the chairs resigned because we got no support from the college. Then two of the chairs still hung in there and had an awesome powwow with an admission charge of like $2 for the entire weekend....and guess what....the same people STILL threw fits!!!! That's why I gave up on working that powwow. My powwows at home don't charge admission and are very good to visitors...but this environment of the college powwow is a complete different animal...and we have to do things that we wouldn't normally do if we had the resources that the reservation or community powwows do.

I don't expect our guests and visitors to pitch in at the powwows we work...the powwow is for them. WE put in all the hard work to make it good for THEM...asking them or expecting them to pitch in at a powwow where they are our guests is as rude as inviting people to your house and then expecting them to do the dishes after you've eaten. when people come to your powwow then they are your guest...they are your visitors...and that's what powwows are for...they are for our visitors. that's why it sucks to have to charge admmission fees, but sometimes its unavoidable...its either that or just don't have a powwow at all...and alot of times people just get horrified when you give it to them like that...to tell them do it right or just don't do it....lol.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:51 AM   #18
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People always have choice. If you don't want to pay, don't do it. There always another pow-wow going on somewhere else that doesn't charge. The pow-wows that do charge have their reasons for it, if they could keep it free I'm sure that most would. Charging admission for some pow-wows isn't going to go away.
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:36 PM   #19
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Our little family pow-wow (Chief Lookingglass, 3rd weekend in August, Kamiah, ID) hasn't charged in the 32 years that it has been put on. The subject was broached once at a pow-wow and my aunts all shot it down immediately. We serve a lunch on Friday around 11 or 12 and a friendship feast on Saturday afternoon before the afternoon session.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:54 AM   #20
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when i was a kid..my mum always drag me along to her socialite friends and made me dance and sing for a 20 pesos..
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