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Old 06-19-2006, 01:35 PM   #1
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Question Intertribal Dance Etiquette

Do I owe someone an apology?

I hope someone can advise me. Yesterday I took my family to the Honor the Fire Keepers Pow Wow in Lake Geneva WI. Sometime after my wife took my youngest son back to the car, I heard an announcement regarding a woman who had her toddler son in the circle during an Intertribal dance. Apparently someone complained, and the MC announced that the elders had decided there was no harm done. I am concerned that the woman and child in question are mine. I understand that children are not normally supposed to enter the ring before certain ceremonies are performed on their behalf, but I thought that would not apply for an intertribal. I know that we are there as guests, (we have no native blood to my knowledge), and eagerly wish to cause NO offence. Can someone educate me?

(BTW, I don't mind some ribbing if I can learn in the process)

Thanks.

Last edited by Sleeping Bear; 06-19-2006 at 01:40 PM..
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Old 06-19-2006, 01:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeping Bear
...MC announced that the elders had decided there was no harm done...
Key phrase. Maybe the person that (you assume) complained didn't understand that it was an intertribal, or had a different idea about what that means?
For future reference, it would be good to seek out the Elders, offer tobacco, and ask them if what happened was wrong.
It is good that you are concerned about this and not just blowing it off. Too many others would just ignore the incident and go on as if nothing had happened.
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Old 06-19-2006, 01:57 PM   #3
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Well as far as I know if It was a intertribal there was no harm done, if they were dancing respectfully ,and was invited to come out and dance by the m.c. I have heard of complaints cause of kids playing in the arena , but I cant see any harm by just dancing when bing in there on an invite, perhaps it was directed to someone else.
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Old 06-19-2006, 02:00 PM   #4
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Hey, Sleeping Bear, what, were you sleeping or something? LOL....
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Old 06-19-2006, 02:11 PM   #5
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Dances with Fry Bread, thanks for the advice. I am not yet familiar enough with the traditions of offering tobacco, etc. Is seeking the elders appropriate for a non-native visitor? My first concern is not offending the culture that I so appreciate.

Eagle Plumes, I hope you are correct. I know my wife was dancing respectfully, and my son was walking, holding her hand, or being carried at all times. I'm pretty sure he made no noise during the dance either. In fact, I'm pretty sure he was entranced by the experience the whole time.

Numunu1971, we all do what we do best, don't we. :-)

Thank you for the advice and kind words.

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Old 06-19-2006, 02:19 PM   #6
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Well, from reading your post and giving it a bit of thought, let me just say that I think sometimes people can be a little too "rigid" or "testy". You know? We're talking about a little kid here, and what are we trying to teach our kids in the circle? I try to teach my kids that this place is a sanctuary. A place to feel secure. When I see kids dancing in the circle, or even walking around with their momma's during intertribals, I encourage them, because if we don't, guess what.... our culture will slide right into history.
With that being said, there are times an apology is appropriate, but I don't believe the situation as you described warranted that. This is just one, 1!, opinion....
Wake up Sleeping Bear!!! Ha, ha, ha.....(You said we could rib you).....
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Old 06-19-2006, 02:20 PM   #7
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Im thinking the complaint was directed to somebody else so dont worry, thank-you for careing enough to give a flip, ive seen some people do some pretty wacky things in my day, hope you enjoyed the dance and please go to more and learn all you can and maybe ill see you out there!
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Old 06-19-2006, 02:32 PM   #8
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That's my perspective as well, Numunu1971, for what that's worth. As a matter of fact, sometimes the only time I feel awake is at a pow wow.

Eagle Plumes, I take such things quite seriously, and I did enjoy the dance, as did my family.

I appreciate you both helping me feel better. I hope I will see you at a pow wow some day. Maybe if you come to one near Chicago...

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Old 06-19-2006, 02:50 PM   #9
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Im glad you are fealing better, i love seeing the little ones at pow-wows, I have taken many little ones out to dance with me when they have caught my eye and given away many dollars to little dancers- of all colors.
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Old 06-19-2006, 03:37 PM   #10
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you know the only thing i can think of is that if she was carrying your child that may have been the issue, otherwise from your posts it does not sound like you would let your child run all nillie willie around the circle so it was prolly someone else.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeping Bear
That's my perspective as well, Numunu1971, for what that's worth. As a matter of fact, sometimes the only time I feel awake is at a pow wow.
as for offering tobacco do not worry about that if you do it with the same respect that you are showing now for my culture you will do just fine. here is how i was taught: you offer him or her some tobacco say a small handful, then ask them if you may ask them for some advise, you will get your answer on wether or not they want to talk to you, then ask your questions, when you are done you thank them and then offer the rest of the tobacco in the pouch.
thank you for showing your interest in a respectful and honoring way, good luck to you.

Eagle Plumes, I take such things quite seriously, and I did enjoy the dance, as did my family.

I appreciate you both helping me feel better. I hope I will see you at a pow wow some day. Maybe if you come to one near Chicago...

Sleeping Bear
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Old 06-19-2006, 03:45 PM   #11
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If the m.c. announced that no harm was done, then everything is O.K. If you are not sure what to do next time, you are always welcome to approach the powwow committee (who are usually around the m.c. stand/table) and make sure everything is O.K.

I agree with Numunu, sometimes, some people get too rigid. And chances are you would have had a different experience at a different powwow.
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Old 06-19-2006, 04:09 PM   #12
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Ah, Carrying might have been a problem. I'm not sure she did, but she might have. (I was sleeping part of the time). I'll make a point of telling her not to do that in the future.

Thank you, Migiziwomen and kiyaanii mom.
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Old 06-19-2006, 04:22 PM   #13
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Migiziwomen, I just noticed a reply to an earlier question embedded in the quote of one of my replies. Thank you. Could you tell me in what form tobacco is given? I do not smoke, and I would expect that offering a pack of cigarettes would be highly frowned upon :-). Is tobacco given in twists? In commercial pouches? In traditional pouches? See how much I still have to learn?

Thank you very much.

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Old 06-19-2006, 05:38 PM   #14
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I understand what happen to you. Several years ago my family attended a dance in WI. My son was a newborn and I was dancing with him during an intertribal. This is something that we do here in ND. Anyways, the arena director pulled me aside and informed me that I was offending the elders. The AD didn't explain why?? But the announcer made a big thing about it. In short, it is their belief that when you carrying a child while dancing it is like offering the child back to the spirit world. A child shouldn't enter the arena unless they are able to do it on their own. The announcer also stated that I should know the customes before attending at another tribes' dances. My husband's drum group was there for a singing contest, he stayed and I left. I was offended how the situation was handled. The arena director could have told me privately what I was doing wrong instead of the announcer making a big deal about it.
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Old 06-19-2006, 11:38 PM   #15
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That you are even concerned after getting home from the powwow is commendable! I wish there were more powwow-er's like you at White Swan. Kids run everywhere, across the circle, around the dancers, people dump their garbage wherever they sit ... do they take the time to logon and ask if people think they are offensive? They probably know that answer already.

And I'm sure the MC wasn't talking about YOUR kids. And even if he was, like other said "no harm done" is the key phrase. Some people have different beliefs; but powwows are intertribal social dances, not sacred lottie-dah spirit gatherings. Sounds like whoever was offended just needs to chill out.
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Old 06-20-2006, 06:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calicoquilts
In short, it is their belief that when you carrying a child while dancing it is like offering the child back to the spirit world. A child shouldn't enter the arena unless they are able to do it on their own.
I gotta ask who's belief this is... is it a tribal belief or just that certain powwow's belief? This is'nt the first time I've heard someone say this before. And for the same reasoning.

I've seen plenty of times women dancing while holding a baby or their small child's hand during intertribals. In fact during a tiny tots in OK I danced with mine around the arbor because if I did'nt she would'nt dance (she was'nt used to such a large crowd of people) and was told by the AD's wife to do that.
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Old 06-20-2006, 10:11 AM   #17
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i know how wierd is that? i am not sure how that happened the site forze after i was done and when it came back part of my post was gone, i did not know that it got scrunched in yours. lol. anyway how i was taught was to offer a small amount and to ask if you may ask them a question, they will give you the answer, after you ask and you get your answers, you just say thank you and offer them the rest of the assin(tobacy) i have always just used the pouch it came in. you could make a little pouch. oh and i have seen someone offer smokes, lol the elder was graceful and took the smokes without judgment.
Quote:
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Migiziwomen, I just noticed a reply to an earlier question embedded in the quote of one of my replies. Thank you. Could you tell me in what form tobacco is given? I do not smoke, and I would expect that offering a pack of cigarettes would be highly frowned upon :-). Is tobacco given in twists? In commercial pouches? In traditional pouches? See how much I still have to learn?

Thank you very much.
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Old 06-20-2006, 10:14 AM   #18
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Oh! Offer the child back! I can see why some would be made uncomfortable. It's details like that that I really want to know about. Thank you, calicoquilts. I'm really sorry the announcer treated you so badly. And I am very surprised to hear it. During the pow wows I have been at, I have never heard anyone so intentionally rude. I guess I have to get to more pow wows :-)

Thank you, Wakalapi. I was raised by a German and a Norweigian, but I think they raised me right. :-)

-Sleeping Bear
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Old 06-20-2006, 10:16 AM   #19
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i think that it is a tribal thing, i know that in my tribe you cannot dance if you are pregnant and you cannot carry your baby. now haveing said that i am not certain if that pertains to a child that can walk but is too frightnened by the large crowd and has to get her little feet wet with mommie and daddie first. i am pretty sure that it means only that if your child cannot walk say infant and young toddlers you cannot bring them into the circle. now i do know that in tiny tots on my rez they have to dance themselves, you can walk with them but you cannot even hold hands, or they do not get the monies.
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Originally Posted by Blackbear
I gotta ask who's belief this is... is it a tribal belief or just that certain powwow's belief? This is'nt the first time I've heard someone say this before. And for the same reasoning.

I've seen plenty of times women dancing while holding a baby or their small child's hand during intertribals. In fact during a tiny tots in OK I danced with mine around the arbor because if I did'nt she would'nt dance (she was'nt used to such a large crowd of people) and was told by the AD's wife to do that.
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Old 06-20-2006, 10:19 AM   #20
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Thank you, Migiziwomen. I will make a stop at the tobacconist before my next pow wow. I'll try to do what you describe in as graceful a manner as my clumsy old self can manage. :-)
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