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-   -   Dances that exlude Non-Indians. Good or Bad? (http://forums.powwows.com/showthread.php?t=440)

powwower 08-24-2001 08:28 PM

Dances that exlude Non-Indians. Good or Bad?
Me-n-Park was chewing the fat in the Gourd Dance section and I came up with this Subject.

During the summer, the Kiowa Gourd Clan hosts their annual celebration. Now, I have seen the gourd dance all across the Southern States and in Montana. In all these places I have observed both black and white people participating.

A few years back I had the distinct pleasure to travel down to Oklahoma with some Indian friends. I was very interested to observe this Kiowa celebration and the Kiowa people - who are generally recognized as the originators of this dance.

The Kiowa people were very gracious to me and in its purist form, this was indeed a very strict dance. I observed: Kiowa people dressed in their finest regalia (no ball caps or teeshirts), a spirit of genuine respect of the arena and certain ceremonies that went unexplained. But the most noticible was the lack of participating non-Indians! (I was later told that you have to be Indian to participate there).

I have also heard of regular powwows in the Midwest and East where you have to pocess an "Indian Card" to participate. I consider myself respectful and I just like to dance (and sing when someone invites me to).


chinook1943 08-25-2001 11:07 PM

I would say first of all respect the culture and wait to be asked to participate.There are a lot of powwows that don't mind having non natives dance.Like most cultures there are somethings you don't do unless asked.Don't feel slighted just show respect. :) :D

travelingmocs 08-26-2001 10:26 PM

I am white, but I do go to indian pow-wows to participate. But if I am not allowed to dance fine. I will sit and watch, and enjoy the songs and dancing. It all goes back to that whole resect thing. If I am not welcomed fine I will leave and find another dance to hit. Dances are going on all the time in Oklahoma............TMS

Two-cents1 08-27-2001 11:34 AM

The Kiowa Gourd Clan Ceremonials are a part of what used to be their old sundance ceremony before it was put away. Many of the Kiowa warrior societies had their individual responsibilities to that ceremony, which is where the different ceremonials for different societies come from (Black Leggings, etc.). My family sets up camp at Carnegie every year and I am familiar with their ban on non-Indian dancers during their ceremonials.

I was told by one of the original members of the revived society that at one time they used to let other tribes or non-Indian dancers participate. I believe that they discovered that people that were not Indian, or not Kiowa, started giving their input on how things should be run down there, which is what led to the decision that they not allow non-Indian dancers. Since the gourd dance came from the Kiowas, I believe it is within their right to decide what to do with their own ceremonials, and since it is their own, I don't think it should be open to criticism from people that are not Kiowa (I'm not saying that pwr was criticizing the decision, but that is just for anyone that wants to jump on their reasoning for that).

I understand their decision, because the Gourd Clan ceremonial is not a social dance, not a powwow (although they have war dance in the evening), it's what they call a "man dance", and is treated in about the same manner that a ceremony is. There are many ceremonies all over Indian country where non-Indian participants are not allowed in. As for gourd dance being done all over the country for this reason or that reason, if you ask any Kiowa Gourd Clan member who is at Carnegie year after year, they will tell you that Gourd dance has no place at powwows, it is not a veteran's dance like alot of people think it is, and they just laugh when they hear stuff like I heard one woman explain that Gourd dance is done before powwows to bless the grounds.

There has been too much on the board about non-Indians at powwows, so I won't comment on that, but I do think that excluding non-Indians from CEREMONIES does make for a better ceremony. Of course this is just my opinion, but it's based on actually seeing what happens to ceremonies after letting in non-Indians.


okla49er 08-27-2001 01:24 PM

this is a good question what do i say to throw in my two cents? well do it right have respect for it ive been to too many hobbest dances where they think they know it all say anything about this dance,some of them might know what there talkin about but is it there place to say anything about it when there not indian or in this case kiowa? i dont think so.dont preach it tell you live it every day of your life.i am not sayin all non indians are like that,because in most part most i have met that powwow are not.but the saying goes one bad apple can spoil a bunch.but dont get offended if your not aloud to dance have respect ehen your told not to dance cuase someone else will see this and have respect for you.we have our tail dance cerimonals too and i dont agree with letting non indians paticipate in these but i have no say because that is the decision of the whip man and the drum keeper.thats the way it should be if whoevers in charge says yes or no agree and be respectful to there decisions.if you dont like it dont go.but i do know a certain non indian that made a song in an indian language and gave this song away.what right does he have to do this? it is not his langauge to give away.this upset me greatly when i was wittness to this.i mean i know not everyone is like that but it ruins it for a group of people when one person does wrong.now i hope i have not said anything you didnt like but you posted this topic not me,as far as non indians paticipating i dont agree because of too many wrong doings ive seen,now i will never chase anyone off or anything like that but i really dont care too much for non indians who are in the arena,and as far as having a better dance goes it doesnt make it it any less better, its the mood of averything and everybody that makes a good dance

ndn_ave 08-27-2001 03:22 PM

non indians stay at home!!!! you guys put on too much coppertone when you go to dances! aye china just playin if your gonna do it DO IT RIGHT!!!!!!!! thats all i have to say later

FtPeckRez 08-30-2001 06:19 PM

I don't recall seeing non-skins dancing at Fort Peck, other than the occasional honor song. Other wise I have seen them dancing at other places and they look absolutely crazy. Ben Franklin outfits posing w/ Real skins... 2 funny.

Rainbow 08-31-2001 05:55 AM

Two-Cents1 and Mr. Okla49er I have a few things I would like you to really think about with all due respect PLEASE.

1-Sorry but one bad apple does NOT ruin a whole bunch. I think its mean of you to say so. If you dont like what YOU see say something to that person, dont take it out on everyone else thank you.
2- Do you every stop and think how nice it is to see how someone loves your culture so much that they want to honor you by being with you and enjoying the dance with you??(unless of couse they are acting crazy and in that case by all means throw them out,phycially if need be.
3-We shouldnt look down on anyone else, remember no to long ago how we and our ancesders we looked down on, mistreaded, and disrepected. Respect rememeber!!
4-Lastly, Oh this card thing again.I hate it.
Lets think about if you do have even the smallest amt of "indain blood" but for whatever reason cant prove it hummm. Remember, sometimes our family we foced to move suddenly and the blood line is lost. Me being of mixed lines cant trace that far back, the paper trail stops Painfull to say. Nevertheless we of mixed blood are here and are here to stay. Papers, cards will not stop that.Not fair I cant dance. Remember,long ago we only had word of mouth, stories,right!! We didnt have cards then! IT IS WHAT IT IS. Lets try to face it. Hummmm.

If someone acts a fool, kick them out, I will help you. Other than that we should not judge.


Ikce Wicasa 08-31-2001 10:16 AM

Rainbow, boy did you miss the point. The original post was about the Kiowas wanting to keep the Kiowa Gourd Dance ceremonials in Carnegie, OK Kiowa and not allowing other tribes or non-Indians to participate? What's wrong with that? If you understood anything about Indian communities you would understand that and wouldn't want to be "accepted" or have a problem with it. Those dances are Kiowa, so it's their right to keep it Kiowa. Other Indian people respect that right, why can't you?

Now, don't get me wrong, I think pow wows should welcome anyone as long as they respect it and don't play a fool, but ceremonies are different. They are for the members of that respective tribe and that respective community. Lots goes on prior to a ceremony, sometimes up to a year in advance, that you wouldn't know about unless you lived there which you obviously don't live in an Indian community. So please quit criticizing about things of which you don't have clue about.

Two-cents1 08-31-2001 10:30 AM

Rainbow, with all due RESPECT, you are not going to change my mind about non-Indians participating in CEREMONIES, which is what I was referring to. If you want to know how other Indians feel about that, including non-Indians dancing at powwows, go check out the topics "Hobbyists or Whatever you Want to Call Us," or "The Non-Indian Indian Thing." in Native Issues. Seeing the type of disrespect that goes on by non-Indians at CEREMONIES (not powwows), I am not inclined to believe that there is anything nice about the way many (I said MANY, not ALL) non-Indians "honor" us by trampling all over our ceremonies the way I have witnessed many times. I participate in my own people's ceremonies, and I look on at my in-laws ceremonies. I am full-blood and I have enough respect to NOT even participate in my spouse's ways.....I would have the right since I am married in, but their ways are not MY ways, so I have enough RESPECT to learn their ways, but sit back and just help out where I can. If you want to "honor" us because you love our culture so much, then honor us by respecting the boundaries that are there when it comes to anything about our culture.

Have you not read anything in any other topics lately? I addressed how I, and probably other Indians, feel about the minute blood quantum thing earlier in the "Non-Native Native Issue." I am not going to repeat myself just to defend my own viewpoint, which you would have realized if you had read anything before you responded to this topic. Who said anything about cards or blood quantum here anyway? Go back and read that, all the other topics relating to what you are trying to say here, then maybe you can come back and write an informed post next time. Better yet, read what THIS TOPIC is about, which I don't think you did. In fact, I can tell you where my comment about those who cannot prove they are Indian but grew up around Indians is....."The Non-Native Native Issue" Page 3, about halfway down.

And for the record, I am having a really bad day, which is why I have no patience in my reply. I am so sick of hearing the word "RESPECT" flying around by those who want it, but don't know really understand how to show it. Before you start telling me to show respect for anyone, have enough respect for us to stay on the topic, and read before you post and start telling me that I'm mean.

I will say this about non-Indians participating in our ceremonies just because they think it's so beautiful and they want to honor us. In the Catholic religion, you cannot participate in the sacraments - Baptism, receiving Communion (Eucharist), Penance (Reconciliation), Marriage, Confirmation, Annointing of the Sick, and Last Rites - UNLESS YOU ARE CATHOLIC. The clery would have a cow if anyone who just thought it was beautiful and wanted to participate just went up and took communion. Or what would they say if someone who was not Catholic tried to hold a mass or something? And then say it was an authentic Catholic mass? To participate in any of these sacraments you have to go through an education period first, where you learn all about these things, and you are not allowed to participate in these until the instructors feel you are ready. Catholicism has their own boundaries, which most people respect, but they seem to think that it doesn't apply to our religion, our ceremonies.

I probably confirmed your first statement, when you said you thought it was mean of me to say the things I did. That's too bad because what you wrote only confirmed how I feel.


Sahnish 08-31-2001 10:37 AM

Aho Two Cents;

But you know if you held mass with "Respect" and a "Catholic heart" I am sure the Catholic Church would embrace you with open arms.....Yeah, RIGHT!!!!

Two-cents1 08-31-2001 10:58 AM


I'm sure that the priests, nuns, and even the bishop, would feel that to accomodate my respectfulness, and my love of the Catholic culture, if they were decent people that they would have to let me do what I want to do with their religion......I should be able to run a Mass, or get confirmed (I'll get my "Catholic" name in that ceremony) even if I'm not Catholic, but only because I think it's so beautiful and I want to honor them, and because I've read enough books about the Catholic culture to think I know what I'm doing. ROFL!!!!


Tvskekee 08-31-2001 11:09 AM

Im sure that you can also honor them by going and buying an authentic priests robe at the local walmart during halloween. After all it is with respect and honor that you do this and if you dont get the little white collar thing you can always get some white cardboard and make one yourself.
After all, its not about you doing it the right way it sjust that you do it with love, honor, and respect towards the catholic priest adn in this way you show them honor by imitating their ways.
I can even make you some rosary beads out of these cool psychedelic beads that were on sale at the local crafts shop. They are gauranteed to bring you peace and prayerful spiritual healing :)...$29.95 of course

Two-cents1 08-31-2001 11:21 AM


After you get done making that rosary, would you bless it for me? Then I can tell all my friends that an authentic Catholic priest blessed my psychedelic-bead rosary, and showed me how to make a priest's collar out of white posterboard. Then I can impress my friends with my new craftwork, but I'll need my "Catholic name" first.

Sorry for all the sarcasm folks, but I'm really having a bad day! :)


Sahnish 08-31-2001 11:43 AM

And I thought I was the only recovering Catholic on here!!!! LOL

windchases 08-31-2001 01:19 PM

Applauds Riverwind!!!!! :)

Shadowchaser 08-31-2001 01:32 PM

I only paid $29.95 out of tbe back of a magizine to be a bishop. Does that count? :D

seriously,all kidding aside if its ceremony then it belongs with that particular tribe/nation.

Long Otter 08-31-2001 06:12 PM

Two-cents1 - I think you seriously need to take to heart what all these posts are saying to you. I think you're comparing apples to oranges. How can you respectfully enter someone's house without ever being invited?

Buffalorider 08-31-2001 06:59 PM

The first sure sign of a wannabe, twinkie, pretendian is the abundant use of the word RESPECT. :rolleyes:

Two-cents1 08-31-2001 07:24 PM

I thought about sending this as a PM to Saponi, but since he/she brought it out in the open and addressed it to me publicly, I decided to answer him/her publicly.

What are these posts saying to me Saponi? Enlighten me please. I admit, I am heavy on the sarcasm and it probably got carried away (like I said, I'm having a BAD DAY), but I don't think it is at all like comparing apples and oranges. Ceremonies (I have to say this again, CEREMONIES - not POWWOWS, just for those who don't pay close attention to the topic at hand), to us are our religion. That's where the comparison is, comparing one religion with another religion, in this case the Catholic Church, and I will stand by that.

As for me respectully entering someone's house where I've not been invited, for your information, and I can't believe I am saying this to justify anything I am saying to someone that I don't know and probably will never meet (and not that it's any of your business), but I am, like Sahnish stated, a recovering Catholic. After 12 YEARS of Catholic education, I think I know whereof I speak. In addition, I was not trying to knock the Catholic Church, I was TRYING to make a point. I would never attempt to participate in something in the Catholic church that I was not educated in, nor had permission to do. Being Catholic, I know that there are boundaries for us to abide by within the Church itself. You can't do your first communion until you are baptized. You can't receive your first reconciliation until you receive your first communion, and so on. For those of you Catholics out there, have you ever tried to explain to someone that is not Catholic why they can't go and receive communion if they go to church with you? How appropriate would it be for someone to wear a priest's or nun's habit just because they love the church and they think they know enough about it to do something like that? My whole point in making the original comment about the Church is that anyone with half a brain would not criticize the Catholic church for supporting and enforcing it's own doctrine, which is the topic at hand. (There is enough criticism from practicing Catholics to go around. And for those that are outside the Church and want to criticize, do you think the church is going to change or even listen to people that are not Catholic?) For example: What would you think about someone who was not Catholic, had no intention of ever converting, but felt they had the right to participate in the sacraments no matter what the priests and nun's told him?

BTW, if anyone wants to start a discussion of why Indians belong to organized "white" religions when we don't want non-Indians at our ceremonies, please start another thread because I'm sure there will be a long string of responses to that one from both sides.

After 12 years, I know the Church backward and forward (note I said the Church, not the Bible), and I know my own ways like many of us do....we know BOTH the church and ceremonies. One was part of us because it was forced on our respective nations years ago and it just stayed because it was familiar.....the other is part of us, who we are...it belongs to us.

For those that can't see the sense in the comparison, (the original comparison, overlooking all the sarcasm that followed except for Sahnish's - I thought that one was a goot one!), then there is no point in wasting my time trying to explain because those that can't see it either refuse to see it, or just plain can't and never will.

Now, since you brought it up, I must ask: Are you Catholic, Saponi? If the answer is yes, did you attend Catholic schools, or are you one of those Catholics that either attends mass once in a great while and doesn't have any formal education in Catholic history and doctrine, or did you attend CCD classes at night when you were younger? Just want to know since you made the assumption about my not respectfully entering a house where I was not ever invited.


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