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  • Help!!

    Hello everyone!! As you can see I'm new to this and I just wanted to join to see if I could get some questions answered. I have a little boy whom I want to dance but have no direction. I've been going to powwows myself for about a year trying to get a feel for what's going on. My son is getting to an age where I feel he could start and I hear people all the time say that it's good for them to start at a young age.
    My question is how do I start? I was told to ask an elder but my son and I live away from family and friends. I don't have any grandparents and most of my relatives have passed on. I also noticed that every powwow I've gone to has pretty much the same people and they all know each other and they seem pretty tight knit. I have yet to meet a friendly face who would be willing to direct me. I sometimes feel like an outsider when I go, but it's extremely important to me because I want to get my son involved. He is picking up drumming which I think is awesome. He walks around with any two things in his hand and sings!!! It's so amazing to him and myself that he picked it up at such a young age. (He's only almost 2!) So, if someone is willing to take me under their wing and direct me I would greatly appreciate it!!

  • #2
    First of all the elder doesn't have to be a relative, but when you approach an elder make sure you have some tobacco to give them this opens the line of communication and shows they you have respect for what we do. Also you want to ask an elder man to teach your son, the way I was told was a man teaches a man and a woman teaches a woman. You also need to decide what dance he will be doing, then get him an outfit. The elder will tell you all of this, don't be affraid to ask as long as you do it respectfully you will be suprised how willing some people will be to help. It's in our nature to have an unfriendly facial expression doesn't mean that we are. I make all of my families outfits so if you need advice on how to make the outfit I can help you, a man does't have to help you make the outfit, just how to dance and what it means those kinds of things. I hope this help and if I have left anything out or there are oppinions on how to do things others will let you know.
    The look on a baby's face the first time they hear the drum is priceless.......

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    • #3
      Welcome

      Originally posted by unique_pw View Post
      Hello everyone!! As you can see I'm new to this and I just wanted to join to see if I could get some questions answered. I have a little boy whom I want to dance but have no direction. I've been going to powwows myself for about a year trying to get a feel for what's going on. My son is getting to an age where I feel he could start and I hear people all the time say that it's good for them to start at a young age.
      My question is how do I start? I was told to ask an elder but my son and I live away from family and friends. I don't have any grandparents and most of my relatives have passed on. I also noticed that every powwow I've gone to has pretty much the same people and they all know each other and they seem pretty tight knit. I have yet to meet a friendly face who would be willing to direct me. I sometimes feel like an outsider when I go, but it's extremely important to me because I want to get my son involved. He is picking up drumming which I think is awesome. He walks around with any two things in his hand and sings!!! It's so amazing to him and myself that he picked it up at such a young age. (He's only almost 2!) So, if someone is willing to take me under their wing and direct me I would greatly appreciate it!!
      Welcome Unique_pw to powwows.com! Well you came to get some questions answered, hopefully you'll stay a while, make some online friends who, maybe, you'll get a chance meet in the dance arena.

      Regarding your son, well, I'm no expert, but I would suggest that you continue going to good powwows and listening to good powwow music, and watching good dancers! You will learn a lot by simply watching and listening at good powwows. You mention that the folks you've seen at the powwows you've been to seem pretty close knit and unapproachable. One of the nice things about powwows is that you get the chance to be close to family and friends! You'll probably find that the more powwows that you go to, the more that people will recognize and remember you and before you know it, you will be in that close knit group.

      As far as your son goes, there isn't a big rush IMO. Based on your message, I assume that you haven't grown up in a powwow family. Given that, he, and you have a lot to learn about powwow ways, dancing, singing, protocol, etc. I think that it is fine for him to dance outside of the circle as you and he are attending dances and learning how it's done. Once again, the more that you're there, and doing things right, people will notice. Likewise, if you're rushing it and cutting corners and not doing things right, people will notice that as well.

      So after typing all that, my simple advice is to sit back, become a member of our online family here at powwows.com and keep going to those dances every chance you get!
      "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

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      • #4
        Thank you very, very much I appreciate the response I got and it was very helpful. I guess it wasn't that hard to put myself out there to get what I want. I will take your advice but I have actually tried some of the things you suggested. The only problem I have is that I watch a lot of the men dance and what not, but I don't want to come off like I like them or something. Most of the dancers I see are married with children and I don't want to come off as someone who is trying to be a homewrecker. (I actually never thought of this until I heard someone mention me in that way, so after that I backed off!!) Anyway, I would like my son to dance northern traditional.
        With that said, I would like to know how I start and what not. Do I just put together his outfit and let him dance? At a couple of powwows I've been to, it was mentioned that "a lot of people put outfits on their kids without them being initiated into the circle and think it's ok" (I think these were the exact words) So, I am a little confused about this.
        Also, your right I didn't grow up in a powwow family. My grandma is the only one who knew about powwows and she passed away before any of my siblings or I was born. My mom was an only child so I have no relatives from there and most of my dad's siblings have also passed on.
        I am 26 years old and it just became clear how important my culture is and now that I have a son I don't want to lose what little is left of our people. I want my son to know who he is, where he stands, and that he is very blessed. It is extremely important to me since I can only pass along so much because I'm young and he's my only son.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by unique_pw View Post
          At a couple of powwows I've been to, it was mentioned that "a lot of people put outfits on their kids without them being initiated into the circle and think it's ok" (I think these were the exact words) So, I am a little confused about this.

          This is called a "coming out." Preparations are usually made far in advance which is why you need to take tobacco to an elder. The elder will instruct you on what to do, sometimes a "coming out" can involve a number of kids so you may be able to step right in and get involved.

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          • #6
            Last edited by Dawn_B; 03-16-2007, 06:10 PM. Reason: not right for open form

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