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  • Don't know anybody

    Hey all,

    I'm also new to the Indian community :) As my family has never much been involved, I am on my own in learning our customs. I would very much like to get involved. We are of the Sault St Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Michigan. I have learned a whole lot out of books and have been to spiritual gatherings as well as many pow wows and offered tobacco on occasion. So I have gathered much information but I still have the problem that I don't know anybody except for a Native Lit teacher (of whom took me under her wing as shes anishinabae as well and very involved in her tribes community). I have met people in passing at pow wows that are really nice but its still hard. I would like to get more involved and even possibly get my little one dancing. So I'd like to learn about dancing and making regalia... I just don't know where to start...

    Let me know ig you have any suggestions.

  • #2
    Hi Alofton! Welcome to! I'm sure that there is someone here that can help out and maybe point you in the right direction!
    "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."


    • #3

      Welcome to the community. I originally thought you were a man, then realized you weren't.

      I'm not to up on the protocols for women when it comes to the area (I'm also in michigan) I do know there are quite a few you should speak with, perhaps you should get ahold of me, and I'll try to help point you in the correct direction :)
      AIM: GlacierESteffan
      Yahoo: low_rdr
      ICQ: 45338941
      MSN: [email protected]


      • #4
        My first suggestion is throw out the books.

        I know it's hard getting to know people, but keep talking to people, ask what other powwows they will be going to & try to make a few, & build a friendship. Try to meet others where you live. Maybe the teacher you know, knows other people, or local socials or something.

        To get your daughter dancing, take your time, about a year to talk to other dancers & learn what your daughter will need to learn about the dance, and what you'll need to know about the regalia. You can always tell when someone guessed about how to make regalia. Also this is new to your daughter too, she may also be nervous doing something new so also take this time to learn about dancing for yourself, your daughter will be more comfortable if this is something you do together. You'll also make friends doing this & it will get easier.



        • #5
          Suzze great advice IMHO! There is no need to rush. Everything happens in it's own time and when things are meant to be, they will happen. In the meantime as you say, Alofton needs to step out and try to make some friends! And Stefan may be able to point her to some people to get to know!
          "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."


          • #6
            Thanks for your reply to my post. It would cool to get in touch :) by email? If so, mine is [email protected] or [email protected]... Funny how I just randomly go to pow wows... I'll be at the one in Belleville this weekend :)

            Take Care,


            • #7
              You all give great advice and were a help eventhough not talking to me. I am also a newcommer to powwows. when i was little i used to fancy shawl dance, but my tribe in in Idaho(Nez Perce!!) and i live in san diego california and don't get to visit very often. I feel that beacuse I am so far away was not able to fully embrace my culture. I have now made it priority and need some help. if there is any advice i would really apperciat it and also if there id anyone in southern cali. to be a friend and guid I would apperciate it.


              • #8
                kirbear you just missed what is generally a good dance just a little bit north of you. Can't remember the name but it's either the OC Indian Center or So Cal Indian Center that puts it on. I was out there the week before that dance at another dance and everyone was talking about the Indian Center dance. But I guess my suggestion might be to contact that group and see if there is anything similar in San Diego area. That might be a good place to start.
                "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."


                • #9
                  welcome alofton1

                  Here is another michigander to ya

                  I remember when I first started to get to know people at powwows
                  it all started with some warm smiles, then little tidbits of chit chat,
                  then questions to me on who my family was now its long conversations I never want to end with some people.
                  when you go never pass up an opportunity
                  talk to vendors let your personal manners show through.
                  If you see trash laying by you pick it up, buy some food, pay attention to how you show respect to elders, and dancers even in the stands
                  if its a hot hot day pack lots of ice cold waters or an extra camp chair in your cooler
                  or buy some and offer it to dancers or throughout the day look where you are sitting if your view is better than someone near you offer them your spot if it looks like they might see better where you are
                  you would be surprized at how many conversations strike up and many join in as they pass by too.
                  It all takes time but its worth it

                  Many can tell when your genuine heart shows through your actions

                  I was out of town most of the summer so I missed all the powwows in MI this year but me and the kids are going to make the 5 hour drive up to ST Ignace for the day so we can see some peeps there


                  • #10
                    I, too, know people who are connected to ALofton's area.

                    I would say that if you know that your people are from there, then make sure that you know their names and can speak them to some. You would be surprised at how many people will know your family. That doesn't mean to speak them to everyone that you would meet, some are not as interested in you as you may be in them. But know them because one day someone will walk up to you and sit down next to you and start a conversation and ask you who your ancestors were and what their names were. This has happened to me and once they found out that I knew exactly who and what, the faces of the people who were asking changed from stern to big soft smiles. And they are now my friends. But before, they were polite, but wouldn't sit and talk to me. Now, they tell me to sit down with them and we will talk for (sometimes) more then an hour and sometimes just for minutes, but it's always good.

                    I would suggest that before you get your daughter dancing (I don't know how old that she is) you find out the traditions of your people. Find out what they were and how they wear it and things along those lines. It took me more then two years to start dancing and get my sons things together. I had my dress almost a year before I started to dance and then check with the people who you come through as to what the protocal is for certain things. I had to learn some things the hard way, and you know what---that's not too bad either.

                    But I do agree with the one who said "Throw away the books." Depending on who and where, it could cause you some trouble or hard times that you don't need to deal with.

                    I have a very good friend of mine who is from the Bad River area. I do know a few things, but certainly not enough to help you out since I am not of your people.


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