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  • Need help! ;)

    To start out, this is my first post, and I am not a native american, and I really don't want to mess things up with my outfit. I'm in an organization called the Order of the Arrow, which is a section of the Boy Scouts of America, which I'm sure some of you have heard of. I'm not sure what views you folks take on us, but I have fallen in love with the idea of dancing. Nobody in the OA knows anything about Indian dancing, regalia, or traditions. I ask questions there, and I'm told google it.

    All in all, I'm extremely confused, as I've had no reliable source to help me out in my outfit design. I've been told that I need to find a style of dance I want to do (Leaning towards Traditional), and then find a tribe, and study the way they made their outfits for that dance style, and mimic that. I'm not looking to compete outside of the Boy Scouts, but I would like to dance at some local PowWows, just for fun. But I really don't want to disrespect your traditions, because I wouldn't want anyone disrepecting mine. So please if someone would, give me a basic overview of what I will need to get started on a traditional style outfit, and tell me whether or not having a certain tribe's color's/ styles is a requirement or not.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Originally posted by EricEagle View Post
    To start out, this is my first post, and I am not a native american, and I really don't want to mess things up with my outfit. I'm in an organization called the Order of the Arrow, which is a section of the Boy Scouts of America, which I'm sure some of you have heard of. I'm not sure what views you folks take on us, but I have fallen in love with the idea of dancing. Nobody in the OA knows anything about Indian dancing, regalia, or traditions. I ask questions there, and I'm told google it.

    All in all, I'm extremely confused, as I've had no reliable source to help me out in my outfit design. I've been told that I need to find a style of dance I want to do (Leaning towards Traditional), and then find a tribe, and study the way they made their outfits for that dance style, and mimic that. I'm not looking to compete outside of the Boy Scouts, but I would like to dance at some local PowWows, just for fun. But I really don't want to disrespect your traditions, because I wouldn't want anyone disrepecting mine. So please if someone would, give me a basic overview of what I will need to get started on a traditional style outfit, and tell me whether or not having a certain tribe's color's/ styles is a requirement or not.

    Thanks!
    You are going to have a hard time because the internet is the white man's domain. I'm guessing that we'd rather have you guess at your outfit so that you can stay within the safe confines of the Boy Scout world for if you went to the native world, you may make a spectacle of yourself. So, wherever you are, you must go to a local tribe and take tobacco and ask. You may have to visit fifty times before you are welcomed fully. Take groceries, see if any elders need help with their yard. Do something productive and in a few years, you may not even want anything to do with the Boy Scouts. You may even find a native wife and you can start your life anew and refreshed.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by they_drag_him View Post
      You are going to have a hard time because the internet is the white man's domain. I'm guessing that we'd rather have you guess at your outfit so that you can stay within the safe confines of the Boy Scout world for if you went to the native world, you may make a spectacle of yourself. So, wherever you are, you must go to a local tribe and take tobacco and ask. You may have to visit fifty times before you are welcomed fully. Take groceries, see if any elders need help with their yard. Do something productive and in a few years, you may not even want anything to do with the Boy Scouts. You may even find a native wife and you can start your life anew and refreshed.

      Aww, how cute. I asked for some advice. I love Boy Scouting, and I love the Order of the Arrow. I will not make a spectacle of myself, because I am doing the research, so I don't step on anyone's toes. I am very respectful of your traditions. I don't want to be a native, I'm white and I'm proud of that fact, but I do want to dance, and I've never met anyone that has a problem with that, or has discouraged me in that pursuit, until now. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

      Comment


      • #4
        TDH made some good points, and please try not to be offended by what was said.

        Traditional dancing is just that - traditional. There are histories behind those dances. They originated with certain tribes and then those tribes shared those dances with other tribes. The regalia that is worn for traditional dance is tribe-specific. For example, I'm Chickasaw, but I wouldn't just decide to dress Lakota style because I like it. To a Lakota that would be disrespectful. That being the case, you can imagine the reaction to someone who is white just deciding to dress and dance a certain style. There is a great deal more tribal specificity to the regalia in traditional than there would be in a category like fancy dancing.

        As TDH mentioned, there are proper ways of doing things. If an Indian of one tribe was to dress in another tribe's style, it would be because of a family relationship (marriage, adoption) and/or being given permission by that tribe to dress their style. It's not something to be done lightly or in a vaccuum. If you really want to do thing the right way and be accepted by the Native community when doing so, then do what TDH recommended and ask elders in a respectful way. Go to local powwows and dance intertribal, watch and learn.

        Keep in mind that if after doing all this you are still inclined to dance traditional and have been given permission to do so, assembling the proper regalia will take a lot of time and money - so be prepared.

        Comment


        • #5
          Both TDH & Noa make very good points. I will add that in my opp since you ask's in a good way, I will share that some hear Boy Scouts and its not a good thing, but only because they never had the correct teachings "meaning the scouters". If this in fact what you wish to do stay away from Tribal specific designs, not only do they not belong to you you will for sure get alot of flack. Ive help'd folks with stuff before, I figured they were going to do it anyway ,why not . I start with teliing them go generic so to say, they useually sp sorry lol doodleing out a design on paper and going from there. I will also add that Im a proud mama of two young scout's and I couldnt be prouder, and they have alot of fun. I seem to also remember a native group on here somewhere who post and are Eagle Scouts but not sure just where it is on here.
          I got a fevah! And the only cure is more cowbell!!!

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          • #6
            I guess I'm sorry then. Wow, I feel really dumb now, like I've wasted months on this researching it and saving money for nothing. I won't dance, and I won't be involved in YOUR culture. I understand it's important to you, and I guess I'd look like a fool. Thanks anyway. I do want to say, though, that I'm not a stupid, 14 year old that knows nothing about your culture or has no respect for it. I'm old enough to realize that your culture is very important to you, just as mine is to me. Anyway, I'm sorry for wanting to be a part of it, I guess.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by EricEagle View Post
              I will not make a spectacle of myself, because I am doing the research, so I don't step on anyone's toes. I am very respectful of your traditions.
              Research? Does your research involve books written by an author who is writing to make money? Or, does your research involve personal contact with somebody willing to help a proud white dude.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by they_drag_him View Post
                Research? Does your research involve books written by an author who is writing to make money? Or, does your research involve personal contact with somebody willing to help a proud white dude.
                My best friend, is black, and has been grass dancing since he could walk, northern trad videos, whispering winds, and just talking to dancers. I've been to numerous powwows in my area, information on this web site, and yes, some books.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for all the help. I was being young and stupid earlier when I said I was going to give up, I realize that not everyone is going to be happy that I want to dance, but I suppose I've put as much time into it, and I love it enough, to at least give it a shot. Thanks for the positive, and negative input, I'll put it to good use.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by EricEagle View Post
                    My best friend, is black, and has been grass dancing since he could walk, northern trad videos, whispering winds, and just talking to dancers. I've been to numerous powwows in my area, information on this web site, and yes, some books.
                    If your black friend can dance then you shouldn't have any problem but you would gain much more if you followed the advice about going to the nearest noirthern plains tribe that has a tradition with men's northern traditional or even grass. This means you may have to visit South Dakota. Or, why don't you invite a local native American that is down on his luck and let him live with you. After a year, tell him that it's time for him to go. This could be your inroad into meeting people who will gladly entertain or teach you any whim that comes into mind.

                    If you wanted to dance men's southern straight or men's fancy war dance. Expect to make a trip to Oklahoma.

                    If you wanted to be a chicken dancer. I'm pretty sure that somebody here can direct you to the right place.

                    What about an Aztec dancer? You'd meet a lot of fine girls with long legs.
                    Last edited by they_drag_him; 10-17-2007, 11:41 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by they_drag_him View Post
                      If your black friend can dance then you shouldn't have any problem but you would gain much more if you followed the advice about going to the nearest noirthern plains tribe that has a tradition with men's northern traditional or even grass. This means you may have to visit South Dakota. Or, why don't you invite a local native American that is down on his luck and let him live with you. After a year, tell him that it's time for him to go. This could be your inroad into meeting people who will gladly entertain or teach you any whim that comes into mind.

                      If you wanted to dance men's southern straight or men's fancy war dance. Expect to make a trip to Oklahoma.

                      If you wanted to be a chicken dancer. I'm pretty sure that somebody here can direct you to the right place.

                      What about an Aztec dancer? You'd meet a lot of fine girls with long legs.
                      First and foremost, the OA is not a whim for me, and dancing is not a whim for me. Also, whenever I say dance, I mean at OA events, not at Pow Wows. I only came here for maybe a link to a good informational web site, or a place to buy some videos, and outfit construction help. Thanks for your help. And as for Aztecs, I don't think so. And, does everybody who starts out dancing Northern Trad make a trip to SD or do I need to do that just because I'm white?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by EricEagle View Post
                        does everybody who starts out dancing Northern Trad make a trip to SD or do I need to do that just because I'm white?
                        Well, have you even started visiting your native elders yet? Have you done any lawn mowing or is your whim not up to doing hard work?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by EricEagle View Post
                          First and foremost, the OA is not a whim for me, and dancing is not a whim for me. Also, whenever I say dance, I mean at OA events, not at Pow Wows. I only came here for maybe a link to a good informational web site, or a place to buy some videos, and outfit construction help. Thanks for your help. And as for Aztecs, I don't think so. And, does everybody who starts out dancing Northern Trad make a trip to SD or do I need to do that just because I'm white?
                          You've got a real attitude problem. Since you're a kid, I'll stop there.

                          I think they_drag_him has given sound advice...some of it with a little humor, but if he wasn't willing to help he would have ignored your post. Re-read his posts to you and you'll find out that not all of it was sarcasm...there are some good truths to what he's said.
                          I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            We're not picking on you because your white. Maybe because you need to listen more and get a thicker skin.

                            In our traditions, you don't just leap into something. Our dance traditions involve directly and indirectly the spiritual; these things are treated with respect. You stated you did not wish to "disrespect" our ways. This is good.

                            In my people's way you are mentored into things. You don't just get a mentor because you want one; you earn one. You contribute to the circle before you enter. You sweep some floors, mow some lawns, take some food to some elders, listen a lot and talk little. In time you will get to ask your questions. Only a fool takes up something powerful without preparation.

                            This is not because you're white; it is our way. I would no more throw on a woman's trad. dress and just start dancing than I would start wearing a collection of merit badges I didn't earn. Making an outfit and watching a video does not make you a dancer. When you dance you are part of a chain that stretches back to time immemorial. You pray. You dance for those who can not. You dance to give and to recieve. You may wear modern clothes and dance modern steps, you may not even be part of our blood, but by taking up dance you are becoming part of that circle. There is an admission "price" as it were of labor, sacrifice and commitment. If you don't want to do that then you don't want to dance.

                            This is what others are trying to tell you, albeit in a less direct manner.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Eric,
                              Here's is my analogy from one White Guy to another!

                              Lets say there is a group of People that want to participate in your Religion or Culture.
                              Maybe their from a different Ethnic or Religious background that your Ancestors had went to war against.
                              Lets just say for example their Muslim.

                              A good hearted, well meaning Muslim man was so moved by a passage in the Bible that he wants to dress as a priest and
                              give Holy Communion this Sunday at your Church!

                              He asks you where he can find a priest outfit or maybe a Popes Hat.
                              Maybe he should go "old school" Traditional and dress as J.C. himself.

                              How many in your congregation would welcome him with open arms.......or would it just be security officers?!?!

                              You are in a Great place right now, a teacher and leader of young people.
                              Go to Pow Wows and learn all you can of Native culture and share it with your scouts.
                              Let them learn the ways of others so they grow into tolerent and open minded adults.

                              Have your own Pow Wow in your backyard or woods with your neighbors, friends and scouts.
                              You can teach, dance and share what you have learned and no toes are stepped on.

                              Service to others brings rewards far greater than personal wants.
                              Good Luck on your Journey!
                              Last edited by jhen341; 10-23-2007, 09:48 AM.

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