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  • A Question For Non-Native People...

    A Question For Non-Native People...
    ...who dance in Regalia or want to.

    There are many threads here at powwows.com about non-Native people who are wanting to dance or have regalia, or who do this already. There are 2 currant threads on this issue.

    The common theme is that you (the non-Native person) feels that we ( the Native people) should help & support you in this because of the great respect you have for us.

    If I were to paraphrase these thread it would read like this:
    You: "please let me dance / help with my regalia"
    Us: "no"
    You "please, please, please"
    Us: "no, it's our culture, not yours"
    You "but I need to learn...I respect you" (either angry or whinning)
    Us: "No, no white people, no,no, no"
    You: "your being rude...please, please,please" etc.

    Here's the question. We keep saying no, you keep not listening, how is this respect?

    If I had done this to my Mother I would have been in trouble for being disrespectful. If I had then gone and asked my Dad, I'd have been in bigger trouble. If I had then said "Fine, but I'm doing it anyway" the sh!t would have hit the fan!

  • #2
    I am a non-native and I dance in regalia. I never asked to be dresssed, for help with my regalia, or whined about it. This is something that was GIVEN to me, first by Orval Kirk and his sister Dorien, many years ago. I didn't ask, they dressed me and took me into their family. My husband of 14 years dressed me 4 years ago, again I didn' ask - in fact I requested that he didn't - but it was given anyway. In his tribes arena, at their annual encampment. Again, I didn't ask, it was GIVEN. About two years ago another young woman, an Osage, spoke with her grandmother about her feelings for and my "NATIVE daughter". I was again dressed at their family camp at Greyhorse. Again, I didn't ask, it was GIVEN.

    Know that I take each of these honors very seriously, in fact we just buried my adopted dad, Orval Kirk yesterday. And I feel the loss as badly as my sisters and niece. So, do not think that we are all the same.

    So you will know, I have been married into the native community in Oklahoma in excess of 30 years, I have made it my business to teach my children (who are by the way Otoe-Missouria) because their biological father wouldn't. We attend dances, society functions and help in any way possible. I have been accepted by many, taught many of their ways and have NEVER made any claim in being Indian. I am the first to admit that I am white and wouldn't have it any other way.

    I am very blessed that two families (from different tribes) and my husband (from yet another tribe) have chosen to honor me in this fashion. Am I comfortable in indian clothes, not really, do I dance, occassionally and compete, NO - but I wear them with great pride becasue these wonderful people thought enough of me and my family to do this for me.

    So please.....do not lump all of us whites in the same group as the wannabe or hobbs. For some, we were chosen for this honor. I am sorry that you have issues with whites, but again, not all of us hound you or anyone else to do this and there are some of us that really respect your people and ways. I know there are people like as you describe, but not all of us are that way. I know it is not my culture or way but I can and do enjoy the things that have taken place in my life and no one takes it more serious than I do.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is such a complex issue, I'm not even sure where to start... I guess that I'll first argue that you can't treat all Non-Native people who seek information here at PW.com as the same. We are all different in what we think we know, what we don't know, who we know, motivations, experiences, etc. I think that some of us come to PW.com and try to show a great deal of respect in the what we do and how we do it. Some of us come with good intentions but either haven't been around enough or haven't thought things through enough and we end up looking and acting like idiots (as in your example). Still others of us come around for the "quick fix," we think that PW.com is a "Indian Lore and Craft Site." The quick fixers will often disappear if they are questioned about why they want information. There are likely many other buckets that we could be divided into, but these three are the ones I commonly use. So while I think I understand what your argument is, I first contend that it shouldn't and can't be applied universally to all non-natives (on PW.com or otherwise).

      Secondly, I think that you will find a very similar stream of conversation if you were to look at threads started by some who "claim NDN ancestory." These often start with, "My mom's father died and we inherited the family Bible and we found that my great-great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess and my great-great-great-grandfather was a Sioux chief. So I'd really like to start to dance at powwows now. Can someone help with..." Granted they normally aren't that extreme, but these often end up in an angry back and forth about geneological fine points with someone finally suggesting that the person talk to an "elder." But on the other hand, there are many fine NDN folk here who are good to converse with, to joke with, to play games or exchange receipies with.

      I guess my bottom line is that we both, native and non-native, have our goofballs and our good folk. Life's too short to focus on and worry about the goofballs. And well, good company is great to have no matter what their race and culture.

      That's my opinion.
      "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

      Comment


      • #4
        Hobbs pretty much nailed it, especially with that last paragraph. I am white and I attend lots of pow wows, simply because it is something I really enjoy and I always come away feeling "spiritually refreshed". However I guess I don't really fall into the category you speak of because...I have never...nor will I ever...dress or dance. There is a certain segment of NDN people that I know resent even the fact that I am there at all. Spectator or not. I follow simple rules when I go. Sit down and shut up...lol. Really I only speak when spoken to. Nobody is there to see me, so I just try to go about my business (vendors & food & such) with as little attention as possible. I see plenty of white idiots and they bother me as much as they do you....believe me.
        "As through this world I've wandered, I've met lots of funny men. Some will rob you with a six-gun, and some with a fountain pen." -Woody Guthrie

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by socman View Post
          Hobbs pretty much nailed it, especially with that last paragraph. I am white and I attend lots of pow wows, simply because it is something I really enjoy and I always come away feeling "spiritually refreshed". However I guess I don't really fall into the category you speak of because...I have never...nor will I ever...dress or dance. There is a certain segment of NDN people that I know resent even the fact that I am there at all. Spectator or not. I follow simple rules when I go. Sit down and shut up...lol. Really I only speak when spoken to. Nobody is there to see me, so I just try to go about my business (vendors & food & such) with as little attention as possible. I see plenty of white idiots and they bother me as much as they do you....believe me.
          I believe you, it must be a little embarrassing, when your acting (in a way i would consider) all respectful

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by hobbs49 View Post
            This is such a complex issue, I'm not even sure where to start... I guess that I'll first argue that you can't treat all Non-Native people who seek information here at PW.com as the same. We are all different in what we think we know, what we don't know, who we know, motivations, experiences, etc. I think that some of us come to PW.com and try to show a great deal of respect in the what we do and how we do it. Some of us come with good intentions but either haven't been around enough or haven't thought things through enough and we end up looking and acting like idiots (as in your example). Still others of us come around for the "quick fix," we think that PW.com is a "Indian Lore and Craft Site." The quick fixers will often disappear if they are questioned about why they want information. There are likely many other buckets that we could be divided into, but these three are the ones I commonly use. So while I think I understand what your argument is, I first contend that it shouldn't and can't be applied universally to all non-natives (on PW.com or otherwise).

            Secondly, I think that you will find a very similar stream of conversation if you were to look at threads started by some who "claim NDN ancestory." These often start with, "My mom's father died and we inherited the family Bible and we found that my great-great-grandmother was a Cherokee princess and my great-great-great-grandfather was a Sioux chief. So I'd really like to start to dance at powwows now. Can someone help with..." Granted they normally aren't that extreme, but these often end up in an angry back and forth about geneological fine points with someone finally suggesting that the person talk to an "elder." But on the other hand, there are many fine NDN folk here who are good to converse with, to joke with, to play games or exchange receipies with.

            I guess my bottom line is that we both, native and non-native, have our goofballs and our good folk. Life's too short to focus on and worry about the goofballs. And well, good company is great to have no matter what their race and culture.

            That's my opinion.
            agree that not all fit this scenerio, but for the ones that do (and we have all seen them) I am just wondering how they justify such a conversation?

            Comment


            • #7
              People are all individuals. Some nons will never understand that they are being disrespectful to Indians because they never understand when they are being disrespectful to ANYBODY. It just isn't in them to see beyond themselves, maybe because of the way they were brought up, maybe because of the nature of their intelligence (or lack of it). The best you can hope for is that they will eventually go away, even if they never understand what's been going on. But we're not all that way. For some of us, respect does go very deep, and we take our cues from you, as individuals (because Indians don't all see the issue the same way either). How do you want to be treated? What questions are improper? Do YOU want to know anything about ME? It's all human interaction.

              Comment


              • #8
                i have something to say here ,that maybe of some interest to you all,its clear to everyone by now that im mixed but have some understanding about what it is to have respect for ppl,

                i have lived my life trying to learn how to show this respect....even last night we were was talking about this, he Jessie, went in to a dialog about the word [quew a doe..Mexican word my English spelling] ,its simple understanding is 'be care full' but its grater meaning is have more respect,how so i ask ? he told me as your walking some where and maybe your not paying attishon,[lol ie; maybe drunk lol] to the pp around you,its time to have more respect in your person to treat everyone with it, no one knows the trouble that could come with out it.not to say one don't get out and say something to someone but with care.so speaking 'be careful' to the ones you love it a grate word spoken.btw it something rezzin says to us all.

                i say
                anyway it a messed up world we live in a true grate ness when we can meet up with ppl of any color or race that have lock on to the wisdom of walking in this way.anyway what a bummer it is when we run in to a ppl who dont even know.
                this is just my lesson shared.
                Last edited by 2lineCarrandMorgan; 05-18-2012, 12:05 PM. Reason: spell check a few years later 2012
                Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass..It's about learning to dance in the rain. for me and the wolf

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SuzzeQ4 View Post
                  agree that not all fit this scenerio, but for the ones that do (and we have all seen them) I am just wondering how they justify such a conversation?
                  Like you said, some just don't get it....probably fromt he way they were raised. I would tell them my defination of respectful behavior, and then just walk away.

                  We've seen alot of yahoos in our travels, some are even "real indians" but we try not to judge. Unless they are really pushing the envelope on disrespect of the ways or dance. then, sometimes my husband will speak to them and explain the error of their ways.....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SuzzeQ4 View Post
                    A Question For Non-Native People...
                    ...who dance in Regalia or want to.

                    There are many threads here at powwows.com about non-Native people who are wanting to dance or have regalia, or who do this already. There are 2 currant threads on this issue.

                    The common theme is that you (the non-Native person) feels that we ( the Native people) should help & support you in this because of the great respect you have for us.

                    If I were to paraphrase these thread it would read like this:
                    You: "please let me dance / help with my regalia"
                    Us: "no"
                    You "please, please, please"
                    Us: "no, it's our culture, not yours"
                    You "but I need to learn...I respect you" (either angry or whinning)
                    Us: "No, no white people, no,no, no"
                    You: "your being rude...please, please,please" etc.

                    Here's the question. We keep saying no, you keep not listening, how is this respect?

                    If I had done this to my Mother I would have been in trouble for being disrespectful. If I had then gone and asked my Dad, I'd have been in bigger trouble. If I had then said "Fine, but I'm doing it anyway" the sh!t would have hit the fan!
                    Hi,respect,Its hard some time to get used to this thing called internet,I dont claim any affiliations,however I am kin to the Creek Nation,cherokee,and Choktaw Nations,as well as Mexican,Yaqui,African,Scott,Dutch,Texican Mutt,I'm not real familiar with how powwows are organized or the protocal involved in choosing dancers or drummers,i would think that if you were dancing at a Cherokee powwow with dances of that people wouldnt you have to be approved by a representative of that Nation as far as being able to do it,can anybody who shows up with a ceremonial get up participate,or is it that they're trying to set up some kind of workshop and make money off of said culture and heritage,I've met a few not obviously natives that have gone to a few powwows and formed a relationship with tribal members or elders and have recieved instruction in certain ceremonies or dances,drumming or rattle,usualy this permission was aquired because not enough Performers showing up for one reason and another and the people were judged to be there in a good way and their semi adopted,I think that if you say you respect a tribe enough to learn their ceremonies you should make time to get to know them and vice versa,and seek out an elder AND if they agree well there you are,or perhaps its just the ghost dance comming to fruition,then again you don't have to answer them if you don't want to,and if you dont think they come in a good way you dont have to feel guilty about it,I'm a Flute Maker and I've run in to some of this on a few flute forums,Native American Style Flutes,a group of craftsmen from literaly all over the world,a lot are Native Craftsmen and a lot are from over seas,we share info freely,In my opinion its because no matter how much you tell someone they still have to do the work and the ones who dont love and respect it dont last and their quality does not support their trade,but,it does promote a certain amount of interest in the product,you guys just have to be selective about what you as a tribal people would consider a safe reproduction trhat does not compare to sacred ceremonials,tribal council grounds I'm thinking,you want to change the world and the world wants to change but you dont want to trivialize a sacred ceremony,Please dont be offended,I dont mean to be offensive,just my thaughts for what little its worth.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."

                      If you are emulating appropriate and respectful behavior, I suppose that's true. Otherwise, I'll take it on a case-by-case basis.

                      I've heard that same sort of sentiment from Redskins fans who believe that running around in headdresses is their way of showing respect to Indians. I beg to differ.

                      There are some people come up with some crazy get-up that is supposed to be regalia and enter the circle with some dance moves that have no origin with any tribal dance style that I've seen. I might say something to the AD and leave him to deal with those kinds of folks. If a women is being really offensive, I will not deal with her unless she approaches me. I would never share with that person what I did to prepare to enter the circle, but I will let that person know that the way I was raised had more to do with entering the circle than blood quantum. I always suggest that the person learn from her family instead of depending on strangers for her education.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by luvstraightdancrs View Post
                        I am a non-native and I dance in regalia. I never asked to be dresssed, for help with my regalia, or whined about it. This is something that was GIVEN to me, first by Orval Kirk and his sister Dorien, many years ago. I didn't ask, they dressed me and took me into their family. My husband of 14 years dressed me 4 years ago, again I didn' ask - in fact I requested that he didn't - but it was given anyway. In his tribes arena, at their annual encampment. Again, I didn't ask, it was GIVEN. About two years ago another young woman, an Osage, spoke with her grandmother about her feelings for and my "NATIVE daughter". I was again dressed at their family camp at Greyhorse. Again, I didn't ask, it was GIVEN.

                        Know that I take each of these honors very seriously, in fact we just buried my adopted dad, Orval Kirk yesterday. And I feel the loss as badly as my sisters and niece. So, do not think that we are all the same.

                        So you will know, I have been married into the native community in Oklahoma in excess of 30 years, I have made it my business to teach my children (who are by the way Otoe-Missouria) because their biological father wouldn't. We attend dances, society functions and help in any way possible. I have been accepted by many, taught many of their ways and have NEVER made any claim in being Indian. I am the first to admit that I am white and wouldn't have it any other way.

                        I am very blessed that two families (from different tribes) and my husband (from yet another tribe) have chosen to honor me in this fashion. Am I comfortable in indian clothes, not really, do I dance, occassionally and compete, NO - but I wear them with great pride becasue these wonderful people thought enough of me and my family to do this for me.

                        So please.....do not lump all of us whites in the same group as the wannabe or hobbs. For some, we were chosen for this honor. I am sorry that you have issues with whites, but again, not all of us hound you or anyone else to do this and there are some of us that really respect your people and ways. I know there are people like as you describe, but not all of us are that way. I know it is not my culture or way but I can and do enjoy the things that have taken place in my life and no one takes it more serious than I do.

                        I think Momma P said it better than I could have. Not all of us are that way. And to be honest there have been some things I have seen white people do at powwows that make me cringe. So I have my perspective AND I can see it the other way as well. The people that know me like me because I don't try to come in demand your acceptance or for anyone to include me. I also don't ask for respect to give it back, as well. (if that makes sense) I give it/have it and if I can earn respect for that then so be it.


                        p.s But also....just to add. For some reason, I get a lot of questions regarding this or that from white people who I can tell are just curious, nosey or new to it, whatever the case may be. I personally do not answer most questions if it's anything more than "where's the O?" or Schedule questions, stuff like that. I do know that I am not the one that should be answering history of the style of dance or why this person wears this or that. I send them onto an elder or someone I am really close to depending on what they are asking. I understand that people have/want to learn but honestly I would get sick of explaining the same things over and over. lol I know I had to learn and I asked some questions but I just dont remember bein so dam annoying as some of them. LMAO

                        p.s.s....I also know what its like to be excluded, too. Some cranky chick kicked me outta her scabby party once for being white. She even said, "at least say you are Cherokee or something!!" I told her to "*&%&)@)*$*[email protected]@" and me and ALL my ndn friends left. That sucked but out of all these years was the only time anyone was ever like that to me. lol
                        Last edited by ok24stacey; 10-16-2008, 01:27 PM.
                        "To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible." ~St. Augustine

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As a Native...who lives as a native despite being of mixed ancestry (i.e. blood)...one of the most important aspects for us is the uninterruption of a way of life that was nearly destroyed years ago. For so long, this way of "life" was supressed because it did not fit the mold of Anglo (European) belief and thought. For the most part, our people have always taken the "higher road".

                          I recently asked my students in my class to describe to me their impression of my lifestyle. Most of them hit the nail on the head and one came out and said,

                          "You are the type of person who lives in a 'regular' home, who has a job and all the things of this modern society. But you also keep those old ways alive by taking part in your culture (whether by singing or dancing) on weekends."

                          I touched up the statement to comment on how I like using my free time to make/build things. These things/ways are very 'old school'...but I do my best to keep it alive. The kids in the classroom are often very interested in what I know and have to share. My latest thing has been a small informal group of kids who have been working on learning terms and phrases in our language.


                          LSS
                          To get a true picture of your purpose in life, you only get the whole picture when you listen with your mind, your ears and your heart. This way The Creator has a direct connection with you and only you...no outside interference.

                          When you follow the will of IT that created you, understanding that your purpose is not for you...but for IT and all that IT has created, there can be no wrong except failure to be obedient. Only then do we jeopardize the gifts we are given.

                          Its not the final destination that defines us, rather the journey taken!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by socman View Post
                            Hobbs pretty much nailed it, especially with that last paragraph. I am white and I attend lots of pow wows, simply because it is something I really enjoy and I always come away feeling "spiritually refreshed". However I guess I don't really fall into the category you speak of because...I have never...nor will I ever...dress or dance. There is a certain segment of NDN people that I know resent even the fact that I am there at all. Spectator or not. I follow simple rules when I go. Sit down and shut up...lol. Really I only speak when spoken to. Nobody is there to see me, so I just try to go about my business (vendors & food & such) with as little attention as possible. I see plenty of white idiots and they bother me as much as they do you....believe me.
                            I'm 100% with socman on this one. Although I can't say I'm spiritually refreshed. When it comes to powwows I just leave feeling comforted a little - the why of that is not entirely clear even to myself, I can only guess it has something to do with people in my life growing up. Long-ish story.

                            Either way - I would be horrified and terrified to dance anywhere for any reason! I can barely *walk* without messing it up! Haha.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Education

                              Originally posted by LSS View Post
                              As a Native...who lives as a native despite being of mixed ancestry (i.e. blood)...one of the most important aspects for us is the uninterruption of a way of life that was nearly destroyed years ago. For so long, this way of "life" was supressed because it did not fit the mold of Anglo (European) belief and thought. For the most part, our people have always taken the "higher road".

                              I recently asked my students in my class to describe to me their impression of my lifestyle. Most of them hit the nail on the head and one came out and said,

                              "You are the type of person who lives in a 'regular' home, who has a job and all the things of this modern society. But you also keep those old ways alive by taking part in your culture (whether by singing or dancing) on weekends."

                              I touched up the statement to comment on how I like using my free time to make/build things. These things/ways are very 'old school'...but I do my best to keep it alive. The kids in the classroom are often very interested in what I know and have to share. My latest thing has been a small informal group of kids who have been working on learning terms and phrases in our language.


                              LSS
                              Education and respect. As a white veteran, I go to powwows for the crafts and fry bread that help Native American venders. Go to clean and sober powows to show my personnal recovery and hope for others. I also do recovery sweats and Spirit festivals. I enjoy doing community chores and living the Warriors Code in defending elders, children and life givers. I feel respect not found else where, when all Veterans are asked to march in Grand Entries. When I march with other veterans, I cry for our sacrifices, both Native American and whites. In 2004, My mother died and at the Celilo Village 'Winter Prayer Feast', I found out that Chief Howard Jim had passed that fall also. A kind tribal elder woman there, gave me words of encouragement that helped me deal with my personnal grief. These days I flintknapp obsidian knives that are marked as replicas and make other gemstone jewelry. When I am at a powwow, Native Americans give me positive feedback on my Pendelton Coat. I just want to also state that not all whites have the same ignorant attitude. I have walked the Red Road, and at 56 I can tell you it is a good road for all of mankind. Please try to be patient with people who want to learn, to be a teacher is an honor. "All life is sacred; treat all life with respect"
                              Thank you Jesus for turning the water into wine. Now can you turn it back into water, to save the people from alcoholism.

                              Comment

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