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  • A question of etiquette

    I have an odd situation which recently came up. A Native female friend (long time friend) of ours and I were looking at ribbon shirts and were picking out ones that we thought were nice. Then out of the blue she said "I'd be happy to make you one". I was a little shocked, and didn't know what to say. I politely declined, explaining that I could never wear it being a white man. I'm very careful not to give out that "wannabe" vibe or look, because I am not one. And quite frankly, I was surprised that she would offer that to a white man. Am I off base on this?...and much more importantly...did I offend her? She seemed to understand but I don't know what the proper etiquette is on this.
    "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

  • #2
    I think that the ribbon shirt and knee high Minnetonka look is keen!
    "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

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    • #3
      Originally posted by socman View Post
      I have an odd situation which recently came up. A Native female friend (long time friend) of ours and I were looking at ribbon shirts and were picking out ones that we thought were nice. Then out of the blue she said "I'd be happy to make you one". I was a little shocked, and didn't know what to say. I politely declined, explaining that I could never wear it being a white man. I'm very careful not to give out that "wannabe" vibe or look, because I am not one. And quite frankly, I was surprised that she would offer that to a white man. Am I off base on this?...and much more importantly...did I offend her? She seemed to understand but I don't know what the proper etiquette is on this.
      You mean to wear to a Powwow as a spectator or everyday wear to work?

      The ribbon shirt is an interesting phenomenon 30 years ago you saw them all over the place worn by everybody
      Nowdays I only see them occasionally and mostly to the east of here.

      It was real common for Gourd dancers to wear them and now hardly ever
      I wear dress shirt with a tie when I gourd Dance now

      Of course a ribbon shirt is worn by straight dancers and other dancers...

      The ribbon shirt by no means is a SACRED Shirt its a modern thing

      So wear away

      I think with a finger weave belt and reservation hat looks keen also

      LOL
      ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ - Anigiduwagi
      Till I Die!

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      • #4
        I don't know where I'd wear it other than a pow wow, and my standard uniform for pow wows is my PowWows.com t-shirt!
        "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

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        • #5
          To me it wouldn't be any different than a non-Native wearing a concho belt or a squash-blossom necklace.

          I made my husband (who is white) a ribbon shirt that he wore to the first powwow he attended. He didn't dance. He wore the shirt with a nice pair of jeans and his tennis shoes. It looked fine, and he got compliments on it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by socman View Post
            I don't know where I'd wear it other than a pow wow, and my standard uniform for pow wows is my PowWows.com t-shirt!
            Socman, I've dressed and danced in the past and will likely do it in the future. But even when I was dancing regularly, I never just wore a ribbon shirt around. I did wear one as a part of my dance clothes. It was like I was dressed to dance. Or I was dressed in street clothes, which to me didn't include a ribbon shirt. As Josiah said, nothing sacred about the ribbon shirt, it was simply something I always thought of as my dance clothes.

            Now that said, as Josiah also said, it is somewhat common out here in the east to see people not dancing just waking around in ribbon shirts.

            But even more interesting to me is that she seemed to be offering this to you as a gift, something that she wanted to do for you. Of course I don't know your friendship with her, but with what you wrote, my first reaction would have been to accept it as a gift verses risk offending by refusing her offer.
            "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

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            • #7
              I really appreciate the fact that you don't want to offend the "wannabe" police. Thank you. That shows much more respect for Native peoples than donning the clothes and pretending to be NDN.

              I don't see any problem with accepting your friend's offer to make you a ribbon shirt. And you might offer to pay for her time or at least the materials. Just because it was gifted doesn't mean you have to wear it to every powwow. You can still just dress in your everyday clothes. (including pw.com t-shirt) You never know when there may be some special occasion to wear it. And you would always have something unique made by someone special to you.

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              • #8
                That really is the heart of the matter. I think we are good enough friends that if I truly offended her, she would have told me, but then I wasn't sure from the NDN point of view, because I know there are certain instances where a gift refusal is not taken lightly. I just wasn't sure if this would be considered one of those times.
                "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

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                • #9
                  http://www.ilovewavs.com/ForChat/Casual/Admirer.wav
                  So I put my hands up, they're playin' my song
                  The butterflies fly away
                  I'm noddin' my head like "Yeah!"
                  Movin' my hips like "Yeah!"
                  -Miley Cyrus

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hobbs49 View Post
                    I think that the ribbon shirt and knee high Minnetonka look is keen!
                    Always the classic look I say.. but one must wear a choker around yer head like a headband !!!
                    I got a fevah! And the only cure is more cowbell!!!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kiyaanii mom View Post
                      I really appreciate the fact that you don't want to offend the "wannabe" police. Thank you. That shows much more respect for Native peoples than donning the clothes and pretending to be NDN.

                      I don't see any problem with accepting your friend's offer to make you a ribbon shirt. And you might offer to pay for her time or at least the materials. Just because it was gifted doesn't mean you have to wear it to every powwow. You can still just dress in your everyday clothes. (including pw.com t-shirt) You never know when there may be some special occasion to wear it. And you would always have something unique made by someone special to you.
                      Originally posted by socman View Post
                      That really is the heart of the matter. I think we are good enough friends that if I truly offended her, she would have told me, but then I wasn't sure from the NDN point of view, because I know there are certain instances where a gift refusal is not taken lightly. I just wasn't sure if this would be considered one of those times.
                      That was nice of your friend to offer. Maybe you can show your gratitude by offering your friend a gift when you get the shirt.

                      Kinda like a 'good trade'.

                      Just don't wear the shirt to Wal-mart. LOL


                      Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?


                      "When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

                      Mr. Rossie Freeman

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