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  • ???Question for all Spectators???

    I'm working on a paper about fan culture and my topic is powwows... So anyway, I have a real easy question.

    What do you get out of powwows (music, dancing, etc.)?
    I mean, as a fan of something like powwows, why do you go? And how do you participate, even as a spectator?
    *~*Age*~*

  • #2
    ??? Question for Spectators ???

    Hey guys.
    I am writing a paper that deals with issues of identity, tradition, and commercialization in powwows.



    Why do you go to powwows? Like, what do you get out of them? Do you find a sense of identity?
    *~*Age*~*

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome to PW.com Khioye! I've seen a couple of your posts now and I hope you stick around for a while! I think that there are as many answers to this as there are people who go to powwows. When I first started going to powwows as a kid, I was all about watching the dancers, as I grew older into my mid/late teens I still enjoyed the dancing but I became more interested in the music. I guess that I came to realize that the music was what really made everything go at a powwow. Today I'm just as likely to be singing or dancing as spectating. But when I do go to watch, I generally go to listen and then see how the dancers respond with their dancing. Unfortunately (IMHO) the contest powwows really dimenish the idea of dancing hard all day. So there is often a disconnect between the songs and the dancing (again IMHO) unless it's during a contest. That's why I prefer non-contest dances. I notice at these that folks will often dance harder if that's what the song is telling them to do. Even when I am just spectating, I will often still participate by dancing in specials for someone/something I know or know of and will also go out to dance during a blanket dance or something like that.
      "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

      Comment


      • #4
        I go because I enjoy the entire atmosphere, and I am white by the way. I enjoy the regalia, the dancing, the music. I also like to shop and visit with the vendors. Every time I leave a pow wow I always feel a sense of being "uplifted" in some way. Don't ask me to explain it. I don't understand why I feel that way, but somehow, it does something for my soul. As far as participation goes, I never ever dance. I wouldn't feel right about it. It is not my place. I do enter the arena floor to donate to all the blanket dances. I figure it's the least I can do, but I don't linger. I go straight out, drop my cash and go right back out. I understand the feelings that a few natives have about me being there at all, so I try my best to stay very "low key".
        "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
          I go because I enjoy the entire atmosphere, and I am white by the way. I enjoy the regalia, the dancing, the music. I also like to shop and visit with the vendors. Every time I leave a pow wow I always feel a sense of being "uplifted" in some way. Don't ask me to explain it. I don't understand why I feel that way, but somehow, it does something for my soul. As far as participation goes, I never ever dance. I wouldn't feel right about it. It is not my place. I do enter the arena floor to donate to all the blanket dances. I figure it's the least I can do, but I don't linger. I go straight out, drop my cash and go right back out. I understand the feelings that a few natives have about me being there at all, so I try my best to stay very "low key".
          Thank you for your reply. I have a few more questions though. I would assume that you own powwow CDs, right? Do you own any other powwow merchandise? T-shirts? Would you consider yourself a fan in the traditional sense of the word?
          *~*Age*~*

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Khioye_Mayi View Post
            Thank you for your reply. I have a few more questions though. I would assume that you own powwow CDs, right? Do you own any other powwow merchandise? T-shirts? Would you consider yourself a fan in the traditional sense of the word?
            I wouldn't say I have any "pow wow cd's" specifically. I have cd's of native music that encompass many different styles that include pow wow songs on them. As far as the vendors go, I mainly am looking for art, and my wife is way into jewelry (poor me). T-shirts? I only have 1 pow wow T-shirt and it is a t-shirt for this very website (powwows.com). I just wear it in case someone from the forums here want to say hello. I have a ribbon shirt that was a gift to me, and I love it, but I have yet to wear it because well...where would I?
            "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


            • #7
              ???

              Adrienne, I have a question. Knowing you come from the S.W. part of Oklahoma, what kind of powwow are you referring to? A small traditional dance like those near Binger T, a powwow with a mixture of social and contests dances like Tia-Piah Park, a large contest powwow much like GON, or maybe even the ceremonial gatherings like those at Gawkey Creek every august?
              Life's Too Short........Pow-Wow Hard!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Khioye, what is your definition of a fan or of fan culture. I'm asking because it may help to set some context for the question. I've never really thought of powwows in terms of fan culture or fandom. But if owning powwow music CD's is a signal, well that may make me a fan.

                I am a NASCAR fan. I generally cheer for certain drivers. I boo other drivers. I check the standings. I check the news for significant happenings during the week. I watch the races on TV and have been to one or two live. But while I'm a fan of NASCAR, it doesn't consume me the way powwows or powwow culture does. In fact, I'm finding that I reached the peak of my NASCAR jones about 10 years ago or so. However, my desire to understand the powwow is more consuming and I find myself almost always trying to remember a song, or singing a song, or making plans for where I'm going next. So my question is what is a fan? It seems to not fit how I feel, but maybe I fit what you mean when you use that word.
                "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by sate_bo_hone View Post
                  Adrienne, I have a question. Knowing you come from the S.W. part of Oklahoma, what kind of powwow are you referring to? A small traditional dance like those near Binger T, a powwow with a mixture of social and contests dances like Tia-Piah Park, a large contest powwow much like GON, or maybe even the ceremonial gatherings like those at Gawkey Creek every august?
                  Hey! You're not supposed to use my name... haha jk. Who is this by the way... uh, i think i know... Anyway, to answer your question, I am referring to contest powwows like GON, or Denver March, not da small traditional ones from where we from, where they do it right! haha jk... But the reason i am focusing on larger contest powwows is because i am a media studies student and i am trying to imply that powwows have evolved into a mass medium, at least the music has... I am not trying to take away from the sacredness of some of the powwows, or the spirituality... I am just trying to imply that powwows have fans... including me. ya know?
                  *~*Age*~*

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hobbs49 View Post
                    Hi Khioye, what is your definition of a fan or of fan culture. I'm asking because it may help to set some context for the question. I've never really thought of powwows in terms of fan culture or fandom. But if owning powwow music CD's is a signal, well that may make me a fan.

                    I am a NASCAR fan. I generally cheer for certain drivers. I boo other drivers. I check the standings. I check the news for significant happenings during the week. I watch the races on TV and have been to one or two live. But while I'm a fan of NASCAR, it doesn't consume me the way powwows or powwow culture does. In fact, I'm finding that I reached the peak of my NASCAR jones about 10 years ago or so. However, my desire to understand the powwow is more consuming and I find myself almost always trying to remember a song, or singing a song, or making plans for where I'm going next. So my question is what is a fan? It seems to not fit how I feel, but maybe I fit what you mean when you use that word.

                    Good question.

                    A Fan, to me, is anyone who admires, enjoys, and interacts with any form of mass medium.

                    The debate then is, are powwows a form of mass media?

                    Well, what is mass media?

                    Dictionary.com says mass media are "public communications that reach a very large audience".

                    Dancing and singing are forms of communication. therefore...
                    *~*Age*~*

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm a non-native photographer. I started going to pow wows for the obvious reasons that a photographer would; because of the beautiful regalia and fantastic dancing. If you are looking for art, you'd be hard pressed to find anything that can compare to the combination of singing and dancing at a pow wow. I also have an interest in history and photograph historical sites around the southwest such as ancient pueblos, ghost towns and old missions. When I'm at a pow wow I'm watching living history; an uninterrupted link to the past. I realize that the dances have evolved in style over the years and some of the dances are relatively new, but I still consider it a window to the past. It makes me happy to see the enthusiasm of the young dancers and realize that the traditions will be continued into the future. It's not my culture and I know I only get a fraction of what a native would get out of it, but it's more than worthwhile to me. The singing, for instance, obviously means much more to those who can understand the words. But music is transcendental and is a remarkable form of communication that spans cultural gaps, so I still come away feeling as though I've learned something.

                      Something else that impressed and hooked me at the first pow wow I ever went to was an address given during the opening ceremony. The gentleman speaking said that at pow wows there are no colors or races; all are one and all are welcome. To paraphrase, leave your politics, prejudices and preconceptions at the door and enjoy the fellowship. It was beautiful.

                      One last note: as a white photographer I'm hyper sensitive to being viewed as yet another cultural thief. I've never tried marketing my pow wow photos for profit without the expressed written consent of the particular dancer. I also speak with the MC before the pow wow to find out if there are certain parts of the event that are off limits to photography. Lastly, I stay out of the arena and out of everyone's way. I have seen photographers (or just regular people with point-and-shoot cameras) step into the circle after it's been blessed and even during dances to get a shot of a dancer. Every time I see this I consider it a mark on me, so I implore all photographers (and spectators in general) to be respectful and stay out of the way.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Khioye_Mayi View Post
                        Anyway, to answer your question, I am referring to contest powwows like GON, or Denver March, not da small traditional ones from where we from, where they do it right! haha jk...
                        If that's your scope, then I'm definitely not a fan. I much prefer the dances where people are there to dance for the sake of dancing not to see who is the best. The big contest dances may help to drive some of the new songs and such, but they tend to work their way down to the more traditional dances soon enough if they're really any good.
                        "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Khioye_Mayi View Post
                          Hey! You're not supposed to use my name... haha jk. Who is this by the way... uh, i think i know... Anyway, to answer your question, I am referring to contest powwows like GON, or Denver March, not da small traditional ones from where we from, where they do it right! haha jk... But the reason i am focusing on larger contest powwows is because i am a media studies student and i am trying to imply that powwows have evolved into a mass medium, at least the music has... I am not trying to take away from the sacredness of some of the powwows, or the spirituality... I am just trying to imply that powwows have fans... including me. ya know?
                          P'hay Gaw...mah bad....but yeah its me Tee Jay. but yeah, well the large contest powwows are always fun to go to. I travel here and there, not too much, but I get to some of the big contest powwows. Its always fun to go to these powwows and see old friends and meet new ones. That is one of the main reasons I go to these large gatherings. Also recording good music is always a plus. Alot of times people catagorize contest powwows and social powwows together. Thats like comparing apples and oranges. I like to go to these small local dances where everyone dances and sings and theres not rushing around worrying about getting "points" lol Just dancing and singing for fun is good. But I also llike to go to big contest powwows and see the new outfits and moves, record new songs...I always have a good time. I guess you can say im just a fan of powwows. The reason being is i was raised around the arena and just enjoy being there. The music makes you want to dance...the dancers catch your eyes with all their new moves and keen riggs! And on that note....I think that its cool that people exaggerate their moves and styles at contest powwows. Its a way for them to catch the judges attention. After all, thats what they are there to do right? Pull out the goot moves and riggs... Thats what todays contest powwows have evolved into. Cant hate on anyone who is out there feels the music and just cuts up!! Man its always awesome to see those type of people jam! They may not be dancing or dressing the "traditional" way but come on now its a contest powwow, right? I think i got off the subject...but yeah I always enjoy any type of powwow.....
                          Life's Too Short........Pow-Wow Hard!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Khioye_Mayi View Post
                            I'm working on a paper about fan culture and my topic is powwows... So anyway, I have a real easy question.

                            What do you get out of powwows (music, dancing, etc.)?
                            I mean, as a fan of something like powwows, why do you go? And how do you participate, even as a spectator?
                            I go to pow wows because I believe that it helps to perserve the culture of the Native Americans. I think that some pow wows, tribal organizations, and clubs, offer scholarships to Native students. I enjoy the pageantry of some of the big pow wows, like RE, and GON. I admire the skill, grace, beauty, and all around talent, of so many of the dancers. Being a full blooded Indian, and having grown up on the reservation, attended Indian boarding school, I know that some of these Indians came from very harsh backgrounds, not all, but some. Experiencing discrimination, terribly poverty, and all around lack of opportunities. To see them dancing, having a good time, in their fancy regalia, driving around in their fancy cars, and basically, living the good life, does my heart good, knowing how harsh things used to be, just a generation ago. I hope to attend many more pow wows, and hope to continue to support them by my attendance and by supporting the vendors by buying items from them. We will be looking for pottery on our visit to RE, in June, and we are always looking for framed art. I enjoy attending the big contest pow wows, with all the talent, and art, and all the enemities, but once in awhile I will rough it at some of the smaller local pow wows.

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