Optin Monster

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Spectators Perspective on Non-Native Participants

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Spectators Perspective on Non-Native Participants

    Do you ever travel to pow wow's (or Native American functions/festivals) and notice what appears to be a non-Native participating as either a dancer or singer? I know in my travels I have seen them who represented both sides of the spectrum: pretty darn good and those I think to myself "OMG". Do you ever pay it any mind? How do you feel...what are your thoughts?

    It would be interesting to hear the perspectives from Non-Native Spectators.

    It would also be interesting to hear the perspectives from Native Spectators.

    I am not here to start a bashing ceremony. And this may be something that is constantly fought over...but this is not my intention. As a singer myself, I sit and watch other drums who show up and sing. What got me to thinking about this is that I really began to pay attention to the number of Non-Natives who often sit at the drums and try their best to quietly "do their thang" along with their Native Friends and just have a good time.

    So whats your perspective?
    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!

  • #2
    I have already stated many times on this site that I...as a white person who attends (NOT PARTICIPATES) many pow wows as a spectator, I use the "sit down & shut up" mode for myself. But hey, that's just the way I feel about it. I would just feel wrong being on the floor of the arena. I think both groups however (native & non-native) have to be very careful about when we say..."appears not to be native". We both know looks can be very deceiving. Our blood is very mixed, so without talking to the person in question, how do we know for sure where they're coming from?
    "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


    • #3
      Originally posted by socman View Post
      I have already stated many times on this site that I...as a white person who attends (NOT PARTICIPATES) many pow wows as a spectator, I use the "sit down & shut up" mode for myself. But hey, that's just the way I feel about it. I would just feel wrong being on the floor of the arena. I think both groups however (native & non-native) have to be very careful about when we say..."appears not to be native". We both know looks can be very deceiving. Our blood is very mixed, so without talking to the person in question, how do we know for sure where they're coming from?
      "...,I use the 'sit down & shut up' mode..."
      Thats kewl...whatever floats your boat. That is a pretty respectful way of doing things.

      "I would just feel wrong being on the floor of the arena."
      Are you saying that other non-natives should feel the same way?

      "...have to be careful about when we say...'appears not to be native'. We both know looks can be very deceiving. Our blood is very mixed,..."
      I'm not saying that every fair/dark skinned person is non-native. I'm just asking your thoughts/reactions based on observations. Hell...for all we know, you might look at me and say "HOBBIEST". I don't give two drops of rat piss if you do or not b/c yes, my actions would disprove what my looks may say to you.

      The original questions with respect to what appear to be non-natives and their participation are posted below. Keeping in mind that there are those who are non-native who dress the part and do not dress the part; there are those who are native who dress the part and who do not.


      How do you feel...what are your thoughts?

      It would be interesting to hear the perspectives from Non-Native Spectators.

      It would also be interesting to hear the perspectives from Native Spectators.
      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


      • #4
        I agree with Socman. How would I know whether someone is NDN or not without asking them specifically?

        Without rehashing a post of mine from another thread, I'll just say that unless I have specific knowledge to the contrary, I'm going to give people the benefit of the doubt that they are either Native or in some other way "belong" in what they are doing.

        As for what I think (in general) about non-NDNs participating in powwows - I have no opinion. Because it just isn't any of my business!

        The only people I "disapprove of" or "look down on" are those people (of any racial/ethnic background) who are not behaving as I think people should behave in public. But even those expectations can be culturally specific, so I would keep my mouth shut (but depending on the behavior I might still give someone a "dirty" look).
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by LSS View Post
          "...,I use the 'sit down & shut up' mode..."
          Thats kewl...whatever floats your boat. That is a pretty respectful way of doing things.

          "I would just feel wrong being on the floor of the arena."
          Are you saying that other non-natives should feel the same way?

          "...have to be careful about when we say...'appears not to be native'. We both know looks can be very deceiving. Our blood is very mixed,..."
          I'm not saying that every fair/dark skinned person is non-native. I'm just asking your thoughts/reactions based on observations. Hell...for all we know, you might look at me and say "HOBBIEST". I don't give two drops of rat piss if you do or not b/c yes, my actions would disprove what my looks may say to you.

          The original questions with respect to what appear to be non-natives and their participation are posted below. Keeping in mind that there are those who are non-native who dress the part and do not dress the part; there are those who are native who dress the part and who do not.


          How do you feel...what are your thoughts?

          It would be interesting to hear the perspectives from Non-Native Spectators.

          It would also be interesting to hear the perspectives from Native Spectators.
          I have seen some crazy stuff over the years but then what is Crazy??
          What is normal in some areas is crazy in others
          An old saying says "When in Rome"...
          I have learned to just go with the flow
          Its hard sometimes...
          LOL
          ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ - Anigiduwagi
          Till I Die!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by socman View Post
            I have already stated many times on this site that I...as a white person who attends (NOT PARTICIPATES) many pow wows as a spectator, I use the "sit down & shut up" mode for myself. But hey, that's just the way I feel about it. I would just feel wrong being on the floor of the arena. I think both groups however (native & non-native) have to be very careful about when we say..."appears not to be native". We both know looks can be very deceiving. Our blood is very mixed, so without talking to the person in question, how do we know for sure where they're coming from?
            Originally posted by RDNKJ View Post
            I agree with Socman. How would I know whether someone is NDN or not without asking them specifically?

            Without rehashing a post of mine from another thread, I'll just say that unless I have specific knowledge to the contrary, I'm going to give people the benefit of the doubt that they are either Native or in some other way "belong" in what they are doing.

            As for what I think (in general) about non-NDNs participating in powwows - I have no opinion. Because it just isn't any of my business!

            The only people I "disapprove of" or "look down on" are those people (of any racial/ethnic background) who are not behaving as I think people should behave in public. But even those expectations can be culturally specific, so I would keep my mouth shut (but depending on the behavior I might still give someone a "dirty" look).
            With due respect, I inferred LSS to be asking "What do you think of white/black/blue/green/yellow people participating in a powwow". This is not a question of "Do I think they might be part NDN".

            As an example, there is a powwow at the North Carolina School of Science and Math. Joe Liles was the coordinator. Joe is a very respectable person and would be able to walk into anywhere in the world. At this powwow (Is it still held in February?), there are many indentifiable anglo's dancing. Hobbyists , if you will. They admid it. Not a single drop of NDN blood in them!

            Do you see animosity? Nah, not really. You'll see the occasional scowl. Most are just there to get some relief of the North Carolina winter. You see the whites in meticulous beadwork, black and whites, etc.. Then you see the other hokey ones, claiming to be 'honoring their ancestors', in the Tandy leather outfit with the barred turkey fan they just bought from the vendor outside the gym.

            Many Cherokee (Qualla Boundary type) come to this powwow, NDNs from throughout North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina attend. It gets pretty good sized and everybody has fun.

            Then there are the powwows put on by straightup non-NDN, usually 'I know it all' anglos. Those suck!


            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

            Comment


            • #7
              No I certainly do not think every non-native should feel wrong by being on the arena floor. Not at all. That's just me. I feel my place is in the stands. It's a personal thing. I've been down there several times to donate to blanket dances, or to the drum, but that's all. I guess part of it is, I've seen the stupid (sometimes drunk) white people make fools of themselves, and believe me when I say it makes me cringe with embarassment. I just never want to be associated with those people.
              "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


              • #8
                Originally posted by Joe's Dad View Post
                With due respect, I inferred LSS to be asking "What do you think of white/black/blue/green/yellow people participating in a powwow". This is not a question of "Do I think they might be part NDN".

                As an example, there is a powwow at the North Carolina School of Science and Math. Joe Liles was the coordinator. Joe is a very respectable person and would be able to walk into anywhere in the world. At this powwow (Is it still held in February?), there are many indentifiable anglo's dancing. Hobbyists , if you will. They admid it. Not a single drop of NDN blood in them!

                Do you see animosity? Nah, not really. You'll see the occasional scowl. Most are just there to get some relief of the North Carolina winter. You see the whites in meticulous beadwork, black and whites, etc.. Then you see the other hokey ones, claiming to be 'honoring their ancestors', in the Tandy leather outfit with the barred turkey fan they just bought from the vendor outside the gym.

                Many Cherokee (Qualla Boundary type) come to this powwow, NDNs from throughout North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina attend. It gets pretty good sized and everybody has fun.

                Then there are the powwows put on by straightup non-NDN, usually 'I know it all' anglos. Those suck!
                Oops. Sorry. One of the cats decided to sit on the computer and turn it off in the middle of my response, so I don't know if my response from a few minutes ago was posted. If this is duplicative, I apologize.

                Thank you, Joe's Dad. Reading your post made me realize that although I gave an answer to the question, I didn't actually answer the question. I'll try not to write a whole thesis, but it will be long. So, here goes...

                First, at least for the purpose of this topic, I don't really recognize anyone as being "part-NDN." Regardless of blood quantum you're either NDN or you're not. To me, if someone says that they are "part-NDN" that means that they, by definition, self-identify as something else. We are, all of us, "mixes" of some sort, but the only part that really "counts" is what we self-identify as.

                That being said, if I saw someone participating (dancing) at a powwow who I thought was White...I wouldn't think anything about it. This is assuming that they are genuinely participating, not just running into the dance grounds and doing the Funky Chicken. I know (from hanging out here) that it is more complex than this, but to me powwows are pretty secular. In my mind if something is secular then it is pretty much open to all, as long as ya got the skills. If I saw powwows as being more ceremonial/religious, then I would have a different opinion.

                I am of more mixed minds about non-NDNs singing/drumming. Part of me says "see above;" if it is singing/drumming at a powwow, that seems pretty secular, and so should be open. But, as the drum seems to hold such a central position in Native ceremonial/religious life, I could certainly see where that might be something off-limits to non-NDNs, no matter what the venue.

                But really, a lot of it is going to depend on the non-NDN's attitude. As long as they are respectful in attitude, I don't see the harm. You can (almost always) tell whether someone is making fun of you or not. If some stupid White person is out there making fun of you and lulu'ing (sp?) pick them up and toss their sorry dumb-a** right out the door! But if someone really wants to learn about and celebrate your culture(s)...well, to me that's a good thing. The world would be a better place if there was more understanding between peoples.

                Now, if it is a pretty much all-White powwow, that's a different story. I would probably think what a lame-a** bunch of people. I mean, really, how good a powwow could it be if ya can't even get any NDNs to come?!
                sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RDNKJ View Post
                  First, at least for the purpose of this topic, I don't really recognize anyone as being "part-NDN." Regardless of blood quantum you're either NDN or you're not. To me, if someone says that they are "part-NDN" that means that they, by definition, self-identify as something else. We are, all of us, "mixes" of some sort, but the only part that really "counts" is what we self-identify as.
                  First, I want to say that I truly respect you RDNKJ, because you always post like a gentleman. However, I have a little trouble with this part of your post up there, being of mixed race and heritage myself. Are you saying I should deny that part of me that isn't ndn? Or is it just semantics? I shouldn't say, "part-NDN"?

                  Just wondering. Honestly! I am confused in so many ways, lol!

                  I could tell you tales what it is like to be so in-the-middle that I am not really acknowledged by either race: Too ndn to look white and too white to look ndn, and so I joke that I am Japanese.

                  On-topic: I only participated once in a powwow. I wonder what people thought of me? They were probably thinking, "What's that crazy Japanese lady doing out there?"
                  Last edited by neling4; 08-10-2009, 01:34 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Part 1 of 2

                    Thank you, Neling4. That means a lot to me. I try to walk a fine line on these forums and be respectful of everyone and be careful of what and where I post. That’s one reason my posts tend to be pretty long, to help “head-off” misunderstandings. I’ll try to explain my comment about “part-NDNs” a little more.

                    My objection to people describing themselves as “part-NDN” is both semantic and contextual in nature, but it mainly depends on how and, most importantly, why the individual is using this description. This is not limited to any one racial/ethnic group. I feel the same way about people describing themselves as part-anything (part-Jewish, part-Russian, part-Japanese, etc.).

                    In no way do I think that anyone should deny any part of their heritage. Nor am I denigrating anyone who describes themselves as part-(fill in the blank)”.

                    I’m going to use White/NDN simply for ease of argument, but the same argument could be used for any other type of mixed race/ethnicity/religion.

                    When someone says that they are part-something, that means that they identify as something else, but acknowledge that there is another part to them. When someone says “I’m part-NDN,” what I hear is “I’m White, but there is part of me that is NDN” (whether that means ¼ NDN or 1/256th NDN doesn’t really matter). Similarly, if someone says “I’m part-White,” what I hear is “I’m NDN, but there is part of me that is White.”

                    I don’t have a problem with people talking about or referring to different aspects of their heritage. We do it all the time, myself included. I’m a Euro-American mutt – I’m part- English, Scots, Irish, German, French and Alsatian; different branches of my family are or have been: Jewish, Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Church of England and Church of Scotland. And there are probably some more groups in there that we aren’t aware of.

                    What I object to is when people use some part of their heritage, that they don’t really identify as, to legitimize their actions or opinions. Here are a couple examples.

                    Recently, Roseanne Barr appeared in Heeb Magazine (a Jewish humor magazine) dressed like Hitler, standing in front of an oven, holding a tray of “burnt Jew cookies” (pic attached). Most of the on-line comments concerning the photo were negative. I was actually one of the very few people who weren’t offended. Now, people can have whatever opinion they want about the photo-shoot, regardless of their heritage. What I object to was people commenting: “I’m part-Jewish, and I don’t have a problem with the pics.” Please note that no one commented: “I’m part-Jewish, and I was offended by the pics.” Imo, that is because no one feels the need to justify feeling offended by the imagery, but they do find it necessary to justify not feeling offended. In effect, what they are saying is: “I’m not offended, but its okay because I’m part-Jewish.” My response is twofold. I want to ask, so…if you weren’t “part-Jewish” it wouldn’t be okay for you not to be offended? And, what does “part-Jewish” mean, anyway…that your mother was Jewish?, your grandmother?, some distant ancestor? Just because your family has a “Jew in the woodpile” somewhere doesn’t give you any special insight or understanding of Jewish/Holocaust issues.

                    To be continued...
                    Attached Files
                    sigpic

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Part 2 of 2

                      For an NDN example, I will use the issue of sports mascots. I’m sure most of you have either heard or read a comment like: “Well, I’m part-NDN and I don’t see any problem with the Redskins.” Again, imo, they are using “part-NDN” as a way to shield themselves from any negative repercussions stemming from their opinion. If they identified as NDN, they wouldn’t say “I’m part-NDN,” they’d say “I’m NDN” or “I’m Dine” or “I’m Cherokee,’ etc.. It is a way to de-legitimize the opinions of people who actually identify as being NDN (or whatever the group in question is).

                      So, the original question concerned “non-Natives” participating in powwows. I guess the point I was trying to make with my statement about not recognizing someone as being “part-NDN” is this (and remember I said that for the purposes of this topic, I didn’t recognize part-NDN).

                      I don’t see anyone as being “more NDN” or “less NDN” based on their hair color, eye color, skin color, blood quantum, whether they live on the rez or in the city, tradish or not, etc.. If someone identifies as NDN and is accepted by their community as NDN then they are NDN.

                      But, if I use that definition of who is an NDN, then I have to be consistent in my definition of who is not an NDN (again, for the purpose of this question). If someone doesn’t identify as NDN, isn’t seen as NDN by their community, then in my eyes…they aren’t NDN, regardless of blood quantum, etc..

                      So, to me, if someone says that they are “part-NDN” and that makes it okay for them to participate in a powwow, it is the same thing as their saying that they’re White, but because g-g-g-grandma was NDN that makes participating okay, and statements like that are often meant to preclude the “real NDNs” from objecting.

                      That’s why, to me, there are no real shades of gray (shades of red? ) – there are NDNs and non-NDNs who participate in powwows, not part-NDNs or part-Whites.

                      I hope I’ve clarified what I meant and haven’t dug myself into a bigger hole.
                      sigpic

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        NON's participating

                        Deleted
                        Last edited by Lost in 4 Worlds; 08-20-2009, 01:31 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          From both sides

                          It's interesting that you ask this question, as one who are on both sides of the spectrum I have the privileged of feeling welcomed and the burden of being made to feel unwelcome. My ancestry through my mother is Tsalagi and white, through my father is Iroquois and white. Before I knew anything about my heritage or culture, the only time I would get involved with anything would be intertribals during a powwow, and the experience form the dancers were always welcoming, it was always from those who were not dancers who seemed to have the hard stares. Now there are not any ceremonies for the Tsalagi or the Iroquois in this part of the country, but I am involved with my children's ceremonies who are from another tribe here in my area. For the most part most people are VERY welcoming, with very little opposition, but there are a few who want to tell you that this ceremony is not open to tourists.

                          I don't generally get that too much because I am rather dark complected, but my wife who is glow in the dark gets it ALOT. But once someone realizes that she belongs in the community and is not a tourist, she is brought in to participate as she sees fit. I guess what my point is is that skin color and birth make a native not. Growing up on the res that I grew up on, I am more welcomed in the community as a "whiteboy" than a lot of the natives I grew up with. There behavior and lack of respect has had them dubbed as a white indian, and not in a good way. And I have also seen many whites and other non natives who have married into the culture and have been a strong and respected representative for the tribe. In fact one of the best prairie chicken dancers I have ever seen was white as wonder bread.

                          I think that what we have to remember with those who are disrespectful and try to insert themselves into a culture that is not theirs because they think they have a right to know, is that this is nothing new for us. This has been an on again off again for us for over 500 years. It has come around full circle many times over and will again. I think that we need to be inclusive regardless of skin color, that would even mean with those who are not in the community and yes even those who become disrespectful, as I have always been taught that is native values. But remembering that there is a time that we need to be assertive, not aggressive and ask someone to leave, I see it every year at my children's ceremonies. But what I see is that usually the elders or the holy men of the community are usually the ones who deal with asking someone to leave. My guess is that they have a softer way of asking someone to leave, verses most native men I know do. Anyway just my opinion.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Remember, many people don't know or have forgotten that the government forbade Natives from dancing many years ago. The thing that we call powwow arose from the defiance of those wishes. We weren't going away quietly. Ans as much as I would like to see only Native people dancing at powwows, it ain't gonna happen.
                            So, my only wish to these folks is, please try not to embarass yourselves and us.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think that if non-natives dance, they should do it to honor and not to make light of the dance or the Native Americans. I feel it is a great honor and privelige to be able to dance and honor my heritage (which is Cherokee).

                              Comment

                              Join the online community forum celebrating Native American Culture, Pow Wows, tribes, music, art, and history.

                              Loading...

                              Trending

                              Collapse

                              There are no results that meet this criteria.

                              Sidebar Ad

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X