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  • Choosing Head Staff

    What would be your criteria for choosing head staff (Emcees, host drums, arena director, head dancers)?

    Is knowledge and experience in the powwow arena your first consideration or is using them as a drawing card your first consideration?
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    For emcees and drums I consider drawing power..... but balance it with what we have to pay them.

    For head dancers it is usually a thing of respect, if I have observed you and know you to be a good dancer who acts respectfully and in accord with tradition then you will go on my list of folks I will ask.

    As for ADs- must be local, must be either on the committee or friends with committee, cause the AD catches the flak for the committees decisions, and has to make sure things go smoothly on behalf of the committee, and if you have someone from away come then their protocol can be just different enough to cause a problem.

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    • #3
      For us, our Headman and Headlady are asked to help for their knowledge, the respect of their family, and their ability to dance. These dancers are the representatives for our Committee with the dancers. Another consideration is their drawing power. (This is not the most important consideration). Their personality is also a great part of the consideration. I usually ask friends or family of friends as my way of honoring these friends.

      My AD has been with us since the very first dance. He has our blessings in any way he feels fit to run the dance in the arena.

      As for our HeadSinger, I like to ask a friend who has great knowledge of not only the songs but the ways and appropriate traditions of many peoples. These Singers (Head Singers) must be able to accomidate NDN people of many different Peoples(Tribes). Even though the Powwow is mostly Pan-NDN in nature we still do use many different local traditions(Traditions of our families).
      BOB

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      • #4
        They Have To Really Drink......Errrrr

        I'm Kidding......

        I've worked with some knowledgable experienced Head Staff and a couple of.........well you get my jist....You want people who you can depend on and who are flexible. Folks who have knowledge of several ways and who can communicate with people. I like specials so its good when a member of the Head Staff acknowledges the honor bestowed upon them and follows that protocol. It adds more variety to the Powwow and encourages sharing.....A basic Powwow principle.....I like to see younger folks participate in this responsibility....It not only encourges them, but other young people as well.....Cause in 20-30 years they'll be steering the ship.....
        "She also has a very soft skin. The only trouble with snake women is they copulate with horses, which makes them strange to me. She say's she doesn't. That's why I call her "Doesn't Like Horses". But, of course, she's lying."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by legalstraight View Post
          For emcees and drums I consider drawing power..... but balance it with what we have to pay them.

          For head dancers it is usually a thing of respect, if I have observed you and know you to be a good dancer who acts respectfully and in accord with tradition then you will go on my list of folks I will ask.

          As for ADs- must be local, must be either on the committee or friends with committee, cause the AD catches the flak for the committees decisions, and has to make sure things go smoothly on behalf of the committee, and if you have someone from away come then their protocol can be just different enough to cause a problem.

          legal,

          I have to agree with you in making drawing power in you head staff particularly the emcee and drums. Personally, I think a successful powwow involves both quality and quanity of active participants.

          I also agree with you that the AD should be local...

          I was the AD this past weekend at a medium sized powwow. Because the powwow did not have a head judge, I assumed those duties and had to choose knowledgable judges. I picked judges from the people in the audience based on knowledge, who I thought was a fair person and from distinct regions and tribes. I dont' think someone who was not local would have known who to pick. The emcee was not from here and we worked really well together.
          Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Coyot_In_The_House View Post
            .....I like to see younger folks participate in this responsibility....It not only encourges them, but other young people as well.....Cause in 20-30 years they'll be steering the ship.....

            Yote,

            I'm glad you brought this up. I have taken it upon myself to mentor a young man from this area who is Omaha/Dine' but was raised in a urban community. So far he has worked as my assistant emceeing and ADing.

            I know some day I will eventually leave this place. I hope my interest in this young man will be fruitful in teaching him a good foundation of powwow and will benefit this community, as an investment in our future.
            Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

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            • #7
              I know this is not the place but finding it hard to network within this new domain....was wondering if anyone knew the best place to advertise for these types of opportunities. IE. Pow-wow staff?
              I have 5 years experience as working as a tabulator...looking to broaden my horizon. I have heard from many dancers over the years that tabulation is a problem with pow-wow's. Thus I am giving this opportunity a chance....since I am good at it. References available. Any suggestions?

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              • #8
                didnot read but

                put me down for head judge
                Minimum

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by WhoMe View Post
                  What would be your criteria for choosing head staff (Emcees, host drums, arena director, head dancers)?

                  Is knowledge and experience in the powwow arena your first consideration or is using them as a drawing card your first consideration?
                  To choose who will be your head staff at powwow requires a bit of education. You open your ears and eyes long before the powwow. Look fo the people who will make your powwow a sucess. See who is doing what in a good way. You don't need to bring in the big guns like Black Lodge or the best MC on the planet. What you need to do is get the people you can afford who do things in a good way and are reconised in your community or state.

                  Head dancers should know all the dance styles possible and should be able to work the circle the entire weekend. Juniors are very important to also have to help take on the responsibility later and fill in when needed.

                  Your MC should have a good knowlege of the native history of the area. Where are you dancing? He/She must also have a good sense of humor and be able to chang things on the spot as the powwow progresses and be able to take cues from the AD and work with them. Things can change fast at powwow so the MC must be able to run with it.

                  Remember that your AD controls the circle. It is his responsibility to make sure everything in that circle is done correctly. Yes, you can and should give him a list of what you want acomplished during the weekend but allow him the control to do the requested things as time permits. Remember once Grand Entry starts, it is his circle to control. Back off and let him do his job.

                  Head Vet is another important job. All I can say there is the comittee should require the head vet to submit his DD214 (discharge paperwork) long before the powwow. There are many that claim vet status that have no right to do so. No need to have that dark cloud over your powwow when people find out the guy carring in the staff in not really a vet or even infact a real NDN.

                  All in all, you need to look and listen. Visit other powwows and see who is doing things in the right way. Watch the circle when a drum plays. See what dancers come into and leave the circle during intertribals. When a local drum pulls people into that circle, that is a drum that you may want to have at your powwow.

                  Remember that most principals are booked a year in advance so one must take the time to look at the powwow circuits and see where your choices will be on a given weekend. The weekend you choose may conflict with a drum or AD who has a regular circuit schedule that they do each year so your choices may become limited. Many principals also have followings.

                  Even me doing sound for a powwow is booked a year in advance and I do follow a regular circuit. It's just the way it is.
                  Don't ask me what I think about something unless you want a truthful anwser. It may not be the anwser you are looking for.

                  It's better to fly with the eagles then drive with the turkeys.

                  Duct tape has a light side and dark side that binds our universe together.

                  Bad attatude lessons available here. To inquire, Check the box to the right. []

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by WhoMe View Post
                    What would be your criteria for choosing head staff (Emcees, host drums, arena director, head dancers)?

                    Is knowledge and experience in the powwow arena your first consideration or is using them as a drawing card your first consideration?
                    I think head staff needs to have both; they need to be knowledgeable in the arena, have good experience, and for me when I've worked on powwows, their reputation is important. If you get someone that has a good rep then that will be a drawing card. You also want to consider repuation because as a committee, you don't want to have to babysit anyone you hire, whether its arena staff or drum groups. You want dependable people who will work hard to do a good job...not have an attitude or demand preferential treatment, and who will actually show up and do the work asked of them. When you get a group like that, it makes the whole powwow run good and makes it good for the visitors.

                    It used to be that being selected for head staff was an honor...to be picked as an AD or a head judge or MC meant that you put your time in, in the arena. You were selected because of your accomplishments in the arena and for your reputation in the arena and outside of the arena, and for the knowledge you acquired along the way in your travels. I know whenever we've had to select head staff as part of a committee we nominate people we know we can trust and who we think can do a good job based on what we've seen that person do over the years. And when I or my companion have been selected for head staff positions, its been for the same reason. I know we've also, for different powwows, tried to select people that will be good role models...like for a college powwows, we would try to select powwow people that either earned degrees or were in school...there are plenty of powwow people that are champion dancers, excellent AD's, head judges, MC's, etc., that are educated and working with and for Native people.

                    There has been a trend in the past few years of people writing letters and sending "proposals" to casino powwow committees when proposals have not been solicited...detailing all they can do for that powwow and what they will charge, etc. In my opinion, there is no honor in being selected by advertising and selling yourself in that manner.

                    But then again, the people that do that are probably just in it for the money and the "prestige" they think are associated with being on headstaff...so honor probably doesn't mean much to them.

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                    • #11
                      I've got to go with knowledge and experience, over popularity, some MCees are very knowledgeable, but because they have a personality of a wet blanket or an ego greater than all outdoors, well, that's not gonna help ya fill the seats.

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                      • #12
                        If you choose the "best" head staff they will do both for your pow-wow: they will be a drawing card and keep everything running smooth and pro! We've had pretty good luck with our headstaff @ Eastern Shoshone Indian Days, Fort Washakie, WY---for the last 6 years : ). If you would like references for any of our past head staff we would be happy to share them with you!
                        "I'd rather be @ a POW-WOW!"

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