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The Gourd Dance

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  • #16
    to allimperfect

    I agree with LWB. Nobody likes an "instant indian."

    These ways are not easy because they require a lot of time, effort, and dedication. If a person takes care of those things that are necessary, then he/she will be taken care of. If these ways are not respected, there are consequences. Sincerely doing your best is all that can be asked of you. Everybody makes mistakes, but you have to be concerned about whether and how a person makes things right.

    That's why (I think) people come across as hostile on occasion, because they see a threat to something that is serious. It's more than just living history or fun.

    Having said that, I have been taught (and pass on to others) that you should always feel better leaving a dance than when you arrived. So, it can be fun.

    Regardless of how much people come across as "knowing it all," the ones to be sought out and trusted are the ones who realize they don't know it all and continue to learn everyday. But look around, there are right ways and wrong ways. Unfortunately, some people can't or refuse to see the difference.

    I think this board is useful because it gives interested people more information in a shorter period of time than they would ever get face-to-face at a dance. But it's no subsitute to learning the traditional way (meaning time and experience and listening to your elders).

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    • #17
      Well, that's why I'm here... To learn what to do and what not to do because I have no one here to help me. All of my relatives who are natives are in Arizona... I don't have any friends who are native so I decided to come here and hopefully get an idea of what I should and should not do before I actually went to an event.

      :( It's really hard when you have no one around you to teach you these things and that's why I'm here.

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      • #18
        I agree with LWB and Park -- This place can be enlightening and entertaining at times. If I came off as critical or anyother way, excuse me. I was merely trying to point knowledgeseeker back into the direction of the party that brought him in.

        This dance is serious and not one to be taken lightly. There are alot of interpertations and meanings behind the things that you see. Unless you talk with someone you can't understand just from watching. I just think you should have a fairly complete understanding before entering the arena.

        Yes, no one knows everything and I don't pretend to. But I think everyone has their own opinion and beliefs about what goes on in the arena. There is always room to learn and take into consideration other aspects and beliefs. You have to sort of pick and choose what is right and wrong. There are alot of traditional or old school people that are willing to share their knowledge - then there are those that are new to all of this and have read all the books and therefore have all the answers.

        My best advice is find someone that you trust and believe. Take a little from here and there - but don't try to learn it all in a day. I've been around a long time and still learn something new each day.

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        • #19
          More on the subject

          Those are some good words from luvstraightdancrs.

          Allimperfect:

          I understand your frustration, but don't feel like you're alone and that no one understands you. Pick yourself up and do something about it.

          I noticed you live in Plano. There are lots of NDNs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Kiowas, Comanches, Cheyenne, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and a bunch of others. There are also plenty of dances in the area and even more within a 3-4 hour drive. Keep an eye out on the Powwow Calendar or others posted on the web. Or PM me and I'll try to point you in the right direction.

          I'm given the impression by your post that you're interested in gourd dancing. Having given some thought to it, I don't know how Mohaves in AZ approach the dance and there are things you can try before you head back there. We all start somewhere.

          The first thing you can try is go to some of the local dances and don't stress about participating. Most dances in Texas have gourd dancing before intertribal. Bring a chair (like those break-down pocket chairs everyone has nowadays) or sit in the bleachers if they have some. Don't sit on the benches ringing the arena and don't move anyone's blanket (it reserves a seat). Bring a case of soda to donate to the meal or concession stand. If you start going regular, bring a covered dish of food. Gestures like that go for miles. Meet people. Hang out. Buy raffle tickets and support the host organization. Pay special attention to how the head dancers dress, dance, and conduct themselves in and out of the arena. The head staff is chosen for a reason (experience, respect, etc.)

          It may take a while, but you will learn how to conduct yourself, make an outfit, sing the songs, whatever. Good luck!

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          • #20
            I want to applaud Knowledgeseeker and Allimperfect for asking and that they know that they don't know. I don't have all of the answers for all peoples, just what I was taught.

            Thanks to all of you for not executing our new guest!!!!!!!
            WA DO!!!!!

            I recommend what has already been stated. Just go and attend these dances. Most are not ceremonials, not Tribal specific. Many today are open to the public. Go and have fun. The more you go to the more people you will meet. Make friends. Ask some questions and try to learn what is true and customary. Learn that protocol varies amongst the different peoples. We do have some common protocol traits amongst most of our nations. Seek your family and allow them to teach you. This will take time. You will know when you are ready.

            Enjoy yourself and try not to be offended. Welcome to our world.
            BOB

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            • #21
              Thanks

              I thank you all for giving me information. The Gourd Dance is an interesting and wonderful dance that I hope I will fully understand with time. Thanks again for all of your views.

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              • #22
                Last edited by kiowawarrior31; 06-09-2008, 08:21 PM.

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                • #23
                  old thread
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