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  • Ponca Style?

    Okay, I am new to this forum, but I am an experienced Northern Traditional Dancer who is switching to Straight Dance due to back and knee injuries that prevent me from sneaking up on myself much less an imaginary enemy.

    I have a lot of questions but I will start with just a couple.

    1.) I have heard conflicting accounts from different straight dancers regarding wether it is acceptable/expected to add elements of your own tribal dress to an outfit that would otherwise be Ponca, or Osage? In other words is it frowned upon in Straight Dance circles to dress in a tribal style that is not you own or is there a certain amount of hodgepodgeing or tribal styles that is acceptable?

    2.) What are some of the most important factors seperating Osage and Ponca straight dance regalia?

    and finally...for now...

    3.) Do I need to start with a mirror board and wait for someone to gift me with a tailstick?

  • #2
    In my powwow world, tail sticks are usually for honored people. Not really sure if that changes between tribes.

    as far as sticking to tradition, look at most danceers at powwows, straight dancers are using beaded vests and cuffs, ribbonwork with leather leggings, mirror boards WITH sticks and fans, etc.

    Id say stick with tradition if you want, but anything pretty much goes now.

    When in Rome....
    There are 2 types of people in the world...
    Really stupid people who think they are smart
    and
    Really smart people who think they are smart.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by SthrnStrghtDncr
      Okay, I am new to this forum, but I am an experienced Northern Traditional Dancer who is switching to Straight Dance due to back and knee injuries that prevent me from sneaking up on myself much less an imaginary enemy.

      I have a lot of questions but I will start with just a couple.

      1.) I have heard conflicting accounts from different straight dancers regarding wether it is acceptable/expected to add elements of your own tribal dress to an outfit that would otherwise be Ponca, or Osage? In other words is it frowned upon in Straight Dance circles to dress in a tribal style that is not you own or is there a certain amount of hodgepodgeing or tribal styles that is acceptable?

      2.) What are some of the most important factors seperating Osage and Ponca straight dance regalia?

      and finally...for now...

      3.) Do I need to start with a mirror board and wait for someone to gift me with a tailstick?
      First, let me say you have some very good questions. It would not surprise me for you to get a lot of various opinions on the replys. However, this is my opinion, for what it is worth.

      1. Whether at Inter-tribal Pow-Wows or the Ponca Hethuska or Osage Inlonschka or other society dances, you will find a certain percentage of Straight Dancers who prefer to use dance clothes elements that are all representative of one tribal style. (i.e. all Osage, all Ponca, all Comanche, all Pawnee, etc.)

      However, it is also common to see a certain amount of "borrowing" of tribal styles to mix and match different outfit elements for a certain look. The biggest example is probably the fact that many Straight Dancers wear Southern Cheyenne style fully beaded moccasins, though they are not Southern Cheyenne.

      Kiowa or Comanche style deer-hide tab leggings are also very popular, and are often worn with Ponca style semi-floral/applique beaded aprons.

      Though the otter dragger is more of a tribal style among the Ponca, Osage and Pawnee for example, you may see a few Kiowa or Comanche Straight Dancers wearing them. And while it is more common to see Kiowa or Comanche Straight Dancers wearing a set of hairplates, it is not uncommon for Ponca, Osage or Pawnee to be see with hairplates.

      I might caution you though. It takes a bit of observation and research to know what looks good in a complete set of Straight Dance clothes that goes well together, and what looks like it was just thrown together haphazardly. It's kinda like wearing a business suit. Just any shirt and tie does not look good together. (i.e. such as a striped shirt and a striped tie; red socks with a black suit; black shoes with a white suit, etc.)

      One of the things that really makes a "set" of Straight Dance clothes stand out as "very fine" in my book, is that no matter what the element style is, do they go well together as an overall "set" of clothes.

      Broadcloth all the same color. Neckerchief, shoulder scarves, armband ribbons, headband scarf all the same color silk, which also matches the binding ribbon used on all the broadcloth elements, and perhaps a main color used in ribbonwork patterns, if they are part of the design used. Any beadwork such as a belt, moccasins, cuffs, otter dragger strip/rosettes, shoulder scarf rosettes may have the same or similar design elements with the same or similar colors. A set of finger woven garters and side drops that have the same colors as the binding ribbon of all the broadcloth elements, the colors used in the ribbon shirt material and/or the ribbons of the shirt, and the colors used for the neckerchief and scarf set. The colors chosen in the beads used in the set of bandoliers might also be in a shade that goes well with the overall color scheme of the outfit.

      Contrast in chosing the colors is also very important. Some colors just look good together. Turquoise binding ribbon would look good on dark blue broadcloth, but might not look so good on yellow broadcloth. Bone hairpipe and clear glass bead bandoliers would not stand out too well against a white ribbonshirt, but a silver bead and red mescal bean set of bandoliers would have good contrast. You get the picture by now I'm sure.

      2. There are very few items that separate the Ponca tribal style from the Osage tribal style. However, most would agree that one design element that has the most contrast and is considered mostly Osage is ribbonwork, especially the intricate 7, 9 or 13 row designs done on the vertical edges of the broadcloth aprons and leggings and the segmented panels of the broadcloth dance trailer.

      One design element that is considered mostly Ponca is the semi-floral applique beaded patterns done on the central area of the broadcloth aprons, the lower part of the broadcloth dance trailer, and sometimes along the verticle edge of the broadcloth leggings.

      3. It is good to have a tailfeather fan with gourdstitched handle and twisted fringe and a mirrorboard to carry when you dance. In my opinion, if you should carry a tailstick, someone will let you know.

      Hope this helps some.

      "Be good, be kind, help each other."
      "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

      --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

      Comment


      • #4
        Awesome!

        Wow...great info...thanks a lot!

        I have a pretty defined concept of what I'm looking at doing with my regalia...Ill try to give you guys a good mental if I can.

        Im thinking of doing a Northern Plains sytle Straight Dance set (wanting to put some emphasis on Northern Cheyenne colors and themes). Im also wanting to go more old style with it...I think the old Calico shirts look so much keener than the shiny satin shirts. I am my fathers eldest son, and my father is a disabled Army (Armored Cav.) veteran (he is also a retired dancer, but is not in the gourd clan) and I would like to incorporate something into the outfit that would pay homage to dear old pop since Ill be dancing for him. I know that the oldest son can wear the red broadcloth leggings but I am planning on using buckskin...what can I do with buckskin leggings or other elements to denote my status as the eldest son (Maybe base color themes in the rest of the outfit on a red theme?). What do you guys think about long northern breastplates with Straight Dance outfits? Mescal beans or Hairpipe for the bandoliers?

        Ahhh...changing styles is such a pain!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Historian
          Neckerchief, shoulder scarves, armband ribbons, headband scarf all the same color silk, which also matches the binding ribbon used on all the broadcloth elements, and perhaps a main color used in ribbonwork patterns, if they are part of the design used.
          Historian,
          I thought the ONLY color for the headband scarf was white, irrergardless of other scarves? Grant you this was over 12 years ago when I was told this, but that's also what I've been seeing around NC as well. Is the colored head scarve a new thing coming out of OK? Thanks for all the great info.
          GJJUDD

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by GJJudd
            Historian,
            I thought the ONLY color for the headband scarf was white, irrergardless of other scarves? Grant you this was over 12 years ago when I was told this, but that's also what I've been seeing around NC as well. Is the colored head scarve a new thing coming out of OK? Thanks for all the great info.
            GJJUDD
            Actually the colored silk headband, in the same color as the neckerchief and shoulder scarves was an older style seen in the 1950 and early 1960s. Toward the late 1960s and through the 70s, 80s the white handkerchief was the norm for a headband. During the 90s there were some that opted to not wear any headband for a more traditional look. Lately however, there has been some new interest in bringing back the colored silk headband look.

            "Be good, be kind, help each other."
            "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

            --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

            Comment


            • #7
              I have a feeling that other tribal items can be added to a straight outfit, if they are not too intrusive. For example, in the Southwest, we sometimes see a Northern Traditional dancer wearing the red/green/black yarn embroidered "monk's cloth" as breech cloths or side drops. This material is Pueblo style, and is more often used as women's mantas and men's wraps in traditional village dances. Occasionally, a Pueblo or Diné man will wear a bow guard while powwow dancing.

              I think hair bones and beads would be the route to go for Northern, rather than mescal bandoliers.

              In the 1960s, Clyde Warrior, a Ponca, insisted on tucking his shirt inside and wearing his belt outside on the "join". He felt that this was a correct, older Ponca style.

              GJJudd, I'm beginning to see colored headband scarfs at powwows.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Gledanh Zhinga
                ...In the 1960s, Clyde Warrior, a Ponca, insisted on tucking his shirt inside and wearing his belt outside on the "join". He felt that this was a correct, older Ponca style...
                I agree.

                I learned from Ponca elders like Henry Snake, David Buffalohead, Issac Williams and Maynard Hinman that the practice of tucking the shirt inside the beaded aprons is a style that was typical of the Ponca style of Straight Dancing (so that the shirt did not cover the beadwork) back in the early 1900s, and is also now coming back into common practice again.

                "Be good, be kind, help each other."
                "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

                --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Okay, as a Ponca, may I ask if you have been given the right to dance this style? You cannot just say "I am going to straight dance.", Though "In Rome" several are doing it. Since you are seeking an informative opinion from those from straight dance country, that would be the first item on the list.
                  Of course as stated before, some do not ask, but it would be a good idea to come into the arena legitimately. As I heard it said this weekend at the OU pow wow as Terry Tsotigh was bringing his son into the arena for the first time,"Many are in the arena, but few have paid their way. When you pay your way, you can enter into any arena and you are blessed".
                  I am thankful for my grandparents, my parents, my brothers, my aunties and uncles, my children, my companion and all of those who influenced me to be strong and proud of being who I am and where I come from. Knowledge is power

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sltate
                    Okay, as a Ponca, may I ask if you have been given the right to dance this style? You cannot just say "I am going to straight dance.", Though "In Rome" several are doing it. Since you are seeking an informative opinion from those from straight dance country, that would be the first item on the list.
                    Of course as stated before, some do not ask, but it would be a good idea to come into the arena legitimately. As I heard it said this weekend at the OU pow wow as Terry Tsotigh was bringing his son into the arena for the first time,"Many are in the arena, but few have paid their way. When you pay your way, you can enter into any arena and you are blessed".
                    A very good point...yes, I asked for, and was granted, permission to straight dance. I'm actually quite glad that someone thought to ask that because your right, there are very few who have followed the proper ways in their journey to the dance circle. My family is also very big on give-aways...we have 'em for everything...So Ill also be "paying my way" into the circle with a give away the first time I wear my straight dance regalia after it is finished (If it is ever finished ::grumble,grumble::).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thank you so much for being so respectful to this dance. That is something that is not seen too much in today's changing times. May you receive many blessings from your endeavor to represent all of us when you enter the arena in your straight dance regalia, I know I feel blessed already. My dad was a very good straight dancer, not because of his dance moves, but because of his heart when he danced. He loved the arena and he loved this dance. Best wishes to you, Sandy Harris Tate-Nevaquaya
                      I am thankful for my grandparents, my parents, my brothers, my aunties and uncles, my children, my companion and all of those who influenced me to be strong and proud of being who I am and where I come from. Knowledge is power

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sltate
                        Okay, as a Ponca, may I ask if you have been given the right to dance this style? You cannot just say "I am going to straight dance.", Though "In Rome" several are doing it. Since you are seeking an informative opinion from those from straight dance country, that would be the first item on the list.
                        Of course as stated before, some do not ask, but it would be a good idea to come into the arena legitimately. As I heard it said this weekend at the OU pow wow as Terry Tsotigh was bringing his son into the arena for the first time,"Many are in the arena, but few have paid their way. When you pay your way, you can enter into any arena and you are blessed".
                        I totally agree with that statement. I paid my way to dance and to sing as well. Also when I went into mourning, when I came out I paid my way. It's getting rare to see that done the way it is supposed to. It's sad that our youth isn't as interested or perhaps our "elders" (grandmas in their 30s....) aren't as informative and determined to teach the ways to our youth. I'm not saying everyone is like that, but I know so many kids who have no clue what to do when they want to dance and just sometimes have to wing it. I was fortunate to have grandmas and great grandmas and grandpas and great grandpas who taught me how to respect the arena, drum and the proper way of handling situations.

                        Okay, I'm done. *L*



                        Mussy by birth.....Native by the Grace of God.......


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This subject came up in the early 60s, when I was visiting with Sylvester Warrior. Sylvester said words to this effect. When we see a man or woman in the circle, and especially if the man is wearing a roach with the proper feathers, we naturally ASSUME that he has has made his way into the circle the right way. It doesn't matter what tribe; we assume that he and his family have fulfilled an obligation.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm not Ponca but I have tried to always do the right thing by passing on our ways to them. I'm not always sure that they had listened or just pretended to. I guess we'll just have to wait and see as they grow older and become the elders. I think they must have listened to some of the teachings. My Eldest Son has approached me about dancing his new born son into the circle at our dance this summer. My Eldest Daughter and Son in Law have done the same thing with their young son. My Niece and Nephew asked to have their new born daughter introduced as well.

                            We introduced our kids and our Sons were roached. Our Daughters had their time when they came of age. When my dad passed, and my grandma passed just right after, I was asked to be headman at a dance in Texas before their passing. I asked my Uncles and Aunts for permission to go ahead and honor my obligation. They told me that I had made this obligation and must fullfil it. I had a special song and paid the drum and elders just prior to the opening of the dance. I thanked the Committee for allowing me to do this. These are things that must be done and I do think that our children are watching.
                            Last edited by CHEROSAGE; 05-05-2006, 01:57 AM.
                            BOB

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CHEROSAGE
                              I'm not Ponca but I have tried to always do the right thing by passing on our ways to them. I'm not always sure that they had listened or just pretended to. I guess we'll just have to wait and see as they grow older and become the elders. I think they must have listened to some of the teachings. My Eldest Son has approached me about dancing his new born son into the circle at our dance this summer. My Eldest Daughter and Son in Law have done the same thing with their young son. My Niece and Nephew asked to have their new born daughter introduced as well.

                              We introduced our kids and our Sons were roached. Our Daughters had their time when they came of age. When my dad passed, and my grandma passed just right after, I was asked to be headman at a dance in Texas before their passing. I asked my Uncles and Aunts for permission to go ahead and honor my obligation. They told me that I had made this obligation and must fullfil it. I had a special song and paid the drum and elders just prior to the opening of the dance. I thanked the Committee for allowing me to do this. These are things that must be done and I do think that our children are watching.
                              Passing your ways to the Ponca's????

                              Comment

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