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    So I'm new to this site. Saw someone last weekend at the Chickahominy powwow with a T-Shirt on and decided to check it out. It's pretty cool! There are a lot of knowledgable people on here. There are a few wackos on here too but I guess that's a topic for another thread.

    Anyway, to make a long story short over the years I've lost quite a few male family members from my grandfather, an uncle and 3 cousins who died in their teens. It's taken a huge toll on myself and I've dealt with it the best way that I can.

    When I was younger I use to dance as my Grandfather introduced me into the circle. Once he passed away I stopped dancing because it was the same anymore. Recently I've decided I would like to start back dancing and I am very interested in straight dancing. I understand that my people (Lumbee/Catawba) aren't powwow tribes and didn't have straight dance societies. I have done my research on straight dancing thought it has not been very indepth.

    My questions I would like to pose are:
    1. Do I need to be given the right to dance this style?
    2. How do people from tribes who have straight dance societies feel about others dancing this style?
    3. How do I get started on my path to becoming a straight dancer?

    There are many guys I've seen at many powwows throughout Indian country who are straight dancers and have no ties to Oklahoma. Did all of these people follow the proper protocol before deciding to dance this style?

    My intent is to not offend anyone and I apologize if I have done so. I have only come here for advice and looking to gain knowledge. I want to dance in honor of those men in my family who are not able to do so any longer.

    Please advise?

  • #2
    no takers on a reply? anyone can PM me or email me if they'd like.


    southern.native

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    • #3
      just be patient someone will answer, i cannot but did not want you to lose faith in the hope of an answer. your answer will come. oh and welcome to the site.
      A LABYRINTH OF FINGERS POINTING BLAME

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      • #4
        Southern Native,

        First let me say welcome to the board. You have the opportunity to make many friends and learn some facts, opinions, viewpoints and personal experiences from other members.

        Secondly, I want to thank you taking the time to ask questions, and for the thoughtful way you have formed your questions. It shows respect, and that is a very important thing to learn.

        I am not an expert, but I can give you my opinions based on my experiences. I suggest you solicit opinions from many other sources, but most importantly, with other Straight Dancers, in-person.

        My questions I would like to pose are:

        1. Do I need to be given the right to dance this style?

        The key word is "need". Many dancers today feel they do not "need" to be given the right to dance Straight Dance style, so they do anyway. However, among many traditional Oklahoma tribes, it is considered traditional and proper to be given the "right" to dance in the style of the Ponca Hethuska, or the Osage Inlonshka, or the Pawnee Iruska, etc., which is within the general term of "Straight Dance" style.

        2. How do people from tribes who have straight dance societies feel about others dancing this style?

        I cannot answer for all "Straight Dancing" tribes in Oklahoma, nor would I attempt to. I can tell you what friends and relatives have expressed to me at one time or another. Some society members, mostly younger dancers, feel it is okay. The idea in general being that immitation is a high form of flatery, and with so many Northern Traditional Dancers on the Pow-Wow curcuit, they think there needs to be more Straight Dancers.

        However, the older traditional Straight Dancers are concerned that respect and knowledge of traditions are being lost. Many feel that Straight Dancers who just decide to start Straight Dancing, do not know what the components of the clothes mean, or why they are worn, and many other detail that go along with the "style", according to different tribal traditions.

        3. How do I get started on my path to becoming a straight dancer?

        You have made a good start already by asking questions. I wish more would take the time to ask. As to whether or not you become a Straight Dancer, the rest is up to you.

        There are many guys I've seen at many powwows throughout Indian country who are straight dancers and have no ties to Oklahoma. Did all of these people follow the proper protocol before deciding to dance this style?

        In my opinion, there are less and less every year who followed a traditional protocol before starting to dance.

        Hope this helps a little.
        Last edited by Historian; 09-27-2006, 10:00 PM.

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

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

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