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  • Types of feathers used...

    Hello everyone! I was talking with some family members about feathers and what they mean to various people. There was something in the news here in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Oklahoma</st1:place></st1:State> last night talking about people shooting balds and it got us talking about the respect these feathers deserve. I was wondering what kind of stuff should/ could straight dancers be using... and why? Should all straight dancers carry eagle fans? Is the dancer’s age a consideration? Loaded questions, I know. I have just seen a lot of stuff out there from water bird tail fans to parrot fans. What are your traditions if you don't mind sharing them? How many out there have seen people carry things just because they want to? Shaking the jar.... <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>

  • #2
    Good topic Albert. I wonder a lot of the same things.

    As far as eagle fans/feathers go. I believe they should be gifted to you. After you have been gifted your first feather then you have the right to acquire others.(What I was told, right or wrong.....) Certain feathers are used for certain things/ceremonies. And I know for a fact that a lot of younger people just "using whole birds" with their regalia don't really know. And then there is the whole "powwow culture" where people dance styles that they may not know the full story behind(i.e. someone from the southeast/west dancing jingle)

    As far as Macaw fans, I think they are nice to carry. Waterbird fans I believe should only be in meetings. I heard this somewhere else, and I completely agree with it, "Some fans are to beautiful for powwows and belong in meetings only".

    I could go on and on...but'll I'm going to stop
    Last edited by ADcRezFamily; 02-28-2007, 01:20 PM. Reason: forgot some stuff...

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    • #3
      Hey there guys. I was taught that the age is up to the family when the child is mature enough to understand and care for the feathers(Eagle). I agree that I've seen very young children have Eagle feathers and drag them around. They should be honored in a roaching ceremony or the such and then use them or obtain how ever they can.

      I like to see the different types of fans out there. I think that Owl parts don't have a place in/at Powwows. I think that the macaw feather fans are very nice looking and safe. The waterbird fans usually look very nice. Mybe should be nice enough for their church fan.
      BOB

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      • #4
        A was taught that a golden eagle feather fan was a special spiritual tool used in prayer. In the old days, a man was given a feather fan when he was old enough to pray for himself and for others. The person that made the fan, put special prayers into it, used special feathers, and chose special colors and design elements that were unique for the individual that would be carrying the feather fan, and using it in prayer.

        In addition, elders have said that at one time, dancers had a tradition that the implements of warfare, (i.e. tail stick, mirrorboard, etc.) were carried in the right hand. The hand that was used to fight with. Implements of peace and prayer, (i.e. the feather fan) was carried in the left hand.

        When anhinga feathers (aka waterbird) were used for feather fans, and carried by Straight Dancers in the early 1900s, it simply meant that the dancer was a member of the NAC. (Though it wasn't called that at the time.) However, since the 1980s, "church fans" are seen less and less in a Pow-Wow setting.
        Last edited by Historian; 03-07-2007, 12:01 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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        • #5
          Maybe Who Me can help correct me on this one but I think Kiowas in particular have a graded scale (if you can call it that) that is age based in one of their societies. I think the youngest men would carry roadrunner fans and as they got older they were able to carry 'stronger' feathers. It has a lot to do with being ready for the tools and also developing an early respect for those tools but there is a lot more than just that. For example there was a progression of war deeds that tied to what you were permitted to use. Also on the roadrunner feathers, the folks around these parts will not use them out of respect. I understand it goes back to a time when the roadrunners saved them from the Comanches but that is just a story I heard.

          With waterbirds, every church person I know leaves them home when they pow wow. Not so much with the non church members I have run into. Same for scissortails and yellowhammers... I guess they just look too cool to not want.

          What about other feathers? Are there other feathers that you have seen or used?

          To many, a person is just not cool unless you have a black and white tail fan that is so big you can change clothes behind it!
          Last edited by Fat Albert; 03-06-2007, 01:21 PM. Reason: forgot something

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          • #6
            To many, a person is just not cool unless you have a black and white tail fan that is so big you can change clothes behind it!

            So true!! I think we place too much emphasis on having a nice black and white fan!! Lets get into tribal affiliations... For example the southeastern people... having eagle feathers was a great honor to possess them, but they were rare(Before the Trail). The Turkey was really the common bird most people utilized because the feathers were accessible. I just love to see different fans... for example a nice trimmed turkey tail fan with beadwork, hawk. I know people that belong to certain clans that use specific feathers(not the place to go into it here). People I know that are NAC members say save Waterbird feathers for meetings .

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            • #7
              Originally posted by straightboy View Post
              To many, a person is just not cool unless you have a black and white tail fan that is so big you can change clothes behind it!

              So true!! I think we place too much emphasis on having a nice black and white fan!! Lets get into tribal affiliations... For example the southeastern people... having eagle feathers was a great honor to possess them, but they were rare(Before the Trail). The Turkey was really the common bird most people utilized because the feathers were accessible. I just love to see different fans... for example a nice trimmed turkey tail fan with beadwork, hawk. I know people that belong to certain clans that use specific feathers(not the place to go into it here). People I know that are NAC members say save Waterbird feathers for meetings .

              I couldn't agree more.

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