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Whoz supposed to carry the staff?

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  • Whoz supposed to carry the staff?

    The staff has been associated with the straight dancer. Today it is generic and "most people" who are learning to straight dance make one to carry when they dance.

    Tradish-tionally speaking, who really is supposed to carry a stick, coup stick, straight dance staff???
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    I believe this was discussed once before.

    I was taught that we dance with the dance stick if we were given one. Most start out with a dance board/mirror board.


    • #3
      I was told that way back there the ones who could carry that stick where the "Tail Dancers" in the Hethuska. I don't know about Pow-Wows in general.
      Tha-ke'-tha-pi Wa-kon-ta


      • #4
        Okay, Hmmmm. Lemee see.

        I have heard that the staff is used by taildancers, too. At a typical man dance: the Pawnee have two taildancers, The Otoe have four, the Osage have two (times 3 districts), Comanche (?) the Ponca have (well let's see. A whole bunch of non- Indians dance to their tails at Helushka).

        So for arguing sake there are 25 to 30 active taildancers out there.

        Howcome every Tom, Dick and Harpostraight dancer is carrying a taildancer's staff?

        If this is a traditional dance of the southern pursuation, shouldn't a person who dances "straight" abide by the rules?

        Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.


        • #5
          yep pretty much sums it up. The current drum keepers at the Osage dance have four taildancers on committee now. But you will see the rest of the dancesa carrying sticks or canes. ie 200+. I don't know why everyone else carries a tail stick today.
          Tha-ke'-tha-pi Wa-kon-ta


          • #6
            I don't know all the answers, but I do know that I was gifted my dance sticks.
            I, also have been told that once a Taildancer one is always known as a Taildancer. Now don't mistake what I'm saying. Each Ilonshka/Heluska or other Tribal Formal dances may have newly selected Taildancers. What I am trying to say here is that there are many Taildancers still dancing.

            I'm not sure I have said anything clearly but tried to. I know what I mean but it just isn't coming out right.

            I think the dance stick issue is one of those things that everyone wants to dance and thought the dance stick looks neat. They don't always know the truthe of the issue and uses the dance stick anyway. They probably buy one from a trader and go strait to the dance with it.


            • #7
              Tail Dance Staff

              Among the Ponca Hethuska, only the appointed Tail Dancers are supposed to carry a "Tail Stick". The current 2.5 to 3 foot "Tail Sticks" usually made from gun cleaning rods, are a remnant of the older crooked coupstick used in the buffalo days among the Ponca Hethuska Society. Today, appointed Tail Dancers or former Tail Dancers have the "right" to carry a Tail Stick. Usually, the Tail Stick is made for the Hethuska member and presented to them as a gift upon being appointed as a Tail Dancer.

              "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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