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  • Going Broke For Powwow

    Recently, my family and I attended a powwow here in Rapid City, and just about went BROKE! Even the admission alone put us back over $100.00 for the weekend. Even my four year old, who slept most of the evening sessions, had to pay $9.75 for the weekend.

    The concession stand in the Civic Center were outrageously over priced, but there they were, and thats what we ate. Thankfully, we live here in Rapid City, so we didn't have to worry about a $200.00 hotel bill, or pay gas to get here and home. I consider our family lucky.....however....

    A friend of mine came up from the Pine Ridge Reservation along with her husband and their 6 children. They attend alot of powwows through the year, so they know all the ropes to traveling with their kids. She and I sat down and calculated all her costs for the entire weekend....it was astronomical! Gas, hotel, food, and admission to the powwow....

    I believe that it's time for the powwow committes to consider the burden they put on the less fortunate native people on and off the reservations across the country. These people, I mean WE, as a people, should be able to attend and enjoy these great dancers and singer, and the medicine that is shared at gatherings such as these, without having to decide between financing the powwow or rent, or food, or heat and lights. Sometimes these powwows are the only place we get to witness some of the greatest drumming and dancing, as more and more of the popular drums and dancers are NOT showing up at the smaller, more traditional, and FREE powwows held in the communities.

    I applaude the efforts and success of the many powwow committees who step up and take on the awesome burden of producing a top rate powwow such as the He Sapa Wacipi in Rapid City. My only suggestion as a native woman and mother is that they consider defraying their costs through other avenues and not requiring the people coming from often impoverished communities to pay up exhorbitant admission costs. There has to be another way....if there isn't, we can surely make one!

    Thank you for your time....
    Ipsica Waci
    Wicahpi Eyoyambya Olowan

  • #2
    The only way as I see it; is for native people to start refusing to attend these large competition powwows. I said it before and I say it again; it's all about the dollar. Make a decision to only attend traditional powwows, they are alot more fun anyhow. It's disturbing to me the amount of people that come on here and complain about who won, who didn't win, how bad a committee was, who had donated audience money given to them and how it was a scam...On and on and ON! When I was a kid, I don't remember ever dancing at a powwow that gave out money prizes up until I was around 16 years old, before that I'd never heard of a money aspect. Nor, did I know that powwows charged for people to get in, especially dancers. Not that any of this relates directly to you; you opened a can of worms with this subject, but I hope that powwow you attended was at least a good time for you and your family anyhow.

    Comment


    • #3
      Me too....

      I don't know how many times I have also gone broke to go to a powwow. Usually after the weekend is over I am scraping my leftover money together just to make it until my next payday. It sucks, but then I can't stand to miss out on the powwow so I just struggle through it. People don't realize how expensive a powwow lifestyle is with the travel and regalia expenses. But there is that saying: If it was easy, everyone would be doing it...
      We will be known forever by the tracks we leave..Dakota leader.

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with both of you! It's hard to decide to NOT attend these powwows, because there are really good drums and dancers you might want to see, but at the same time, you wonder if these really good drums and dancers are really out there in the same spirit we go for. I want my kids to first learn to embrace their culture and the history of the dance and the songs before they succumb to the mighty dollar.....I remember those traditional powwows, they were so much fun, but anymore, there are times at those powwows where there might be one drum or maybe a couple of them who didn't get a chance to leave the rez for the big powwow going on the same weekend. It just irks me to death that Native people are charging OTHER Native people to witness and participate in their own culture. It's like they are say" If you can't afford to come, stay home". My kids and I do our own outfits and we all dance and/or sing, so it's hard for us to decide, even on principle, to boycott the high price powwows ( I about died when I found out I'd have to shell out $100. for me and my kids to contest at Red Earth). So we go...and Yes.. the He Sapa Wacipi that I was talking about....it was a very good powwow, and I enjoyed myself that weekend....but I sure was scrimping and scraping the whole next week....LOL
        Ipsica Waci
        Wicahpi Eyoyambya Olowan

        Comment


        • #5
          mmmmmm yeah, well my family and I travel only if we can afford too. Fortunately, I have a great job that pays well, we're able to travel alot. But when I wasn't working, I also made ends meet to be able to travel alot at the same time. But we travelled to ALL kinds of powwows be it big or small, contest or traditional, it is mostly about dancing and being around people who make you feel good. Yeah my lil one places sometimes, but not all the time, so we don't go for the $$$$$ either. People will always complain bout one thing or another, that's just human nature. All I say is ignore it all and just go to have fun. If you win, great, if you lose, at least you danced your best. The one thing I have told my lil one was that winning is just not $$, respect and honor is more valuable than a dollar. That's what he's won in the past few years, respect and honor, and it shows. The dollar is only worth what you put into it.....ayeeeee :D.

          Just powwow to powwow, dance to dance, sing to sing, and have fun......
          You have crossed my path, You will never be forgotten......


          EMAIL ME for GON 2014 Special Hotel, Air, and Car Rates...limited availability. Powwow special rates across the US and Canada. I also offer great vacation, business, and specialty fares to every destination in the world! Email for the rates
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          Comment


          • #6
            Pay the Price

            It is very dangerous for a committee to rely on gate receipts to provide contest prize money. I have seen powwows fail when they base their prize money on projected gate income. So most responsible committees raise the prize money prior to advertising their event. The gate admission, then, is used to pay for the rental of the facility and other expenses that may include security and sometimes unionized workers for clean-up, maintenance, and lighting, sound,etc. So... when we attend these types of events we are actually paying for a comfortable inside seat, protected from the weather and other amenities. There is even an event that was free from gate admission until they started to have too many disruptive incidents with unaccompanied minors. It turns out many parents in this urban setting were just dropping their kids off at the powwow.

            Boycotts are not realistic because there is a market for powwows of this type, we love the excitement of the big prizes as well as the comfort of the amenities big facilities provide. Even at an admission rate of $10 for the weekend, you can't get a babysitter for that price, or go to the movies for three days. If we can afford it, we pay for fast cars, big screen tvs, cable/satellite television, broadband internet access, to watch other cultures entertain us but we put on the brakes when we have to make a dent in our budgets to see our own people dance and sing. We all know there are alternatives, like traditional powwows. That's good. Having said all this, I am not buying into the "Money Culture"'s idea of 'if you can't afford it, stay home'. Powwow is an event that belongs to all of us. So...How can we help those families get to powwows without breaking the bank? I live for the day when our own Native people own the facilities and we can run it with our own concessions, our own gate admission (or lack of). Until then, LISTEN UP POWWOW COMMITTEES: How about a family rate for families with a lot of small kids. How about some of the rest of us who are better off, getting involved in our local events and raising enough extra funds to let all kids, say 12 and under in free. How about a special rate for elders.

            It doesn't have to just be about the money. We have the power to run these events the way we see fit, by our own standards and values that are a part of our Native culture. We have to work harder when we use places like the Hartford Civic Center or the Myriad, but it can be done. Get on the committee and get to work.

            Comment


            • #7
              *L* good thread. I'm broke from the time powwow season starts til it ends...the only time i seem to have money is during the winter. Soo....its a sacrafice...but i wouldnt stop going to powwows and having to pay the admission if i had to.
              Are you taking me to sizzler??

              Comment


              • #8
                $$$

                The Dakota Winter Fest N Manitoba is a good Wacibi, but Holay! it's expensive! It's not just a Powwow, several events are going on from Hockey to all types of shows. The gate entrance fee for the weekend was roughly 35 bucks per person! Holay! Granted you have to get there and pay for rooms and meals, but just about $40. bucks to powwow! Hopefully next year there will be a seperate entrance fee for the powwow? I'm sure that admission fee squashed peoples plans to attend. Now I can remember when Frybread was 50 cents!!! It was a good Frybread too...Spare tire size! Errr.....
                "She also has a very soft skin. The only trouble with snake women is they copulate with horses, which makes them strange to me. She say's she doesn't. That's why I call her "Doesn't Like Horses". But, of course, she's lying."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ma-heench
                  It is very dangerous for a committee to rely on gate receipts to provide contest prize money. I have seen powwows fail when they base their prize money on projected gate income. So most responsible committees raise the prize money prior to advertising their event. The gate admission, then, is used to pay for the rental of the facility and other expenses that may include security and sometimes unionized workers for clean-up, maintenance, and lighting, sound,etc. So... when we attend these types of events we are actually paying for a comfortable inside seat, protected from the weather and other amenities. There is even an event that was free from gate admission until they started to have too many disruptive incidents with unaccompanied minors. It turns out many parents in this urban setting were just dropping their kids off at the powwow.

                  Boycotts are not realistic because there is a market for powwows of this type, we love the excitement of the big prizes as well as the comfort of the amenities big facilities provide. Even at an admission rate of $10 for the weekend, you can't get a babysitter for that price, or go to the movies for three days. If we can afford it, we pay for fast cars, big screen tvs, cable/satellite television, broadband internet access, to watch other cultures entertain us but we put on the brakes when we have to make a dent in our budgets to see our own people dance and sing. We all know there are alternatives, like traditional powwows. That's good. Having said all this, I am not buying into the "Money Culture"'s idea of 'if you can't afford it, stay home'. Powwow is an event that belongs to all of us. So...How can we help those families get to powwows without breaking the bank? I live for the day when our own Native people own the facilities and we can run it with our own concessions, our own gate admission (or lack of). Until then, LISTEN UP POWWOW COMMITTEES: How about a family rate for families with a lot of small kids. How about some of the rest of us who are better off, getting involved in our local events and raising enough extra funds to let all kids, say 12 and under in free. How about a special rate for elders.

                  It doesn't have to just be about the money. We have the power to run these events the way we see fit, by our own standards and values that are a part of our Native culture. We have to work harder when we use places like the Hartford Civic Center or the Myriad, but it can be done. Get on the committee and get to work.

                  This was such a good commentary, that I have to agree. Most people know by the end of the powwow who is going to be sitting on the committee for the next powwow. If you know them or get an address, phone, email, why not write to the different committees and give them the suggestions? It doesn't hurt to make suggestions OR to ask a question. The only thing they can do is say no.

                  I don't understand why they charge dancers anyway to compete, I always thought that was some ****....LOL You are gonna pay your head staff, your drummers, furnish rooms, meal tickets, and then make everyone else pay to dance? Wierd, just wierd.

                  I heard there was not gonna be a winter PI, what's up with that? And I was actually planning on going to MN in the freakin winter too....LOL Oh well, I'm sure there is another winter powwow somewhere...
                  sigpic This is how I dance when your standing next to me...

                  "Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the Dogs of War..."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yeah its hard to pay for powwowin... especially when gas has been so expensive! These days, working at the school district, getting paid only once a month... i get to travel once a month... or so. then im broke the rest of the month. I have 2 kids and its soooo tough. This thread made me think of the iwasil powwow... it used to be just huge! best of the best of the northwest... and beyond. Then they made the mistake of having the powwow in the Tacoma Dome... the admission was $20/weekend, outrageous consession prices and you couldnt bring in food. they actually checked EVERYONES bags at the entrance. They lost a lot of respect from the community...

                    I hope they regain it... iwasil is a great organization...
                    Love the Dance...
                    Feel the Drum

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hey everyone, I really like this thread because I can totally relate to it! I am very blessed in the "per-cap" area (lol), and am a full time college student with two kids, BUT, I can totally relate to this thread. There have been plenty of times when we couldn't go to a pow-wow because we simply couldn't afford it...two kids under the age of 8 eat SOO much! I am also on the pow-wow committee for our hometown pow-wow (Saginaw Chippewa Pow-wow, first wekend of August ) and would like to say in some sort of defense (even though I am in no way offended or anything like that), that we don't charge for admission, parking, or camping. BUT, the town of Mt. Pleasant got smart (from a business standpoint anyway) and starting increasing the hotel rates specifically during our pow-wow weekend only...crazy huh! So, I guess in our situation it's not by choice that the hotel's are more expensive during our pow-wow. We definatly try to make it affordable to everyone while having the highest prize money in Michigan. So...you all should come to our pow-wow if you've nevr been, it's a great time
                      :49:

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cute_jinglin_sweetie
                        Hey everyone, I really like this thread because I can totally relate to it! I am very blessed in the "per-cap" area (lol), and am a full time college student with two kids, BUT, I can totally relate to this thread. There have been plenty of times when we couldn't go to a pow-wow because we simply couldn't afford it...two kids under the age of 8 eat SOO much! I am also on the pow-wow committee for our hometown pow-wow (Saginaw Chippewa Pow-wow, first wekend of August ) and would like to say in some sort of defense (even though I am in no way offended or anything like that), that we don't charge for admission, parking, or camping. BUT, the town of Mt. Pleasant got smart (from a business standpoint anyway) and starting increasing the hotel rates specifically during our pow-wow weekend only...crazy huh! So, I guess in our situation it's not by choice that the hotel's are more expensive during our pow-wow. We definatly try to make it affordable to everyone while having the highest prize money in Michigan. So...you all should come to our pow-wow if you've nevr been, it's a great time
                        You know, JUST because your committee is trying to make it more affordable despite higher hotel rates.....we'd like to come to your powwow! Do you guys have a website?
                        Ipsica Waci
                        Wicahpi Eyoyambya Olowan

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yeah, Saginaw Chips are pretty cool. Not too expensive there. I usually go to Super 8. At least it don't break me. A good time there. Good singin' and dancing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I used to be on the committee for a very well known powwow out here in Eastern Wa... nameless...
                            I decided to quit because of the financial choices they made. Its a good sized powwow... not HUGE... And the last year i was on the committee, they decided to add a bunch of catagories... they divided women's tradish into Sr Adults, buckskin, shell dress, and high step. AND men's into southern, northern, and chicken.
                            so when they were calling out the winners, they announced that they were only paying out for 1st place in the adult cat's... my sister and i were so embarrased! being dancers, we know how it is... when there are 3 in your catagory... you tend to spend your money, knowing you'll have money later... I felt so bad for some dancers... i didnt hear of anyone getting stuck there... but it very well could have happened... they could have announced this earlier... we were on the committee and didnt even know about it until she announced it! we even had trophies for 2nd and 3rd and didnt even hand those out...

                            it really bothered us and so we stopped working with them... at the last meeting, after the powwow... they were talking about charging for registration, parking, camping... all these things...

                            My sister and i were like, you are going to lose this powwow... no one will come...
                            its not a huge, big name powwow...
                            VERY UNORGANIZED!!!
                            Love the Dance...
                            Feel the Drum

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Do the traditional powwows have to worry about insurance and such?

                              I guess the big comp powwows gotta get the money from somewhere for those big prizes. Plus Im sure the arena gets a large cut.

                              Anyone here run an arena powwow that can give a breakdown of costs (that is if you dont want to incriminate yourself )
                              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

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