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  • Dancing as a Sport

    Powwow dancing has many elements associated with sports. Training, mental preparation and costs associated with participation are some elements incommon with other sports.

    As a sport, powwow competition dancing can be broken down by age, sex and dance category. Prizes are rewarded as an outcome to powwow dancing. "Calcutta" is a form of betting on individual dancers. All are sports related.

    Powwow dancing as a sport, is open for interpretation by both participants and judges. In this interpretation, the traditional cultural element - becomes not as important as style, execution, stamina and showmanship.

    What do you think?
    Last edited by WhoMe; 12-08-2008, 10:57 AM.
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    Isn't it how it is now?....you don't see much of a traditional element there....but you get people who claim to be that, but are just in it for the money.....which makes the world go round....
    sigpic

    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

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    • #3
      I believe that most powwows -- especially big $$$ contest powwows -- are, in general, no more noteworthy than rodeos: a pan movement creating a culture unto its own.

      Sort of like NASCAR.

      Here, I have garnered a superficial reputation as a strict anti-traditionalist, but friends know this is not inherently true. I just place rigid scrutiny upon what is to be respected, and why.

      Dancing as sport is just another example of things going well beyond original design, being distorted due to uncontrollable factors, and leading to an end result that is undesired. To wit:

      Originally posted by WhoMe
      In this interpretation, the traditional cultural element - becomes not as important as style, execution, stamina and showmanship.
      Unfortunately, there's very little that we can do about it.

      Somehow, tribes, groups, organizations, clubs, entities, societies, etc., have grown to believe that you must have, hold, support, organize, throw, or otherwise "put on" a powwow to have traditional, Native, validity. That's just not true: typical powwows don't make individuals, or organizations, anything real.

      Powwows equate to true traditional? The two become more disjointed -- and disconnected -- every year. Dancing as sport seems merely a symptom, but it is a BIG one and a great topic for discussion.

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      • #4
        I agree that the Big Money Powwows have created something that I dont think was intended back in the day

        And Powwows are not Traditional in their present form!
        We have beat that one to death on many a thread here on the boards.

        The very thought that a person would go to Gathering or Red Earth to seek out Traditional values would be Hilarious!!!
        They have there own place though a way for some who live on the Powwow trail to make some what of a living. Not a great living but a living. But in that form its about the money and how you look...

        As for dancers being a form of athlete I agree for the most part many of the categories attract those that are good athletes at some level of sports
        ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ - Anigiduwagi
        Till I Die!

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        • #5
          To be the devil's advocate...maybe competition is a traditional value!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by eap7 View Post
            To be the devil's advocate...maybe competition is a traditional value!

            u sed it! and i concur....back in da day there were friendly enemies, i guess would be the term? Say for instance you and a fren were always trying to one-up one another, a young boy would try to out do his buddy on how many coups he may count, or who could play games the best....women would try to out do eachother on their handiwork n such. Not for spite, but simply as a way of friendly competition. Though, i cannot say for any other parts of Indian country, this instance holds true in the old ways of my peepz.
            .o0~CLAY~0o.

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            • #7
              I think i'm gonna be a pow-wow bookie! place your bets now for Spotlight 29! :)
              The only time its too late to start dancing is when you're dead.

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              • #8
                i think thats why we have competition powwows AND traditional powwows. I'm not saying that a traditional powwow is the be all and end all of a traditional way, it's not. but at a small traditional powwow where you get 25 or 40 bucks, your not there for the cash, even one that pays 100 is at best going to break you even. For the most part I think it's about just being us, with a bit of your everyday kinda traditional stuff going on. ya really want to learn something then you better being going somewhere else when your not at powwow...like visiting Grandma! I think dancers are athletes in the sense that we are athletic by dancing if nothing else, and I believe this was valued. If all we valued was a good ceremony and great clothes we would not have survived. i also believe that some level of competition is good. Now at the traditional powwows I go to the competition is very different & minimal, with minimal payout, sometimes the payout is knowing you won. I win the potato dance alot (10 bucks and bragging rights) the benifit is my kids work there azz off trying to get good enough to beat me. And getting exersize is a good thing, especially when it's tied in with their culture. The good thing about powwows is that it is ALL of this, I think its good that they are not the center of tradition, if they were then the wannabe / hobbist problem would be a catastrophe.
                OK so I rambled, but I hope you all kind find my point in here anyway.

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                • #9
                  ok this topic caught my eye....but for a different reason then i thought..
                  it brought something 2 mind....
                  so If you dance... and you got to competition powwows to compete and win money...Does that make you a "paid athlete"? A "Professional Athlete" so to speak?
                  an incident / bad memory comes 2 mind with this.. topic... so just curious as 2 what people think

                  when i was younger and dancing... i never really considered it a "sport" i just liked to dance and compete (just like i would for basketball) and the fact that when i won i got money was a bonus... it helped pay for my next powwow... i NEVER considered dancing a sport....

                  You can't double team a Triple Threat



                  The Black Hills are NOT for sale



                  ps. i'm still the greatest~n i'm prettylol

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by o_styo_jngl View Post
                    u sed it! and i concur....back in da day there were friendly enemies, i guess would be the term? Say for instance you and a fren were always trying to one-up one another, a young boy would try to out do his buddy on how many coups he may count, or who could play games the best....women would try to out do eachother on their handiwork n such. Not for spite, but simply as a way of friendly competition. Though, i cannot say for any other parts of Indian country, this instance holds true in the old ways of my peepz.
                    But they had sportsmanship also. Nobody shakin their heads when they felt they should've placed higher. Just said, "I'll get you next time." Basketball/hockey tourneys also used to be for trophies, not big money. "FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME!"

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                    • #11
                      If powwow dancing is a sport, then how well a dancer dances in his competition should be the only thing that counts?

                      Or does the dancer's outfit, reputation, dancing intertribals and grand entries also make a dancer a champion?
                      Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WhoMe View Post

                        Or does the dancer's outfit, reputation, dancing intertribals and grand entries also make a dancer a champion?
                        I like that thought. But a dancers regalia...it's a show of skill if you made it, but if you bought it then it would be a show of money wouldn't it?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WhoMe View Post
                          If powwow dancing is a sport, then how well a dancer dances in his competition should be the only thing that counts?

                          Or does the dancer's outfit, reputation, dancing intertribals and grand entries also make a dancer a champion?
                          The best that I can come up with is boxing.

                          Multiple judges, human error, subjective, the title-holder must be definitively beaten or ties go to him, etc. Even in that sport, it's not a vacuum. Where the event takes place, reputation, showmanship, style points...

                          Inter-tribals and Grand Entries are just done to ensure the contest participant doesn't merely dress for his/her contest. How do you grade, "showing up" for Grand Entry or Inter-tribals? (Besides marking them as being present during spot checks.)

                          1. It should just be the dancing.
                          2. It's not.
                          3. Being a good dancer doesn't make you a "champion," anyway.

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                          • #14
                            When I find myself getting real deep I ponder what my bro Sam said....

                            "Screwing and Chewing....."
                            "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."

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                            • #15
                              The element of dancing is a personal thing. Some people just love to dance, not only our style but also ballroom, and jigging and line dancing and so on. I must say many of our people are naturally good dancers! Many of our powwow dancers train to keep up their stamina and agility. It's a great form of exercise as it requires good posture which in turn helps us breath better, walk better and look better. It is good for us emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Powwows are a social time for our people, a time to visit and compete in a good and healthy way. Our ceremonies and prayers back home differ on that spiritual level. We don't bring the bigger aspects of our prayers to the powwow circle but at the same time respect some of the traditional things that go on, like smudging, and offers of tobacco, any jingle dress healing dances that take place, etc. But to us, powwows are more on a social note with lots of good visiting old friends 'n making new ones. If you take dancing as a sport, thats great - which ever way you look at it, it's healthy and good for us.
                              "Gaa wiin daa-aangoshkigaazo ahaw enaabiyaan gaa-inaabid"

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