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  • Handicap at Powwows

    Are you handicapped or a caretaker for someone who is?

    Do the powwows you go to make adequate provisions for the handicapped?

    Are most powwows financially able to provide handicapped accommodations?
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    I sometimes take my kid brother who is disabled. Powwows are very hit and miss on their level of accessibility. I understand providing services can be very expensive and not all venues can be fully ADA compliant.

    In my local area, Austin ISD powwow does about the best job. They even have ASL interpreters. And team interpreters for an all-day event cost a pretty penny. Most indoor powwows around here have bathrooms that are at least marginally accessible.

    Of all the places we take my brother the least negative attention is paid at Native events. There is an acceptance that people like my brother are part of the Creator's plan. This generates an ease that we don't always encounter in the dominant culture. There is a lot less of the actively not-seeing the handicapped person, that you get with many non-Indians. This was even more pronounced when I was a child back in the 70's. We were asked to leave churches, swimming pools, campgrounds, playgrounds, theaters (the middle of a public street once); we were never asked to leave a powwow.

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    • #3
      One of the guys I used to sing with has severly limited mobility and has to use a walker or cane to get around, and even that can be hit or miss.
      Over the years he has figured out, or others have kept an eye out, for which events are reasonable for him to go to. Generally speaking indoor events work- they are usually at schools so there are facilities and ramps. Outdoor events can be very hit or miss.

      Sitting on committees I can see how this happens(not condoning it, and think it shouldn't happen) but; you have to take affirmative steps to ask the port-a-johnie folks to bring a handicapped accesible unit, campgrounds are wonderful for the kids and nice for a weekend pow-wow, but unless they have been upgraded they are really hard to get around in a wheelchair or with a walker.

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      • #4
        I am handicapped and love powwows like everyone else. What I dont like is when people stand in front of me so I cant see the dancing and that is overly "annoying" when the ones standing in front of me actually turn around and look at me and then turn right back around. As as accessibilty goes, the powwows I go to arent too bad except for not having accessable restrooms.

        I think people should be made more aware of what handicapped people have to deal with when they go to powwows.

        theres my 2 cents worth...

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        • #5
          Most of our real traditional powwows, the elders always come first, so I've noticed most powwows they make it easier for elders and handicapped people, like ramps to certain seating and what not, and always handicapped bathrooms and porta potties. Sure there might be certain instances like at outdoor powwows where the ground is just naturally hard for wheelchairs and what not, but always someone to give a hand and help them get to where they need to. Like I know of some blind and disabled singers around here, there is always someone most of the time who help them move around. It should be natural for us to help those who need it, no one should really have to ask. Many of us who dance, we aren't just dancing for ourselves, but for the elders, and people who can't. So I always try to give a hand when I notice someone needs it.


          Then every once in a while you see someone who is mentally challenged come out and dance and move around. I know sometimes it can be a hassle, like they might try to touch your feathers or run into you and such, but I understand that they are that way and not intending to cause harm. I see people sometimes get mad, or even joke about people like that and it really makes me mad. But bringing someone like that to a powwow as a caretaker, you need to make sure you really watch them close, because they can cause a lot of damage, but don't mean too, or end up wandering around in the ring in front of people. So you gotta be real responsible in that way. It makes me feel good to see people bring handicapped people like that to powwows because you can tell that they enjoy it and it touches them. It's a good feeling to see that when the drum makes them feel good. It just shows you how those drums and songs have power, because they can feel it too, even if they can't understand it as much in some cases.
          www.myspace.com/anishtradish

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          • #6
            some of the pow wows i have gone to the mcs will say to stand if you are able to. i have mobility and standing issues, so i stand as long as possible.
            Bahnisiain

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            • #7
              It makes me feel good to see people bring handicapped people like that to powwows because you can tell that they enjoy it and it touches them. It's a good feeling to see that when the drum makes them feel good. It just shows you how those drums and songs have power, because they can feel it too, even if they can't understand it as much in some cases.
              Ditto that. Well said. Watching people get out there in spite of their physical (or other) limitations is one thing that inspired me to give it a try.

              Many of the powwows around here set up a canopy with chairs for the Elders, handicapped, or whoever might need to get out of the sun. Usually there is a handicapped accessible portajohn. Can't imagine maneuvering some of the hilly areas, but have seen people do it.

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              • #8
                okay here goes...........many of you in Virginia know who I am I'm a "wheelie" dancer..lol. While I go to most powwows inside and outside I haven't had too many problems. Porta Johns are usually at least one that is handicapped and as far as the ground I don't usually have problems I don't usually go if it's going to rain (shouldn't get "Queenie" wet.........lol.) One of the problems I do run across is spectators either standing in front of me or sitting in my "parking" spot while I'm out dancing. I do get strange looks that I'm in a wheelchair and dance but I've been dancing since I can remember and been in the chair for a few years now and I'm not going to stop dancing until I can no longer "drive" around the circle. I dance for family that have passed and those who can't anymore. As long as the Creator gives the means to dance I'll be out there. So If you see a "wheelie" out there dancing in a orange chair feel free to say Hello.
                Okay I'll get off my soapbox now........lol

                Becca

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