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The evolution of powwows and the evoltion of Native culture

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  • The evolution of powwows and the evoltion of Native culture

    Arlight... here it is :

    I'm not from the Plains or "Heart Land".... My family has been on the n.e. coast (First Nations) for countless generations and so, naturally, I got opinions that seem to differ from alot of other NDNs that I run into in the states---


    --so,

    Do you think that the "powwow" of present day should evolve due to each region's wants and needs--- or do you favor the "pan-indian" (and, sorry, but very plains-favoring) model and believe it should stay like that ?

    What about new dances ? Should a dance society that is "new" or "very different" be allowed to dance at all powwow or only at their home reserve ?


    I am not here to claim either way is right or wrong. I do have my opinion, obviously, but I am very interested to hear everyone's feedback on this issue.

    Should we allow and encourage powwows to become more "nation-specific" or should we keep up with the "pan-indian" movement that has spread the "powwow" around the continent ?

    The pan-indian movement was what it was.. but should it continue ?
    The "plains-indian influence" is what it is... but should it continue ?


    (* and when I mean nation-specific, I don't just mean singing in different languages... I mean.. actually being a very different experience. We all know that most powwows are the same these days.. so what I am refering to is a real variation between reserve to reserve )

    p.s. Also.. sorry for using "plains" so much... but i figure everyone will know what I am refering to if I use that word.

  • #2
    Originally posted by IlnuSoldier View Post
    Do you think that the "powwow" of present day should evolve due to each region's wants and needs--- or do you favor the "pan-indian" (and, sorry, but very plains-favoring) model and believe it should stay like that ?
    It is what it is. Modern powwows have strong roots in plains culture. As the evolution of powwows continues, indigenous and multicultural participation will continue to widen.


    Originally posted by IlnuSoldier View Post
    What about new dances ?
    A renaissance of older dances have flourished at powwows. Among these are the grass dance, jingle dress dance and prairie chicken dance.

    Some dances that are tribal specific are "new" to different regions. Among these are The Alaskan tribal dances, California Bird Dances, Southeastern Stomp Dances and Six Nation's Smoke Dances. All can be seen regionally at modern powwows.


    Originally posted by IlnuSoldier View Post
    Should a dance society that is "new" or "very different" be allowed to dance at all powwow or only at their home reserve ?
    Modern powwows are truly intertribal. At one powwow a month ago, there were warbonnet/buckskin suit dancers, East Coast Dancers, Alaskan Tlingit Dancers, Traditional Navajo Dancers, Crow Style Dancers, Six Nations Dancers and Great Lakes Woodland Dancers all dancing to a common drum beat with the contemporary powwow dancers.

    "That is one of the beauties of powwows today."


    Originally posted by IlnuSoldier View Post
    Should we allow and encourage powwows to become more "nation-specific" or should we keep up with the "pan-indian" movement that has spread the "powwow" around the continent ?
    There are no powwow police to enforce either option. Powwows continue to spread beyond the continent. There are powwows in almost every continent in Europe, in Russia, one in Japan and one has taken place in Iraq. Heck, there is talk about taking powwows south of the equator!


    Originally posted by IlnuSoldier View Post
    The pan-indian movement was what it was.. but should it continue ?
    Powwows will continue to be intertribal. I don't think there will ever be a powwow limited to only one tribe, where visitors from other tribes are not allowed.


    Originally posted by IlnuSoldier View Post
    The "plains-indian influence" is what it is... but should it continue ?
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by WhoMe View Post
      Heck, there is talk about taking powwows south of the equator!

      ]


      I have heard of this around here. We have a real high population of mexican/central and south Americans here, and they often come to our powwows, some even come dressed in their traditional regalia and have their sea shell horns and everything, and will perform some of their dances. Always glad when people from other tribes come and share their culture with us. Lotta powwows in the old days where times when we came together to trade and learn things from each other and no doubt did cultural practices get exchanged. Pipestone artifacts from right here in Minnesota, has been found all the way down in Argentina and so on.

      I think there is even a old prophecy about the people of the eagle reuniting with the people of the condor. Where the people of the north will come together with the people of the south. I have heard about this in a few different places, and there are a lot of groups set up that try to bring cultures together.

      I mean I doubt one day I'll ever be blowing a sea shell, or smudging myself with copal, but many of the tribes down there faced the same problems we did, and are going through them right now. Especially right now with all of those tribes who still live in the forests, and are constantly battling for their lands being cut down by the governments and logging companies. Many of the tribes down there still have had no contact with the outside world, therefor really have no means of standing up for themselves and I think it's important people speak up about it o at least educate ourselves and others to bring awareness. Especially those of us here in America. Many of the products we consume come from these lands that are being taken away from other Native people. Sorry, don't mean to rant..but it is the truth.


      So I would support any type of powwow or event, to help reunite us, because we are all Natives, the only thing that divides us I believe are made boarders.
      Last edited by anishtradish; 02-11-2009, 09:53 PM.
      www.myspace.com/anishtradish

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      • #4
        Yep...it is what it is.

        Yea.. I agree on those points...

        It is what it is... my only concern is that "fashion trends" of different tribes will do just as much cultural deletion as European Assimiliation...

        .. but I am not the "culture police" nor would I ever pretend to be such a thing.

        The flow of history and culture is decided by the current generation... and if they want to drop their elder's ways for another tribe's ways or a pan-indian way... then that is their choice. I would regret it, but I am only myself and my power extends only to the outer layer of my own skin. So that puts that to rest.


        I just sometimes find it ackward when I see and hear about "Indian Culture".... like we are all one giant Nation.... nevermind all the historical, cultural, religious, linguistic differences....

        I'm guilty of the same things though eh? I have not been involved in any powwows for years 'cause I got tired of the "Rodeo" and needed something more. So, I assume they have changed alot in the years I wasn't attending.

        I started going to them again, but they seemed very much like they use to...

        ... which is why I was asking the question about evolution of the gatherings...


        Anyway, just my thoughts and I appreciate your replies. They help to provide insight into other ways of looking that I ---being only one man-- miss.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by IlnuSoldier View Post
          Yea.. I agree on those points...

          It is what it is... my only concern is that "fashion trends" of different tribes will do just as much cultural deletion as European Assimiliation....
          I disagree. As a living culture (as opposed to a dead one, such as ancient Greece, etc...) we adapt and change as time goes on. It's natural and part of evolution. It doesn't mean that we necessarily are giving up our culture. In fact, some of these "fashion trends" have started to bring back more "traditional" designs and styles.
          I'm not mean....You're just a sissy


          http://www.mytribalspace.com/tribal/...ame_ndngirl70/
          http://www.myspace.com/ndngirl70

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          • #6
            Alright then... which is it ?

            Either the people are trying to maintain ancient cultural traditions

            OR

            They were taking on whatever fashion trend come along at the time ...


            You cannot be a serious traditionalist and a pan-indianist at the same time..

            --or, at least, I don't see the logic behind that.

            Either I dance my tribe's dances and follow my tribe's customs and ways---

            -- or I borrow from a dozen or so tribes..



            So...I'm wondering if the word "Indian" now refers to "I originally came from a tribe, but I've gone Pan-Indian...probaby getting most of my culture from the Lakota."

            and others who are more traditional need to not be called "Indian"..but refered to specifically by their Nation's name ?


            Where is the logic ?

            How can we defend "native ways" if those ways are always shifting and changing without any real direction
            ---- just our whims ?

            How can a soldier act properly if the ROE are changed every other day ?

            I'm not saying I'm right or that anyone should agree with me...

            ... I just ask that you consider my opinion for a few minutes before dismissing it.

            Comment


            • #7
              I did. I considered it....then I responded. I did not insult you or say you were wrong to have your own opinion. I simply stated that I did not agree with and stated mine.
              I'm not mean....You're just a sissy


              http://www.mytribalspace.com/tribal/...ame_ndngirl70/
              http://www.myspace.com/ndngirl70

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              • #8
                Yes, I know..

                I meant "for future post".


                What I'm trying to ask is..

                (No offense to Lakota, just using you as an example 'cause everyone is trying to be like you anyway)

                How can adopting the culture of the Lakota help me ? The Lakota ways are very different from my nation's ways...

                ..So how can adopting a different culture help me ?

                I mean... people are always saying how bad it is to adopted White man's culture because it destroys the native way..

                .. well.. Lakota culture is a different culture--- VERY different in some cases --- so how is that any different ?

                How can learning Lakota words and religion help me with my own tribes' words and religion ?

                IF you say "Cause they are not white. They are another tribe"

                Then why don't I go and learn Tibetan and Mongolian ways... I mean.. they are not White people and they are a horse tribe people as well ...


                My thought is that your playing with fire and you can't maintain one culture by mixing with another.

                If you mix them, then DO NOT complain about how the original culture was lost.

                p.s.
                If I'm not Lakota.. but I learn Lakota things... doesn't that make me a "wannabe" ...
                Where is that line at eh ?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Many tribes have and continue to contribute to the evolution of the powwow.

                  To some tribes, powwow IS culture.

                  It is very possible to participate in powwows without loosing tribal identity. Lot's of Natives participate in both tribal specific ceremonies and powwows. I have seen lots of powwow people at ceremonies.
                  Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by IlnuSoldier View Post
                    Yes, I know..


                    If I'm not Lakota.. but I learn Lakota things... doesn't that make me a "wannabe" ...
                    Where is that line at eh ?
                    Perhaps one of the most profound questions asked on this board. If you are not from a Great Plains or Western Great Lakes group (those are the groups whose cultures contributed to what we know today as the powwow), then you are adopted the ways of another. Not your own ways, but the ways of another. Sit back, think about it. Wow.

                    There's so much that could be said, discussed, or even debated on this. Maybe we shouldn't given the makeup of the participants?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Perhaps one of the most profound questions asked on this board. If you are not from a Great Plains or Western Great Lakes group (those are the groups whose cultures contributed to what we know today as the powwow), then you are adopted the ways of another. Not your own ways, but the ways of another. Sit back, think about it. Wow.
                      Hmm...ya know, you're right. That is something to ponder.

                      Many people where I live do not wear plains style regalia. They make a great effort to find out what their ancestors would have worn, and go with that. Ironically, sometimes east coasters wearing their own clothing are rediculed and called names for not "doing it right".
                      What you may not see in a powwow picture is that some of these folks are also learning their history, their languages, their songs, their dances, etc. They have no interest in taking from other cultures, but do enjoy gathering at Intertribal powwows to dance, visit, and eat your frybread.
                      Last edited by beeleaf; 02-13-2009, 12:10 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by beeleaf View Post
                        Hmm...ya know, you're right. That is something to ponder.

                        Many people where I live do not wear plains style regalia. They make a great effort to find out what their ancestors would have worn, and go with that. Ironically, sometimes east coasters wearing their own clothing are rediculed and called names for not "doing it right".
                        What you may not see in a powwow picture is that some of these folks are also learning their history, their languages, their songs, their dances, etc. They have no interest in taking from other cultures, but do enjoy gathering at Intertribal powwows to dance, visit, and eat your frybread.
                        But... east coast native, in your example, didn't dance Plains style dances, so even though they are wearing their clothes, they are still participating in an event that was not theirs. There are, actually, not doing powwow "right", if there is such a thing. Could a person show up at a Green Corn ceremony dressed as a men's fancy dancer and participate? Not in any of the places I've been invited to.

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                        • #13
                          But... east coast native, in your example, didn't dance Plains style dances, so even though they are wearing their clothes, they are still participating in an event that was not theirs.
                          Yeah, that's true, for the most part. Guess it goes back to the idea of powwows evolving and spreading to other areas. Most of the dances are plains style, but not all.

                          It does make sense to have a way for drum and intertribal dancers to be on the same page.

                          What do some of y'all from the plains think of powwow being done everywhere?

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                          • #14
                            Don't forget how mobile we have become in modern times. We can easily hop on a plane or jump in our car and travel to farther regions. With the internet we can see dances and hear songs that we would not have otherwise seen. I don't think that's a bad thing. Just because I have seen bird singing on a webcast doesn't mean that I'm going to go out and do it, but I think every time I can experience the traditions of other tribes I am enriched.

                            Expanding on this, due to our mobility many of us live far from our tribal lands or reservations. If we were limited to only traveling "home" for ceremonies and activities as a means of particiapting in our culture, some of us could go months or even years without attending a dance. Local powwows give us a chance to "connect" in a way in between those times.

                            We can't overlook the role that adoption (dressing) and permission plays in some particpating in dances that would not traditionally be "theirs" by heritage. I am not of a Great Lakes tribe, but my daughter has been given permission to learn about dancing jingle by someone who has the right to give such a permission. Undertaking a dance or practice that has been given by permission doesn't mean giving up your tribal identity. You're not losing anything this way - I think you're gaining!

                            Others have been "dressed" by families of other tribes and given the right to wear that tribe's regalia. Is that not okay?

                            Finally, your question of whether powwows should evolve or change regionally is a moot one. They already have. If you go to a powwow in Oklahoma you will undoubtedly see gourd dancing - something you're not likely to see in the Great Lakes. If you go to a powwow here you may see a Woodland Dance Special or Chicken Dance, something you may not see in another region. Not sure why this would be a problem.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by NorthofAda View Post
                              Don't forget how mobile we have become in modern times. We can easily hop on a plane or jump in our car and travel to farther regions. With the internet we can see dances and hear songs that we would not have otherwise seen. I don't think that's a bad thing. Just because I have seen bird singing on a webcast doesn't mean that I'm going to go out and do it, but I think every time I can experience the traditions of other tribes I am enriched.

                              Expanding on this, due to our mobility many of us live far from our tribal lands or reservations. If we were limited to only traveling "home" for ceremonies and activities as a means of particiapting in our culture, some of us could go months or even years without attending a dance. Local powwows give us a chance to "connect" in a way in between those times.

                              We can't overlook the role that adoption (dressing) and permission plays in some particpating in dances that would not traditionally be "theirs" by heritage. I am not of a Great Lakes tribe, but my daughter has been given permission to learn about dancing jingle by someone who has the right to give such a permission. Undertaking a dance or practice that has been given by permission doesn't mean giving up your tribal identity. You're not losing anything this way - I think you're gaining!

                              Others have been "dressed" by families of other tribes and given the right to wear that tribe's regalia. Is that not okay?

                              Finally, your question of whether powwows should evolve or change regionally is a moot one. They already have. If you go to a powwow in Oklahoma you will undoubtedly see gourd dancing - something you're not likely to see in the Great Lakes. If you go to a powwow here you may see a Woodland Dance Special or Chicken Dance, something you may not see in another region. Not sure why this would be a problem.
                              Good post...I tried to give you rep but it wouldn't let me
                              I'm not mean....You're just a sissy


                              http://www.mytribalspace.com/tribal/...ame_ndngirl70/
                              http://www.myspace.com/ndngirl70

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