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  • Intertribal dance question

    I am not Native American, but was introduced to Pow Wows at a memorial after the crossing of a friend in 2003. I have been to 3 since then, but have now decided to attend as many PowWows (and dance socials in winter) in my area as I can.

    Although 'the public' has been welcomed in the dance arena during the intertribal dances in whatever we wore at each of these Pow Wows, I feel that if I am going to attend more I should show respect and I have begun to make a shawl.

    I would wear respectful non-Native clothing except for my shawl. My question is whether or not it is appropriate for me to also make(or buy) a fan so that I may acknowledge the 'honor' beats as I have seen other women do.

    What is the best way for me to show respect and honor without looking like I'm just trying to pretend to be Native American?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Mezzobean
    I am not Native American, but was introduced to Pow Wows at a memorial after the crossing of a friend in 2003. I have been to 3 since then, but have now decided to attend as many PowWows (and dance socials in winter) in my area as I can.

    Although 'the public' has been welcomed in the dance arena during the intertribal dances in whatever we wore at each of these Pow Wows, I feel that if I am going to attend more I should show respect and I have begun to make a shawl.

    I would wear respectful non-Native clothing except for my shawl. My question is whether or not it is appropriate for me to also make(or buy) a fan so that I may acknowledge the 'honor' beats as I have seen other women do.

    What is the best way for me to show respect and honor without looking like I'm just trying to pretend to be Native American?
    Watch and ask questions (Dancers and elders that you admire) When you ask questions, offer tobacco. Do NOT try to make a "half baked attempt" at regalia. It just looks cheap! I personally don't see any problem with you having a fan, just don't "use" birds of prey unless you have a "card" illegal big time. There are some very nice painted feathers out there, that look real. A nice ribbon skirt and shawl are respectable. Do not copy anyone's designs, that is a big no-no. That's about all I can think of now. Just make sure you know what you are doing, before you step out there. Somone might ask you some questions, and you don't want to be put on the spot!

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you for your reply . . . I know about the restrictions on feathers. In my area there seem to be traders who sell fans made from turkey wings - I guess that's what I had in mind.

      I was glad to hear that you think a nice ribbon skirt would also be considered respectful and not 'half-baked' (which is exactly what I'm trying to avoid!) I will work on that once I have finished my shawl.

      Thank you again for the information.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi
        Mezzobean I would build up a friend network too.
        Asema Is Sacred
        Traditional Use, Not Misuse
        Wakan Tanka please have compassion on me.
        OK Niji we are running a train with red over yellow at this powwow.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am looking forward to building friendships at my local Pow Wows. I have been made to feel very welcome and have learned many things, and I hope that by showing proper respect I will continue to be welcomed and enjoy new friendships.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Mezzobean
            What kind of moccs are you gonna use?
            Last edited by White Powwow Dancer; 05-03-2005, 06:05 PM.
            Asema Is Sacred
            Traditional Use, Not Misuse
            Wakan Tanka please have compassion on me.
            OK Niji we are running a train with red over yellow at this powwow.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm not sure yet - I have mocs with the beaded Thunderbird design, but they will not be great for dancing, as they slip on (and off!) . . . so far I've only danced in sneakers! I was thinking of buying the kind that go up to your ankle (and tie) at the next Pow Wow I attend where there are traders . . .

              Do you have any other suggestions . . . Are certain mocs appropriate only for certain dances?

              Thanks in advance!

              Comment


              • #8
                I forgot to mention . . . I'll be away for 4 days (leaving now) so if anyone replies or sends PM please excuse if I don't answer until next week.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm not sure of the Powwows and Ceremonials in your area. I do echo and recommend that you start with the family that introduced you to our life styles. Ask them of their opinion and suggestions. This family will be your sponsor and introduce you to others. As you grow in this circle of friends you will grow in knowledge and respect. Don't jump in toooo soon. The shawl is good. The skirt is OK with your friends help. Maybe just stay with shoes at first. Let your friends again help you with the mocs is appropriate.

                  Just some thoughts on this idea. Again no knowledge of your area and ways, myself. Good luck.
                  BOB

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                  • #10
                    Thank you for your thoughts . . . Perhaps I should say that none of the Pow Wows I've attended so far have included any dance competitions. There have also been many non-Native American people at each of them (except for the first memorial) and the MCs and Arena Directors have taken a good deal of time explaining some of the most important 'protocol' before the Grand Entry, so that the public can participate without making disrespectful actions through ignorance. When they have made announcements of Intertribal dances they have invited the public specifically to enter the arena and join in.

                    These are the only times I have danced - with the exception of the times when all who are related to veterans were asked to join and honor them. As men in my family circle have served in both the South Pacific in WWII and in Vietnam and in the peacetime Navy, I felt it would have been wrong not to honor them in this way.

                    I am grateful for the introductions the family I know has already made for me, but I will not meet them at many of the Pow Wows even in my own area because of their schedules. My circle has grown a little wider at each gathering, mostly because people I do not know have been kind to speak with me and also invite me to join the dancing if I am just sitting.

                    Thank you again for your thoughts. I am looking forward to a summer of much learning!

                    Comment

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