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First PowWow ever...

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  • First PowWow ever...

    Went to my first PowWow yesterday, (Saturday). Thought I'd tell you all what I thought about it. It was in TN, and I'm not going to say exactly where, because I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings in case they are on here too, but I must say that I was a bit disappointed. Part of that may have been my fault, since I didn't get to go on Friday, and Saturday, but I don'yt think so.

    First off, I missed Grand Entry, because my dh & I decided to ride there on the bike, and TN has a helmet law. Well, we've done it before with no helmets, but of course this time, we got pulled over as soon as we hit the 1st town, lol. The TN state trooper that pulled us over said, "Where are ya'll from?"
    I was like, "Kentucky". Duh.
    Then he goes, "Where in KY?"
    I said where, then he says, "You guys live close enough to TN to know that ya'll have to wear helmets. Where are ya'll headed?"
    My dh & me both said, "To the PowWow", to which the trooper said, "What kind of a powwow?"
    I just looked at him like, wtf?
    Anyhow, after that, I really didn't say much, because that was just the stupidest question I ever heard! What did he mean, what kind of PowWow? I wanted to say, Intertribal, no competition, LOL!
    So we ended up with a $165 fine, and we went back home the 40 miles, where I suggested we go back in the car.
    So we were late.

    When we finally made it, I was real excited to actually be there. I could hear the flute from over the hill, even though I couldn't see anything. It was in a beautiful spot, overlooking the water, but the first thing I noticed was that there weren't very many people there.
    I kind of expected that, because where we live, there isn't much interest in such things, so it wasn't surprising. There was a guy telling some stories and playing the flute, and he was really good, so we walked around listening to that while we looked in the vendor booths.

    They started some kids dances, but it was like dances for any kids, not just dancers, and it didn't seem like they were really dancing at all, they were mainly walking around the circle.

    Then they finally had what they called an Intertribal, and all of the dancers, men & women, went into the circle. There were some that were actually dancing, and they were good. Then there were some others, who were the majority, and I don't know how NDN they were, but most of them loked like they weren't any more NDN than I am, and they weren't really even dancing!! They were doing like the kids were, just walking around, moving their feet a little.

    I do have to say that there were two guys and two girls dancing that were actually NDN, and they were REALLY dancing, and they were wonderful and I just about teared up, but I had on sunglasses, so it was cool, LOL.

    There were a couple more dances, but I must have missed the ones I wanted to see or something, because they called for Men's Fancy, and nobody came to the circle. Then they called Men's Straight, but again, nobody came to the circle. So they called Women's Shawl, and the two girls that did the real dancing before danced, and some white girls danced too, but they just looked sort of dumb. Maybe I just expected something different, but I was not expecting to see so many white people dressed in regalia.

    One thing that was so stupid I almost busted out laughing was this: In front of us was this white family - mom, dad, this HUGE teenage daughter. The daughter had purchased a turkey-feather fan, and was fanning herself with it. When they decided to leave, the mom said, "Where did you put your feather?"
    The daughter, who had put her 'feather' in her fanny pack, says, "I put it in here, I want the spirits to stay with me."!!!
    I just about fell out of the chair! I couldn't believe she actually said that!

    So, anyway, I guess I missed all of the dancing I wanted to see, or else there just weren't enough people to do them, I don't know.

    We ended up walking around the vendors again, I got a taco, which was pretty good, except they were out of cheese, LOL! I bought a pair of earrings from an elder who was on oxygen, they are beaded owls. Kinda cute.

    I think that the 'tribes' represented there were supposedly Cherokee & Choctaw. There was an older lady, (Choctaw), selling things at a booth, and I think her twin sister at another one. Here's another funny one - when I was at the 2nd lady's booth, a chick came up beside me and asked the price of a necklace. It was pretty, beaded in pink & white. The lady said, $5, which sounded good to me, but this chick walked off from it, like it was too expensive. Then, this chick and her fat sister looked up and saw those roach clip things with the feathers hanging down. She goes, "How much are these?" The lady says, "$1". Then both of these chicks are like, "$1!!!", so that's what they bought! The two Choctaw ladies then began having a few words to each other in their own language, LOL, all the time watching the 2 fat white chicks walk off with their stupid roach clips, ROFL!!! I can just imagine what they were talking about, lol.

    OK, didn't mean to make this so long. I just don't know if I want to go to any more PowWows that aren't out West. I was hoping to see something beautiful. Instead, I kept seeing that the dancers didn't look much like they wanted to be there, one was chewing gum in the circle!!! Is that right? Didn't seem like something one should do in the circle.

    OK, so you guys tell me, was I expecting too much, or was this PowWow an embarrassment to PowWows everywhere?
    I wanna hear anything you all have to say about it.
    If you cannot find what you seek within, you will not find it without.

  • #2
    One thing I forgot to say...

    The drum was wonderful. That was the best part of the whole thing.
    If you cannot find what you seek within, you will not find it without.


    • #3
      Well I just happened to have dropped by the same "Powwow" that you're talking about. I stopped by on the way back from another one in Franklin,TN. I will NEVER go back to the one you're talking about. The ONE drum they had was ok but they were fairly young and I think they only knew about one or two songs. The two Navajo girls (shawl dancers) that you were talking about were the only ones who had any reason to be out there. The rest of it was disappointing at best. The emcee did NOT know what he was doing and totally disrespected the elders that were there. He pissed the color guard off (who traveled all the way from N.C. and are very experienced) because he didn't know how to conduct the entry and half the time he just stood there looking to the drum trying to figure out what to do and say next. The council that invited everyone (the vendors) skipped out and didn't pay but tried to smooth it over by giving free booth space. I don't know what exactly they were trying to accomplish at this so called "powwow" but I know that there were several people who were very offended. I suggest you go to the one in Hopkinsville the second weekend in Sept (I think its competition) or the one October 15-17 @ FourCorners in Nashville. I think you'll have a much better experience at either of those.


      • #4
        Thanks so much! Well, looks like there was much more to the story than I ever imagined. That's really too bad. I thank you for letting me know about the one in Hopkinsville. That's not too far away. I appreciate your comments!
        If you cannot find what you seek within, you will not find it without.


        • #5
          No prob. Guess I'll c u at the one in Hopkinsville then? Ayeee!!


          • #6
            That would be very cool! CU there!
            If you cannot find what you seek within, you will not find it without.


            • #7
              I've been to PW's where it was like their 1st Annual, and it's usually small, but this one sounds sorryful..Sounds like they didnt even take the time to learn first and then maybe be ready to try, which is a sign of respect. Some people think they can just go ahead and do cultural things that have spritual power without truly respecting it. However, the good thing is it brings this cultural experience to those who may otherwise not have the opportunity to be exposed to it. But yah, keep on the pow wow trail!!


              • #8
                Thanks! It was their 4th annual. I don't know how the others were. I know that I'm impatiently waiting until I go to the next one though! :supperhap (Somewhere else, of course!)
                If you cannot find what you seek within, you will not find it without.


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