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  • Shawl alternatives

    I've only been dancing for a short while and since I haven't got any NDN roots (none that I can find) I've been learning as I go. So here's a question I have and lots of feedback is appreciated. What do you think of using a wolf or coyote pelt instead of a shawl? I've seen several women doing this and not sure if it's proper. Also what do you think of using a folded US flag? Haven't seen this yet but the idea occured to me.

  • #2
    My answer is No, No and No! Wear a shawl or a blanket unless you want to look like you are in a circus!:(
    If you saw someone doing that and you thought it wasn't proper you are probably right!
    I think you are very smart for asking the question here in this forum before you copy something that is way out of line!
    You might also ask an elder of a tribe near you for guidance in dressing yourself. You may offend a lot of traditonal people by dressing inappropriately. This is a part of life that really means a lot to the old people and doing it incorrectly just serves to insult them and make a mockery of hundreds of years of traditon.
    I know you mean well and want to be respectful of the people you admire enough to want to emulate, so please continue to ask questions and strive to do it the right way, always!!
    Ah-ho! Thongia! Get-thigh-gyah-Hah! ("It's all good", in Kiowa!)

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    • #3
      I would have to agree with buckskin lady. Not only have I never seen that but I know if my Auntie did she would throw a fit... Ask questions before you make any decisions also think about who you ask not everyone is doing the right thing... Good Luck

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      • #4
        shawl alternatives

        Could'nt said any better than that buckskinlady !!!!! You are right. Please do not go out there like that. Also if you have seen someone doing that Im quite sure they dont know what they are doing.
        Life is more than what we see...

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        • #5
          Not to mention that, unless you are a decorated veteran, using a flag as a shawl would probably offend some veterans that would be at the powwows.

          And, IMO, a hide would be just plain hokey.

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          • #6
            Cheri,

            Definitely, save hokey for doing the hokey pokey & not the dance arena. I see enough hokey looking dancers at some of the powwows I go to in Ohio. :45: If you're going to doing something, it might as well be done the right way. Congrats to you for wanting to find out how to do things the right way. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: There are several knowledgable people here, so ask away if you're not sure of something. :39:

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            • #7
              good job buckskin lady:) :) :)

              definately ask questions before you do anything... :)
              "finding your best friend in life and love is glorious"

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              • #8
                Ayee! I've seen people doing this, and it is offensive. I've seen a lot of dancers with the pelt instead of a shawl. Some people tend to think "it looks Indian, so it must be Indian!" I can't stand that. They are obviously giving away the fact that they are wannabees....It was a good thing you asked:)
                TARHEEL BORN, TARHEEL BRED, WHEN I DIE I'LL BE TARHEEL DEAD!

                MizzQaqimat's Space

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                • #9
                  Thank you all so much for the answers! I've only seen the "pelt thing" twice and thought it looked a little strange.
                  I have talked to a Cherokee couple a few years ago about my being non Native and wanting to dance. I explained to them that I did a lot of watching and learning at the powwows, worked on my own regalia and decided I wanted to be a part of the Circle. They were happy about it and told me that being in the Circle had nothing to do with your bloodlines but what you feel in your heart. Also told me to be careful of how I decorate my regalia so as not to offend (NEVER!) and to respect their ways. So far I haven't had any problems. But I'm always willing to learn. Don't want to do the wrong thing! Thank's again!
                  ;)

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                  • #10
                    Speaking softly in the ladies forum.

                    Even a veteran would not use a folded flag as a shawl. The flag should never be used as clothing. If you wished to incorporate the idea of a flag as part of the decoration of the shawl that would be appropriate. Stars, Stripes, Bars or Maple leafs, etc. Or even applique or beadwork of a flag.

                    As the other ladies have mentioned, the key is to come up with a design that is your own, but correct within the appropriate traditions.

                    Speaking as a veteran.

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                    • #11
                      Personally, I've noticed alot of Northern Buckskin Dancers aren't even using shawls anymore. Instead they tend to have a beaded or appilqued purse. Granted the purses tend to be a bit, um big, but they still look good. As for Southern Women, from what I have seen they tend to have a shawl and a purse, just carried on opposite arms/hands.
                      Hey, that's just my frybread flavor, though!
                      Before you attempt to beat the odds, make sure you can survive the odds beating you!

                      Why do some people bother breathing when you know their brain isn't getting the oxygen?

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                      • #12
                        Thanks to everyone for jumping in on this topic with all your opinions and advice!! We are just one cool bunch of people!!!
                        To add to what FancyStar said, yeah, Southern Buckskin will wear a shawl over the left arm and a purse usually on the other.
                        But the shawls have been getting smaller and with bigger decoration on them, usually a big beaded medallion or applique to match their beadwork.
                        Some are just using a heavy rectangular piece of material with a little "sleeve" to put their forearm through and then decorated on the front and fringed with shawl fringe, ribbons or buckskin fringe.
                        It still has the idea of the traditional shawl, but it flows more with the fringe of the buckskin sleeve and is also decorated more.
                        But of course the traditionalists really frown on that. I was watching my 18 year old sister-in-law contest and she is barely 5 foot tall and, to me, her huge shawl over her arm was overpowering her and throwing her off balance..plus she was hefting it and rearranging it during the whole song while trying to contest. Then I, thinking I was trying to be helpful...well actually putting my two cents in because I think everyone wants to hear what I have to say (Aaaaaayyyyy!!), told her Mother, my Mother-in-Law that perhaps she needed a smaller shawl or a half shawl. Well the look of death that I got from my Mother-in-Law stopped me in mid-sentence...and the subject was never brought up with her again. I mentioned to my sister-in-law that I had said that to her Mother and she gave me the look like "No, No, I know you didn't say that (add a head bob)"!
                        Well, that's why I like this forum..because you can say whatever you think and no one can reach out and slap you!!!! Aaaayyyy!!
                        Party on all!!! Have a great Valentine's Day and a great week-end.
                        I'm going to a Pow-Wow for the drum called YoungBird who have been nominated for a Grammy this year and also asked to sing at a pre-Grammy function. The dance is a benefit so they can get out to L.A. and eat while they are there (small detail that the Grammy people don't consider). It's at the Myriad in OKC, Saturday the 16th with Contests! Contests! Constests! So if any of you all find yourselves in the Southern Plains this week-end, come on over, you'all!!
                        Laters,

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                        • #13
                          Some of the pow wows (mainly the hobbiest pow wows of course) that I have gone to here in the North East make me realize why ndns would take offense to white people dancing. There are people that will even try to teach their way because they "look ndn" so it must be right. That's how this all gets spread! It's horrible. That is why I have always strived to put together my outfit the right way with the right things. I'm not putting on a costume (like some people look like they are), I'm doing it out of respect and pure enjoyment for what I do.

                          So anyway, I wanted a red, white, and blue Southern Cloth outfit (made to match a parfleche hangdown set with a flag design given to me as a gift from a friend) so I used printed material that looks like a quilt design with stars. Very nice and subdued, nothing flashy. I have gotten more compliments about this outfit than any other I have (at least the ones that are finished!). I buy most of my material for my outfits and shawls that I have made from Walmart believe it or not! Very good selection and good prices.

                          Anyway, don't want to go off topic. I agree with everyone else here, if in doubt, ask and if still in doubt, don't risk it! Let's show that we aren't all clueless! :D

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