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  • Tear dress accessories

    I am just getting started going to pow wows. I am an enrolled Cherokee, but my family never attended pow wows. I have a tear dress and shawl, but I need to know what accessories I need to complete my regalia. Also, would I dance in cloth and in northern or southern? Please help me with these questions. I thank you for any and all replies.

  • #2
    You probably want to stick in the southern cloth dancing category. Get or make some beaded items such as hairties, a big barrette, a medalion style necklace or choker, a beaded hand bag with fringe, etc. I think its great if you stick with your tear dress. All you need to do is add to it.

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    • #3
      Thank you for your reply. I have really short hair, any suggestions? I have a nice purse. What about a belt? I have a beautiful concho belt - would it be okay to wear it or do I need a woven belt?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by WocusWoman View Post
        You probably want to stick in the southern cloth dancing category. Get or make some beaded items such as hairties, a big barrette, a medalion style necklace or choker, a beaded hand bag with fringe, etc. I think its great if you stick with your tear dress. All you need to do is add to it.
        No offense whatsoever, but this isn't really what is commonly worn with a tear dress.

        Just common observations on the rez show that girls usually wear corn bead necklaces, a small barrette with a feather in their hair, either a pony beaded belt or a fingerwoven belt, mocs (either old style pucker type or beaded plains style), and they carry a Cherokee style basket (either rivercane or white oak).
        I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

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        • #5
          Wojapi...the reason I answered this way, is because "Sunceria" was asking about dancing cloth in the Southern or Northern category. That makes me assume that she wants to take part or compete amoungst other dancers. I've never seen any dancer, let alone a Cherokee woman carrying a river can basket while dancing. If you are Cherokee and have better answers or can help, then keep doing so:)

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          • #6
            Thanks to all of you. I just want to do things correctly. I am 54 years old and just now learning. I appreciate all of the kind help in my journey. So, no basket, but I need a purse, a barret and hair feather - correct? What about a woven belt? Anything else? Thank you so much ladies.

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            • #7
              Actually, ladies Wojape does live in Cherokee, NC as I understand it and he's seen more then I have. But I do where that same type of dress. I do wear a beaded barrett in my hair (I don't wear a feather), I don't braid my hair (but some do--that's a personal choice) and I do where a necklace made of beads and Corn beads as he mentioned. Actually, I don't carry a purse, but no one says that you can't. I haven't made a belt for myself yet, but you could put a bag or pouch on a belt if you would rather. I was given a pouch, just haven't had time (or been lazy) to make my belt.LOL And a shaw, of course. I have heard of the old type baskets being used as he said, this was from a man--but it had been mentioned to me once or twice that sometime some women would attach it to their belts or carry them. Now, I have never actually seen that, but again someone had once mentioned it to me and a woman once mentioned it too, the woman is a basket weaver from Cherokee who makes baskets and asked me if I wanted one for my Regalia (spelling). I wear mocs with my dress, but I was given one pair and the other pair are boot type that I liked so I made them. And I wear beaded earings.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by WocusWoman View Post
                Wojapi...the reason I answered this way, is because "Sunceria" was asking about dancing cloth in the Southern or Northern category. That makes me assume that she wants to take part or compete amoungst other dancers. I've never seen any dancer, let alone a Cherokee woman carrying a river can basket while dancing. If you are Cherokee and have better answers or can help, then keep doing so:)
                I'm not Cherokee, I'm from a northern tribe, but yes, I have seen much living where I live.

                If she wants to dance southern cloth or northen cloth, then that implies Southern Plains cloth or Northern Plains cloth...not Southeastern which is exactly what Cherokee is. If she wants to dress Cherokee style, then I figure she'd have wanted to know what the Cherokee girls on the rez wear with that tear dress. They wear as I described...never seen them carry a purse or wear hairties and the belts are as I described.

                If you want to dress Southern Plains with the hairties, choker and drop, purse, etc...then you're into a completely different dance style and need to go to Oklahoma and research that style with those tribes out there. Also, you need to be dressed in that style so it's a whole different ballgame.
                I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Wojapi4Me View Post
                  I'm not Cherokee, I'm from a northern tribe, but yes, I have seen much living where I live.

                  If she wants to dance southern cloth or northen cloth, then that implies Southern Plains cloth or Northern Plains cloth...not Southeastern which is exactly what Cherokee is. If she wants to dress Cherokee style, then I figure she'd have wanted to know what the Cherokee girls on the rez wear with that tear dress. They wear as I described...never seen them carry a purse or wear hairties and the belts are as I described.

                  If you want to dress Southern Plains with the hairties, choker and drop, purse, etc...then you're into a completely different dance style and need to go to Oklahoma and research that style with those tribes out there. Also, you need to be dressed in that style so it's a whole different ballgame.
                  "finding your best friend in life and love is glorious"

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                  • #10
                    Research is always the best thing that you can do. I personally have based my cloth regalia on what my Great-grandmother (a full blood Cherokee) was wearing in a picture that was taken somewhere between 1905 and 1910. A simple tunic styled blouse and a long skirt that she wore belted at the waist(my Grandmother said that her Mother would tuck the skirt into the belt when she was working in the garden). We have no pictures of her wearing a tear dress, that doesn't mean that she didn't wear something like it but we have no records of her wearing one. You might start by looking at old family pictures, if you have any. If you don't have access to family archieves then just start researching and you'll find accessories that are correct and that work for you. I can't answer about the basket. I can't see any reason why they would not have had a basket, since most Native clothing did not have pockets. You did need a place to put stuff. I do believe that purses came along later.

                    I don't wear hair ties, I normally wear a single braid, sometimes with a barrette, sometimes without, depending on what mood I am in. In early times Cherokee women either wore their hair loose, or braided. I have also recent learned that they were fond of elaborated braided hairstyles, but I haven't found any documentation of this yet.

                    I wear a 2 inch wide leather belt that I have a pouch, my back knife (a gift from my hubby), and a medicine bag hanging from. I do sometimes wear a barrette with a feather on it to honor my other half, the barrette has a rosette on it that has his clan symbol on it. I generally wear this with my buckskins. I don't choose to mess with a purse, it's just one more thing that I have to keep up with, my fan and my shawl are enough stuff for me to have to wonder where I sat it down at.

                    Most Cherokees did not wear feathers. I am sure that someone will skewer me for this. Due to the research I have done, it seeems that most Cherokees were not big time feather wearers, except for cermonial purposes. I have found that once they were available to them my ancestors were fond of peacock feathers that they wore with their turbans.

                    Hope that this helps....
                    Thankful for the blessing from the Creator in my life!!!!

                    Life should not be measured by the number of things that we aquire on our journey but by the number of lives that we touch along that road.

                    I am a bridge on the red path between my ancestors and the future. I am a bridge between my white heritage and my native heritage. A bridge joins two sides together and provides a way to move on..... A.K. O'Pry-Reynolds

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                    • #11
                      Thank you Wojapi for sharing all that info. Also, I did forget that I do carry a turkey fan that was gifted to me, which is another reason for not having a basket.

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                      • #12
                        I'va seen girls in OK carrying purses on occasion, but baskets are just as common if not more so. Of course, in powwows, often ladies forego both of these in favor of a shawl and fan (& I've seen all kinds of fans used....).

                        Check out Martha Berry: Cherokee Beadwork Artist to see the examples of the mocs and beaded belts that Wojapi4me was talking about. I think beaded belts like those or finger woven sashes w/ white beads woven in are one of the best ways to dress up a tear dress.

                        I once saw a Choctaw lady in a tear dress w/ her apron wearing that keen Choctaw style beaded collar over it, along with a floral beaded belt, and a baldric sash w/ the stick ball stick designs over her shoulder. Just looked freakin' KEEEEEN. I made an otherwise dull tear dress look SUPER tradish.
                        Functionless art is simply tolerated vandalism.

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                        • #13
                          The purse or rivercane is a personal choice, depends on how you want to be judge or if you are in comp with other southern dancers!!!!

                          if you are wanting to represent your cherokee heritage, we are the simple dress people... rivercane basket, no shawl, maybe a barrett, woven belt - depends then on EBCI or CNO style dress too!

                          if you are going to mix everything together to dance southern and comp.. good luck it'll all be your choice how to dress
                          if you are dancing southern comp then you need to get permission from southern dancers
                          if you are dressing to just dance, then it is once again YOUR CHOICE
                          Well will wonders never cease.....

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                          • #14
                            Permission to dance southern

                            Originally posted by Okwataga View Post
                            if you are dancing southern comp then you need to get permission from southern dancers
                            ok, here's a complicated question about dancing southern:
                            my cousin is from a northern tribe but only danced in Okla. back in the day when nobody down there danced northern. 20 years later she's in another state, returns to circle and is advised to wear her northern non-plains tribal clothing and to dance northern. she tried for years but felt so unnatural doing it that she quit dancing in regalia all together!

                            her grandparents and parents who dressed her the only way they knew how (like all the girls of the time in Okla.) are all gone & she has no connections anymore in Okla. some friends told her to dance southern cause that's how she was brought out as a child, but nobody in her current area knows that. her distant northern relatives told her dance what she wants, they've honored her with eagle feathers for lots of things she does. my cuz knows not to use tribe/family-specific boots, beadwork, ribbonwork etc. she says she feels she has no choice but to dance southern, what doe people think about that? -wz-
                            "Sovereignty. It's a word that gets tossed around like a hacky-sack, but it is just as much a part of the Great Law and our culture as anything, and it doesn't mean just civil or criminal law kind of sovereignty, it means cultural and social sovereignty too. And that is something that I define as maintaining the integrity of our cultural heritage and our society against negative intrusions from the outside, be they drugs, alcohol, weapons, pollution and even anthropologists. Holistic Sovereignty means exercising all of these rights to decide what outside intrusions you will allow and which you will reject." Akia of Akwesasne

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                            • #15
                              Thank you!!

                              Originally posted by Okwataga View Post
                              The purse or rivercane is a personal choice, depends on how you want to be judge or if you are in comp with other southern dancers!!!!

                              if you are wanting to represent your cherokee heritage, we are the simple dress people... rivercane basket, no shawl, maybe a barrett, woven belt - depends then on EBCI or CNO style dress too!

                              if you are going to mix everything together to dance southern and comp.. good luck it'll all be your choice how to dress
                              if you are dancing southern comp then you need to get permission from southern dancers
                              if you are dressing to just dance, then it is once again YOUR CHOICE



                              I am happy that you pointed out that there is a difference between Eastern Band Cherokee and Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma style dress.
                              Walk softly on Mother Earth

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