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how do you earn plumes?

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  • how do you earn plumes?

    I was wondering how do you earn plumes?Do you have to dance good to earn them.I need plumes thats why , but my grandma told me i have to earn them ,but heres the thing i don't know what to do to earn them.can you gals tell me.Pppplease!!!j/k
    fancystar_147
    aka Tahnee

  • #2
    Ok here goes..

    There are several ways girls get their plumes, usually they are given them, either by elders or family members, or are passed down. Another way to obtain them is if you are enrolled, you can put in for an application for a bird through the BIA. Sometimes it can take years before you recieve one. If an elder wishes to give you your first plume, then what happens is before you wear it into the circle, you have a special where the elder that is honoring you with it "plumes" you in front of the arena. (at least that is how ive seen it done down here, and was done for me). Hope this helps you out- ;)

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    • #3
      I don't think earning plumes has anything to do with dancing. How I was taught was that a young woman received a plume when she was ready to take on the role of a traditional woman in her community. This encompasses a lot of duties and responsibilities and values - from understanding your own family history, understanding your cultural ways, doing things in the community, taking care of family, etc. I'm not from the South but I imagine it's the same principle. Hope that helps. :)
      Not better. Not worse. Just different.

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      • #4
        it would be wise to check with knowledgeable elders from your tribe to know your specific cultural protocols instead of getting confused by the various ways of other tribes. there are similarities as wells as differences amongst tribal nations. in my tribe one does not just wear eagle plumes or feathers. they are given through ceremonies and one has to have the right to wear them. too often i have heard of women and girls who just wear them without anykind of ceremony.

        sometimes these ceremonies are very simple and are given in honor of something that was done by the young woman. (can be a wide range of things - academics, sports, cultural recognition, etc.) oftentimes these feathers/plumes are given by warriors/veterans who have earned them from their bravery in action. other times, medicine people have given them to deserving young women. eagle feathers & plumes are sacred and if not cared for properly may result in their leaving you or some misfortune to you. just because you see all these fancy shawl dancers wearing them be careful of becoming a pan Indian. I would guess that over 60% of today's women who wear feathers today have not went through the appropriate ceremonies and have just gotten them through the U.S. wildlife, BIA or some one they know who didn't have the ceremonial right to give them to anyone, nor they to wear them.

        you see the same thing happening with the wearing of face paint. all of these things have sacredness to them, but now that pow wows (or celebrations as they are known in our area) have went commercial & spread beyond the northern plains, people just wear them because it looks cool to them. they don't know they have ceremonial aspects to them. i received my eagle plume and a feather when i was 13 yrs old. from a veteran whose family practiced their medicine ways. as i had my own daughters who dance fancy shawl, both have had naming & feathering ceremonies performed by either a veteran or medicine woman. one was also given the right to wear paint. i hope they will pass this knowledge on to their children & grandchildren, because i don't want them to lose sight about what the circle is all about -- not just competition.

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        • #5
          I agree with all the posts here.

          The way I got my plumes were that they were all given to me. Well everything I got was given to me.

          A tail fan was given to me by Morgan Tosee
          My first plumes were given to me by Gerald Cleveland
          Other sets were from Lovey Colwash's mom adn Tim Eashappie
          My Adopted DAd General Grant gave me a middle tail feather for my birhtday when I turned 18.

          I have done things for people adn they have honored me in that way of giving or trading. My parents have given me some for Graduating college. We get feathers when we recieve our names at our Stomp dances.


          NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER BUY THEM!!!!!! That's not the way.
          Get up and get out!

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          • #6
            I agree with everyone's post here.. I have only one thing to say. That's to be patient and wait. Don't rush people into things. It may take you a while to earn them, but that's how it's done.


            :Angel2

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            • #7
              The only people that have legal access to plumes or feathers are the ones who recieve them from the government. Mostly medicine people and veterans.

              It is these people who you would recieve them from. The fathers, uncles, grandfathers. These are the ones who should be watching you/watching out for you. It is up to them to decide when you are ready. It will not be Joe Shmo from this place or Willie Maykit from over there. Do not worry about it. It will come in time.

              You don't have any uncles or any relative who gets feathers?

              You or someone close to you must let one of your adopted family know that there is no one in your family who will ever have the means to do this. It will then be up to them to watch you grow in your ways. It is them who will decide. In the Anishinaabe way, we have sponsors who look after the young ones also. They are there to stand beside you when you recieve your name. They are like fathers/mothers. They too may be the ones to bestow these gifts to you.

              I don't know your background, but if you follow your ways and your people know it, you'll get those gifts when it is time.

              I'm not trying to be an elder or anything like that to you, but just trying to encourage you to do things in a good way and maybe someday you'll get these things.

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              • #8
                I agree with everyone, especially NDNRose. It's important to check with your tribe. Chickasaw women only wear plumes during war time and only if a husband, brother, father or son is at war.

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                • #9
                  earn plumes?

                  i received my plumes in a ceremony by my late grandpa~Joe Flying By, when was 11, during a powwow where i was the jr.princess.
                  now a dayz when i need a new plume i get them from my uncle who has a permit to receive eagles, i do some beadwork for him or sew his sundance skirts , in trade for them, along with some offering of tobacco,

                  one more thing is that a woman is never to touch a plume or eagle feather during their menstrual cycle, i have always been told that, and i respect it.:D
                  ~;{(@**fancy_flutterby_dncr~tha' dncr formerly known as *DLBRIGHTEYES*~**@)};~

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DLBRIGHTEYES View Post
                    i received my plumes in a ceremony by my late grandpa~Joe Flying By, when was 11, during a powwow where i was the jr.princess.
                    now a dayz when i need a new plume i get them from my uncle who has a permit to receive eagles, i do some beadwork for him or sew his sundance skirts , in trade for them, along with some offering of tobacco,

                    one more thing is that a woman is never to touch a plume or eagle feather during their menstrual cycle, i have always been told that, and i respect it.:D
                    Hi my name is Jamie Gifford.My question is that you have said that a women must never touch feathers or plumes during menstrual cycle.why is that? Bad medicine?
                    Life is what you make it.
                    Remember to all ways smile no matter how your day is. All ways remember your relatives and annsesters.

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