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  • mom dancing- offensive or ok?

    heartfelt handshake.... I am hoping for some feedback from other female dancers on this question. My children are all enrolled tribal members, however I am not, I am white. Their father is a tradit.dancer and we are wanting to start our children out dancing, I make our families regalia and am working on my daughters outfit now.

    There are no women dancers in his family to help start out our daughter dancing. She LOVES to dance, but is shy and will only go out to dance if I go with her, and then will only dance if I actually dance with her, then she goes crazy and really cuts loose!

    I want to set a good example for my daughter, and I know it will be easier for her if I show her by example, rather than sitting on the sidelines trying to "tell" her what to do. I feel a little foodlish, like, sticking out like a sore thumb dancing around in my jeans, my kids are old enough to start wondering why mama is excluded, and I want to help my daughter feel good about her dancing, culture and regalia, not to teach her racial division within our family as we all follow this path together. I want my children to be raised in their beautiful Dakota way. I want our family to have the strength of unity for our children.

    I would love to make myself some regalia and dance on intertribals with my daughter, as our sons dance with their father. However, I have been to enough powwows to know that the white "wannabe" dancers are ridiculed by many, and I can understand why. I only want to dance with my daughter, to start her off in a good way for her early years and to have our family be strong by dancing together.

    How do other dancers feel about this?

    In respect, beadinmama

  • #2
    Hi, I'm a Fancy Dancer from Canada (just a lil intro)....Well, my opinion, ok here goes....

    I don't see a problem with a White woman, who is trying to guide her daughter to start/learn/respect to dance...I mean if that's what it takes to start her off, more power to you. Now the way I see it, there's wannabes and people that genuinely respect our culture and not pretend to be Indian. For example, I was head Lady at a powwow this weekend and were two types of (white) dancers there;

    #1- dyed black hair (that's originally blond), plastic beaded, manufactured "buckskin" outfits, flourescent feathers, busting some dance moves that I ain't NEVER seen before, talking bout coming from some res but when you ask them something about it,"Oh I never actually lived there before", etc. Those kind of people offend me.

    #2- White people who are genuinely interested in our culture, have kids, hubbies, etc, who are Indian and would like to particapte in the gathering. Love to join in in intertribals and don't go jumping,kickin, spinnin like they know what they're doin. Just the basic front step. And I love it! They get to taste a bit of our culture during Intertribals but at the same time they don't disrespect it by trying to be something thy're not.

    In terms of the regalia,hmmmmm, dunno, have mixed feelings about that. If I were in your shoes I would probably just make a nice ribbon shirt and skirt and wear some Mugzan. When I see people like that I recognize it as respect for the grounds by not dressing "sleazy"** and trying to respect our beliefs by dressing in the fashion that our women do. In terms of all out regalia, a lot of people might be offended by that.

    But all in all, if you want to be out there with your daughter to give her the confidence boost to take off, well then your a wonderful mom!

    PS. for the most part I believe the white wannabe dancers who are ridiculed are the one's described in #1. I don't ever recall a white person being ridiculed during and intertribal. That's what they're for right?

    ** not that anyone who doesn't dress like us is sleazy, just that I am offended when I see women with tiny lil shorts and crop tops, etc. on the grounds. I was taught that women are supposed to wear garments to thier ankles and wrists while dancing. So please everyone don't get all coiled up and spring out at me. AYE!:Tongue <-- hey! I found a guy sticking out his tongue to go with my AYE! just more emphasis (all y'all ojibwe's know what I'm talkin' bout, how bout you other NDN's, do you guys do that?)

    PPS--disregard the fact that his tongue is wailing around---before y'all get some misconception, us Ojibwe's aren't that wild! Just have an addiction to sticking out our tongue while saying Aye, or ever sad, ever sick, etc.
    Last edited by Jibby™; 01-03-2003, 02:26 PM.
    Got percap?

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Beadinmama! Here's my 2 cents...I know its long but I have a lot to say.
      First off, have a :clap: for having the courage to place your question on here. I know its nerve rackin', especially for the fair skin/white people. However I can only offer my knowledge and experiences, from this year, to help you out.

      This past year, I created a family with my hunny consisting of myself and his 3 daughters. I met him as a newbie drummer who wanted to learn how to dance. His teacher was one of my good friends and the rest is history. Over the summer, onced I finished his new regalia, he started to grass dance. His youngest daughter started dancin' fancy shawl. Check her out (butterfly girl) at
      http://www.indians-store.com/images/...g/DSC01021.JPG
      His middle daughter just completed her first shawl. The oldest (a kid with a kid) wants her son to join his grandpa (my hunny) out in the arena and now I have to show her how to make a grass outfit for a 2 1/2 year old. I've been dancin' for 4 years and dance both fancy shawl and southern cloth.

      I totally agree with Ojibwe-kwe. There are several types of white people that we come into contact at the pow wows. From your post, you are the kind that respects ndn culture. I'm also going to assume that your married to your kid's father as well.

      Where I'm from, you are expected to dance with your kids (or at least to get them started). But as Ojibwe-kwe said, there are things to remember (womanly speaking) to make sure you're proper. I'd make a ribbon shirt to wear. Secondly, I'd make sure to wear a long skirt to the pow wows. It should be down to your ankles/top of your moccasins. Moccasins are more comfortable, but try to stay away from tennis shoes or anything open toe. Make sure you have your shawl with you too. Dressing in this way, you are being respectful (and the way I was taught, honoring) to your family, their traditions, women's ways, and the ndn way. You shouldn't get any of that reticule that wannabes get.

      What age is your daughter? What style is she going to dance?
      Well this is my 2 cents and at least the way its been for me the past year. Now get your girl out to dance a little.:Thumbs
      snaf, snarf!

      Comment


      • #4
        no pink feathers here *grin*

        Thank you for your opinion, ojibwe-kwe....

        No flourescent pink or green feathers here! Although I am sure it would give a lot of folks some good old healing laughter! We dont see too much of that at local powwows around here! *laugh* I think a blond person with black dyed hair would look kind of scary, like, Addams family scary.

        Actually, I was thinking along the same lines as you, a VERY simple skirt/shirt or dress and shawl, out of cotton and ribbon rather than flashy satin or sequins... Nothing too flashy or fancy at risk of offending someone or sticking out and embarrassing my hubby or kids, but just very basic & tastefully enough.

        I already have mocs and matching belt and hair ties/barrette that I wear with ribbon shirts/skirts for our family special occasions and ceremonies, although I was considering leaving the belt at home, and just staying simple, like you said, with mocs only.

        A few summers ago, I wore a long skirt with a modest tank top to a gathering and felt very much exposed and wouldn't dance even on intertribals with the others because I didnt have a shawl with me to cover my shoulders. No way did I want to risk a Grandma scolding me for that.

        I suppose I am lucky in a lot of ways because our family here follows a lot of traditional ways, and we strive to raise our children in that walk, so I am aware of many cultural protocals and have my heart in a good way as far as respect.

        That's why I am asking for opinions, so that I can consider how others feel OUTSIDE of our own family before doing something that might bring disrespect.

        so thank you for your words, I will take them to heart!

        Comment


        • #5
          lil girl dances fancy

          lilfancygrl, thank you for your answer.

          My daughter dances Fancy. We considered starting her out jingle, but since that is a medicine dance, I felt it would not be at all proper for me to dance with her and encourage/teach her jingle. She is way too lively for traditional, she has this boundless energy and a huge radiant smile with laughing sparkling eyes. She never sits still, and loves to spin, so after watching her move and dance the last year, Fancy seems to fit her best. She is already practicing kicks and can really get crazy when her confidence is up. She is two. I found some beautiful fabric with colorful butterflies on it, and so am doing applique butterflies on satin and then sequins and beading over that for her outfit. She had some really beautiful fully beaded (even the tongues) irridescent violet mocs, but outgrew them already, her little feet grow so fast she's gone through three pairs already this last year. I'll get a photo together when I finish it.

          Thank you for your encouragement!

          Comment


          • #6
            Scuse me!!!

            Outta the way!!! Im bout to get angry here!!! AYE jus kiddin, this is actually a really cool post.

            All I have to say is if you know how to dance and you can make a the regalia, More pow-wower to ya sister!!! *LOL*

            It sounz goot 2 me that your bringin your kids up on the pow wow trail *A Very BEAUTIFUL thing!!!:) * and If your baby wont dance unless you do, well go out there with her, but also teach her that if she wants to contest, she's gonna have to learn to go out by herself. Teach her at home too. And also teach her that its more about dancing than it is about the money.
            ..::First ever 2002-2003 Powwows.com Princess::..
            ~*~*~* The original POWWOWCHIC49 *~*~*~
            *~*JINGLE IT*~*

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ojibwe-kwe
              Hi, I'm a Fancy Dancer from Canada (just a lil intro)....Well, my opinion, ok here goes....

              I don't see a problem with a White woman, who is trying to guide her daughter to start/learn/respect to dance...I mean if that's what it takes to start her off, more power to you. Now the way I see it, there's wannabes and people that genuinely respect our culture and not pretend to be Indian. For example, I was head Lady at a powwow this weekend and were two types of (white) dancers there;

              #1- dyed black hair (that's originally blond), plastic beaded, manufactured "buckskin" outfits, flourescent feathers, busting some dance moves that I ain't NEVER seen before, talking bout coming from some res but when you ask them something about it,"Oh I never actually lived there before", etc. Those kind of people offend me.

              #2- White people who are genuinely interested in our culture, have kids, hubbies, etc, who are Indian and would like to particapte in the gathering. Love to join in in intertribals and don't go jumping,kickin, spinnin like they know what they're doin. Just the basic front step. And I love it! They get to taste a bit of our culture during Intertribals but at the same time they don't disrespect it by trying to be something thy're not.

              In terms of the regalia,hmmmmm, dunno, have mixed feelings about that. If I were in your shoes I would probably just make a nice ribbon shirt and skirt and wear some Mugzan. When I see people like that I recognize it as respect for the grounds by not dressing "sleazy"** and trying to respect our beliefs by dressing in the fashion that our women do. In terms of all out regalia, a lot of people might be offended by that.

              But all in all, if you want to be out there with your daughter to give her the confidence boost to take off, well then your a wonderful mom!

              PS. for the most part I believe the white wannabe dancers who are ridiculed are the one's described in #1. I don't ever recall a white person being ridiculed during and intertribal. That's what they're for right?

              ** not that anyone who doesn't dress like us is sleazy, just that I am offended when I see women with tiny lil shorts and crop tops, etc. on the grounds. I was taught that women are supposed to wear garments to thier ankles and wrists while dancing. So please everyone don't get all coiled up and spring out at me. AYE!:Tongue <-- hey! I found a guy sticking out his tongue to go with my AYE! just more emphasis (all y'all ojibwe's know what I'm talkin' bout, how bout you other NDN's, do you guys do that?)

              PPS--disregard the fact that his tongue is wailing around---before y'all get some misconception, us Ojibwe's aren't that wild! Just have an addiction to sticking out our tongue while saying Aye, or ever sad, ever sick, etc.
              They do that up here too:p

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Scuse me!!!

                Originally posted by powwowchic49
                Outta the way!!! Im bout to get angry here!!! AYE jus kiddin, this is actually a really cool post.

                All I have to say is if you know how to dance and you can make a the regalia, More pow-wower to ya sister!!! *LOL*

                It sounz goot 2 me that your bringin your kids up on the pow wow trail *A Very BEAUTIFUL thing!!!:) * and If your baby wont dance unless you do, well go out there with her, but also teach her that if she wants to contest, she's gonna have to learn to go out by herself. Teach her at home too. And also teach her that its more about dancing than it is about the money.
                lol..pwc i thought i was gonna hafta slap you for a second!!lmao..but no really i don't see a problem with you dancing...since you know how & all & aren't tryin to be all "out there" like the dyed hair wannabes...lol...we got tons of those here!!:p

                Comment


                • #9
                  Beadinmama - Know how you feel, it can be very difficult - trying to teach but not always being included. My husband and children are Indian - I am not. I have been dressed Kickapoo - but only dress out on special occassions. My children are older and know how to dance so teaching is not a problem anymore.

                  My question would be have you been given the right to wear regalia but your spouse or an elder from your families tribe? If you have then go for it - all the while being respectful.

                  For the other ladies here - how do you feel about a non-indian, who was adopted and dress appropriately, feel about this?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I see no problem with it, aslong as you dress and behave appropriately! From the looks of your posts, and that of others, I am sure it would be "ok".

                    Good luck with your entry into the circle:D

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      For the other ladies here - how do you feel about a non-indian, who was adopted and dress appropriately, feel about this?


                      As long as she is dressed w/ respect, I'm ok with it as well. Its the hochy women (showing off their you know what) I don't like.
                      snaf, snarf!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lilfancygrl
                        For the other ladies here - how do you feel about a non-indian, who was adopted and dress appropriately, feel about this?


                        As long as she is dressed w/ respect, I'm ok with it as well. Its the hochy women (showing off their you know what) I don't like.
                        I feel totally cool with it, it shows respect. Like I said in my other post, it's the women that dress "sleazy" that kinda piss me off. But I have seen many non-ndn women wear a nice long skirt and ribbon shirt, etc. I prefer to see that actually. And like most of us N8tv ladies,(don't wanna speak for everyone, but I htink we feel the same) we are offended to see soemone who "acts" Indian. Like thise women with the fake outfits and busting some disrespectful moves.

                        So all my support to beadin mama!
                        Got percap?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          thank you

                          I just wanted to thank everyone for all of the insight they have shared so far. My family here is supportive, but as I said, asking the opinion of other dancers outside of our circle is also important to me. I'll do my best to be appropriate at all times, and also to listen to dancers at gatherings we attend, too. Thank you for your insight again, I'll post a photo whenever I get my daughters outfit done, it is slow going so it might be a while!

                          PS -
                          for luvstraightdancrs question about gaining permission to wear full regalia,- I have not asked for permission to wear "full" regalia, we discussed what would be involved in that though.
                          As I understood it, since I am not native, the most proper way in our family for me to have permssion to wear full regalia would be to have that right given through a ceremony with elders or fasting. That's not really my intention right now, though my daughter is my main focus and our family.

                          Right now as far as regalia goes my thinking seems pretty much in line with what everyone has been saying here, simply wanting to wear a ribbon dress or skirt/shirt along with my mocs, (trying to not be too flashy!) and not to wear a complete outfit, just dressed enough so that my kids see the example of us all dancing together and feeling good about their culture, and to be respectful in my intentions.

                          Comment

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