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history of fancy shawl????

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  • history of fancy shawl????

    Your insight would be helpful and appreciated. What is your traditions, history, stories and cultural understanding of when the fancy shawl dance came to be and what is appropriate? I am asking to clear up some confusion here in the south. I am hearing new stories about how it came to be and is different from what I was taught. Also got told that it is inappropriate for a married woman to dance fancy. I am WAY too big to ever think of dancing this, but have a young granddaughter and want to make sure I go tmy ducks in a row.

  • #2
    History of Fancy Shawl

    Hey Hey,

    There is a thread that talks about the history of fancy shawl here:

    Also, I watched a DVD on Women's Fancy Shawl, and not that this makes me an expert lol, but this is what I understand from a longtime champion dancer that was interviewed (Gracie Her Many Horses).

    Women were at the forefront of the household while the men were going off to World War II (1939-1945). From there on after, the women wanted to dance like the men at pow wows. This was happening at the same time that the women's rights movement was gaining a foothold worldwide and becoming known as "feminism" (1960s).

    From reading the forums on here, it sounds like some women had been dressing up in Men's Fancy Feather regalia and entering their contests, and had even beat the men sometimes. Women were greatly discouraged though, and had things thrown at them, like rocks and tomatoes. Or when contest judges realized it was a woman in a man's regalia, they didn't allow her to compete. Though it sounds like some did, if women were beating the men sometimes.

    Eventually, women were given their own "fancy shawl" category. A woman on the forums "Lngfthr" said that women used to be more like moths instead of butterflies. But now the dance is known as the "butterfly" dance, and the story is told about a cocoon and emerging from it anew.

    While this sounds nice, you should ask some older fancy shawl dancers about the history. The real story is much more empowering. A cocoon doesn't get booed and have stuff thrown at it LOL... The women that endured ridicule were, and are, lady warriors. I wish this was acknowledged more often!

    As far as a married woman not dancing fancy, I just heard about a fancy shawl dancer that has been married to a men's fancy feather dancer for several years now, and she still dances. Considering how this dance was about equalizing the sexes somewhat, I think it'd be weird to get married and then banned from dancing fancy shawl. :(


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