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The Ethics of Beading

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  • #31
    Originally posted by wyo_rose View Post
    Will I be flattered? .............doubt it............
    I feel the same way Wyo! For my kids I start planning designs before the currant regalia is to small. My eldest son just took a growth spurt and what I thought would fit this year now doesn't. So I dug out the design I made last fall and got to work. Do you know how hard it was to come up with an original design involving A tipi and a horse? If someone thought that changing the colours would make it ok to copy, flattered would not be the first word that would come to mind....lazy perhaps, but not flattered!
    Last edited by SuzzeQ4; 06-03-2009, 10:54 PM.


    • #32
      great thread still

      As a Chahta we traditionally don't wear our regalia to powwows as we historically only dance in them when doing Chahta dances. I've worn my dress to GON once but didn't compete in it. Many announcers will acknowledge SE tribes for wearing their own regalia as we've become so pan-Ndn and they like seeing other tribal regalia.

      As for my family members who do compete, we've received permission from 2 extremely close family ties to dance in the Southern or Northern tradition. So I made dresses for my family in the Southern style but was careful to put Chahta designs on them, the design was subtle but recognizable. Before I did that I made dresses from our own tribe, a Chickasaw dress to honor my mother-in-law and a Chahta dress for my tribe..

      With so many beading books out by native and non-natives it's created a lassez-faire attitude to those new to our culture. It's interesting that non-native bead books are promoted so much (maybe we should start publishing our books before teaching non-natives..hmmm) If more dancers would wear their own tribal regalia sometime it would show non-natives we are not a monolithic culture.

      It's kinda like blonds have more fun. All we see in movies and on TV is Northern tribal regalia, and stories. So that MUST be how real Ndns dress, dance and look like right?

      I can only speak for SE tribes but many others did not have a tradition of powwow either like SW and SoCal. That doesn't mean we can't dance, but if you want to dance and dress in a tradition not your own, just make sure you do it with permission and don't copy a design and try to find someway to incorporate your tribes designs or colors in you work to honor your own culture.

      I remember when some family members moved to TX & were dancing Southern, they were asked by a southern plains family who had given them permission, fortunately they did it the right way so they could give a clan name and when they were brought out in the southern plain trad. So if you go outside an urban PW setting and go to rez powwows or any PW in OK, TX, you can expect to be challenged more so than in urban areas where everyone is dressing Northern for the most part.

      Kudos for those beaders who put tradition and ethics over $$$
      Last edited by veritasxl; 06-04-2009, 01:32 PM.
      Civilzation has been thrust upon me..and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity Chief Luther Standing Bear


      • #33
        Copying work and designs

        This is a GREAT thread.

        I have never had anyone ask me to exactly copy someone else's design that obviously. A couple of people gave me a hint of someone's outfit that they really liked and then I helped them create a new design.

        As far as family or tribal-specific designs go - if someone comes to me with a specific design and I don't immediately recognize it as a copy or a design they don't have permission to use, I will go with it. I guess they would be setting themselves up to be confronted about it, and not me. If I knew that they were copying someone else or if it was obvious that they were copying a tribal style that was not theirs, I would not take the job. That lady you mention was really setting up her daughter for a bad confrontational scene in public if someone took her to task for copying their outfit. The powwow circuit is VERY small in reality - at some point in time, someone will recognize it as a copy.

        On the flip side - do you ever have people ask you to bead them an outfit and then say "I don't know - just make up the design yourself." That happens to me ALL THE TIME. I live in an urban community, and we have native people from all different tribes. Sometimes I try to talk to them about their tribe or family, and help them come up with a design that would be appropriate, and sometimes they want a modern competition outfit that you can use a more "generic" design. But honestly I have turned away alot of work because people just didn't care to take the time and think about what their outfit should look like - and I don't want that responsibility.


        • #34
          Oh I have had that or when asked what they want they same "something (fill in tribal name)". I have lost buisness cause the designing was taking to long (in their opinion) cause I was tryin to figure out what they wanted. If it's for a kid, I ask the kid, they generally know what they like. Now saying it's in a book and out there to be copied just shows lack of knowledge. Must likely permission to make a book for people to copy designs from was never properly obtained. And just cause someone else is doing it doesn't male it Ok. You would think our own would know that...actually I think everyone knows that and some just don't care. The copying is flattery was probably a line made up by the worlds first copycat and then used by all subsequent copycats.


          • #35
            I agree that this is a great thread, lots of good "meat" to chew on. I won't comment on the whole copying issue and that has been well stated by many of you. I like the idea of "beadwork ethics" though. I have my own ethics that I sort of go by and by my standards this whole scenario would never have happened if it would have been me. I do beadwork for other people for money, but it is by my terms. If you want my work than you only get my work. I let people have some input as to colors, design preference (to a limited extent) but in the end, I am the artist and you are paying for my talent, and my ideas. I have a unique style, that style is identified in a single item and also in the way that that item relates to the rest of someone's outfit. So when someone comes to me asking to just do the work for their project, it is always a no in my book. That's my own ethics on doing work for others. Anyone else have something similar or different?
            Last edited by BeadMan; 07-30-2009, 08:42 PM.


            • #36
              I like that beadman. I started beading and sewing for my family, then my friends, and community. I have just started beading and sewing for money so it is not yet an issue. I ask people what they want and colours then make designs incorporating what they want. Making that policy though has many benifits. From it being YOURS, to knowing EXACTLY where the design comes from (cause its yours) to your work being recognizable. some good stuff to think on.


              • #37
                Nice Thread Bump

                Kudos to you deisgn makers out there. In the same regards to people buying beaded merchandise, If someone see some sweat shop beadwork being sold dirt cheap and then confronts you like why you charge so much? They do not have any understanding what all goes into makin a design, planning out pattern, techniques to accomplish etc.

                I like to look at beadwork and well crafted art in general of all nations and cultures. BUt this only helps get thoughts flowing.

                SuzzeQ4 isnt it a pain when u are asked to make design and then they are impatient. If it was so easy they would do it on their own! lol (but in all sincerity i happen to be an awful slacker and until motivated i cant get a pattern idea to save my life, but when the idea comes its always awesome ^_^)


                • #38
                  Hi beaders

                  I come from a blackfoot and taina decent and i love for someone to bead me a necklace representing my tribe. Can anyone help?? I live in ct


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