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  • Paying for Your Seat

    I dont know if this has been discussed before ,but how many people have paid their way into the circle (in the traditional sence)
    or did you just dress and start danceing .....

    My family says you should ,you know, be introduced by an elder or established dancer then have a give-away ,but have been running into people who are saying ...." get real ... if everyone bought their way all we would doing is give-aways and no danceing".......Thanks LWB

  • #2
    I don't call that "paying"for anything. I call that doing things the right way. And you will be much better off for it in the long run if you do things the right way.
    As to the no dancing, just having giveaways excuse-it takes a moment to gift the people who have helped you with regalia and learning to dance, and the drum for your first dance, and you will remember it for the rest of you life.
    The best things in life do not come cheap or easy. Your family and elders are telling you the right way to do this and you should listen to them.


    • #3
      I agree that paying your way into the area is the right thing to do. My children were brought into the arena as babies, and when they wanted to dance all the time their way was paid. outfits were made and the drum, committee and friends were gifted, it will be something they will never foget.:)
      "finding your best friend in life and love is glorious"


      • #4
        right way

        I follow a way that says that the first time you go to school, dance, you graduate, sing, etc. I have paid for the privilege
        to enter the arena for the first time and to be a lady singer. To me the ones that don't are the ones that get short changed. You neve foget any of them.


        • #5
          Paying for your seat

          LBW, it seems that your family knows and has great respect for the dance arena. I was brought up this way and have taken care of all three styles I have danced and dance now. Not trying to be a show off, but just like to dance. To old for the fancy now.

          It doesn't call for a big elaborate give-away to enter the dance arena. The drum, committee, and who helped you thats all. And I agree with 1dancing white wolf, you are not "paying" just taking care of the traditional ways thats suppose to be done.

          LBW, "get real...if everyone bought their way all we would doing is give-aways and no dancing". This sounds like a person to me that hasn't done the right thing to be able to dance. Know for a fact that their is alot of people in the dance arena that hasn't done right by the regalia that they wear. They like a dance style so they just go and have one made for them. SAD!!!

          The ones that don't do the right way will be the ones to suffer the consequences in the long run. Like bite-um in the ole-kester!!!!

          Your family and elders, just like mine have done right by us, keeping in the traditional way. You and we get the respect from others by doing the what we were taught. A-ho

          This is all I have to say!
          this is all i have to say


          • #6
            In a way I probably didn't pay my way into the arena, but at the same time, I did honor the Elder who told me to get out there and dance during the last Pow Wow I went to (before I started dancing) But when my daughter and I entered the first time, I did bring some giveaways, in case, and gave to the Elder, and one of the Elder ladies, who helped us get into the right line, plus there was some boys selling some scrumptous peaches, and I bought enough for the drum as well ( it was raining, and a long pause in dancing, and several of the Drum mentioned being hungry, and no food booths at that Pow Wow! So I shared my peaches!) The Elders called my daughter and I under their awning when it really started pouring, and I gifted all there with Sage soap, and Hunter Soap I had made. They didn't have to invite us under their shelter, but they did.

            But the main thing, is that instead of gifting in public, we did it kind of privately, and individually. It seemed to mean as much to those we gifted, as it did to us, to gift them!
            Last edited by Tsiniti; 10-14-2002, 05:27 PM.
            Your Heart Shows by how Your Words and Actions Affect Others.

            Nah I ain't NO WANNABE! I don't gotta wannabe when people wannabe like me!


            • #7
              Well, as one who's never been afraid to go against the norm, I'd have to say I agree with the people who say you don't have to do it. I think it's a rather new "tradition". I was a dancer back when dancing wasn't cool and NOBODY I knew or know did that. You just started dancing when you could walk - sometimes even before. And even those people who didn't start dancing until later in their lives didn't do anything but start dancing. I mean, geez, we're talking about DANCING here, not going through a change of life or anything. Among our L/Dakota people, we have seven sacred ceremonies; we don't need to be adding a bunch of new ones, to my way of thinking. But I'm not condemning people for doing it. Just saying that it's not so traditional as all that so it shouldn't be a "have to" sort of thing. More like, if you want to do it and you feel you should, knock yourself out. Give aways never hurt anyone.
              Not better. Not worse. Just different.


              • #8
                Sounds as if this tends to be a bit more tribal specific. Lngfthr has pointed out that to her experience and knowledge it is not necessary among her people. I know all my family has been brought in this way and that goes back to past my time (40+ years). I am bringing my children into the arena this way and all my nieces and nephew have been as well. Maybe some folks from some of the OK tribes, and some of the other northern nations can address this question and answer whether they 'pay their way in' so to speak.

                "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." Pablo Picasso

                "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift...that is why is it called the Present." Master Oogway - KungFu Panda

                My comments are based on what I have been taught and my experiences over the years I have been around the circle. They should in no way be taken as gospel truths and are merely my opinions or attempts at passing on what I have learned while still learning more.


                • #9
                  Well, I have to say that I think its acceptable either way you decide to enter the arena. I am just glad to see people out there dancing. Myself, I never was brought into the arena. I started dancing in the late 70s (well, when I was about a year old. As soon as I could walk, Mom strapped a shawl to me and put me into a little ribbon dress) and off I went jamming to the beat. I have never had a "coming into the circle" ceremony, but my family has been dancing for four generations now and that doesnt make me any less of a dancer.

                  However, my family has giveaways for our children that enter the arena now. It's not so much as sticking to a rigid tradition, but to celebrate the fact that our children will be the next generation of dancers and thanking those who have helped our family along the way.

                  Just my two cents.


                  • #10
                    I started dancing when it was not "Cool" in the mid-1970's and just starting making dance outfits in junior high school (folks still prize pictures of me and ma making ribbon shirts).

                    Never "paid" my way in to dance and seems like a shakedown or "instant traditon" for making money at expense of someone. I have paid it many times over dancing with that tree or up on the hill.

                    I saw this little practice around sundances bringing "newbies" into it by a sponsorship fee for coming, watching, visiting or dancing. Money usually ends up in pocket of sundance chief or helpers.

                    Reason I do not sundance has been corrupted.

                    Old friend of mine, Mike Oker used to tell me twenty years ago if you have the spirit and the spirits were with you, you could do and make what you pleased and not ask permission of anyone...

                    Same goes with dancing.



                    • #11
                      thank you everyone

                      I would just like to take time to THANK EVERYONE who has replyed to this thread your comments have been welcome
                      esp. for no one that has said I was wrong or my family was wrong
                      ,just do things different ,havent been so lucky resently & when asked about this I always start by saying "this is how I was taught & how my family does things" & many of them started dancing when it wasnt the the cool thing to do either ,it goes far enough back that their rations were held back by the gov for dancing ,but this was society dancing not powwow, so I think this is why we have carryed on this tradition . Once again I THANK EVERYONE for their comments ...........LWB


                      • #12
                        Not sure how old paying your way is. All I know is what I have been told. This may or may not apply to Pow-wows, but boys have been put in to the Inlonskas for over 100 years. When they are put in and the eagle feather is put into their roach, the family gives away. These aren't my words, thats just what I have been told by my Osage friends and family. I don't know if you then pay for your way into pow-wows after you have done this. I know my friends and family haven't after being put in at the Inlonskas. Granted this is just a few families of one tribe I know about. I can't talk about how other tribes do it.
                        Tha-ke'-tha-pi Wa-kon-ta


                        • #13
                          Okay......My tribe, Poncas, pay their way into the arena. It is done out of respect to the drum and to the arena. At home, your kids don't run around the arena, and they don't dance without paying the drum. It has been done since my mom was a child and she is 70. We are still very strict in our ways and I like that because there are guidelines and it teaches you respect to the drum. The drum is very, very, sacred. This teaching also lets the tribe know that your child is entering the arena and they are accepted into it.
                          Nowadays, there are people who just see something they like and decide they are going to do it. That always makes my old folks mad. If you respect this arena and want to be a part of it and you supposedly believe in the sacred elements....then pay your way in and you will always know that you are a part of these things.
                          It's not about how much you giveaway, it is about paying respect. You give the best that you have, whatever that may be. Nothing makes my grandmas and mom madder than seeing their tribal dress on someone who does not have the right to wear it. It has the same affect as the military uniforms and their rituals. You are not a part of those things unless you have the right. Same with sundances, etc. Those that have paid into these traditions in the right way, get the blessings because they have sacrificed themselves.
                          Either you do it right or you will always be coming in the backdoor and know it in your heart. Different tribes do things different ways, and that is fine. But since your folks told you what is evidently our ways, then do that and the arena and the drum will always be good to you.
                          Let's try to keep our traditions alive and well.


                          • #14
                            I am a traditional pow wow dancer, as in I only dance at Traditional pow wow's I go to competitions, but I don't dance.. as far as paying... I'm sure my parents did when I was little, i have no rekolection of that when I first started dancing... but three years I go I was called to be a jingle dress dancer, and I was gifted with lids, and had a year to get a dress done. I thank my grandma for helping me put the dress together... And then I did have a blessing ceremony, feast and giveaway. My uncles sang my coming out song, and it was funny because they kept doing more pushups...and my auntie who was my sponsor was dancing right next to me...and I danced the entire time... haven't been able to do that since...but I figure that was my test. Ever since I have honored the dress by stayin clean,and dancing when I was asked.

                            as far a ceremonial stuff goes, I have always been in this circle from baby on, so by birthright and having faith in Creator, I have a seat, I suppose the day will come when its time for me to lead, or something, and I just pray that creator will only give me as much as I can handle... i pray that for everyone

                            all's fair in love and pow wow.... see ya around


                            • #15

                              Thanks State. I always have a time when answering that type of question. I don't want to go too far with the answer but yet give the person enough info to help them. From my family it goes back before contact with the whites.


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