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Dances that exlude Non-Indians. Good or Bad?

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  • #46
    shes in oklahoma city
    all the ladies say hey

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    • #47
      Hey Sahnish,

      Was that really your first gander at a hobbyist dancer? I saw those guys too, and you are pretty fortunate that they were a pretty mild version of what alot of us have witnessed. They looked like they were enjoying themselves at any rate, just doing their own thing. Do you remember Tribes back in '92? When it was freezing cold on Sunday? There was a shawl dancer there that competed that would fit the category of "hobbyist", do you remember? PM me if you don't and I'll try to jog your memory.

      Two-cents
      <--that's me....incognito!

      Comment


      • #48
        I think I seen my first hobbyist dancing this past week end in Tama, IA. There were four of them 3 northern style and a southern style. They danced intertribals and no one really seem to pay any attention to them. A couple of them were dancing in the contest as well and this is where they stuck out like a sore thumb. They had what I think were suppose to be ribbon shirts on, but they looked like period clothing from the 1800's and I really didn't make the connection to the dance outfit. One guy had a dance stick with a whole side of a 4 point deer antler, now I have seen deer antler used but never the whole side and I think that is probably not understanding the purpose of the stick. The one guy had a barred turkey feather bustle on with maybe 12-16 feathers in the whole bustle. Bear in mind Tama was a big dog pow wow with maybe 35-40 traditional dancers with absolutely beautiful eagle feather bustles and beaded outfits which made the poor guy's sparse turkey bustle and outfit stand out even more. Then they started dancing. They got 3 songs one of which was a crow hop. The poor guys weren't able to stay on beat, and the one guy did not have a clue as to how a crow hop should be danced and to make matters worst they were dancing against "pro's" who have been dancing all summer which made them stand out even more.

        The point of all this is that the non native was allowed to participate but I am not sure what was accomplished. For myself, it made me very uncomfortable to see, not the fact that they were dancing but that I was embrassed for them because of their lack of understanding, skill, outfits and the snide little remarks and giggles behind there back. I guess I just wonder why someone would subject themselves to this.

        Anyhoo, thats my take on seeing hobbyist dance for the first time.
        Sahnish

        "There is nothing more dangerous than ignorance in action."

        Comment


        • #49
          There they go again. The few bad apples that are spoiling the bunch. Were the turkey feathers at least in the shape of a nice bustle or were they all ragged and mis-shapen? That irks me.

          Ya know they say, the only way to learn is by getting out there and doing it.

          Think of the not-so-agile hobbyist as your children that start dancing at 2 years old. are they champions in their 1st year? Probably not, they too took some time to learn how to dance.

          Then again, some people JUST CANT DANCE!!!
          The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.

          Comment


          • #50
            Hi
            Two-cents1, Please PM me then I want to learn about her.
            Migwetch, WPD
            Asema Is Sacred
            Traditional Use, Not Misuse
            Wakan Tanka please have compassion on me.
            OK Niji we are running a train with red over yellow at this powwow.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by itokasniye:
              <STRONG>There they go again. The few bad apples that are spoiling the bunch. Were the turkey feathers at least in the shape of a nice bustle or were they all ragged and mis-shapen? That irks me.

              Ya know they say, the only way to learn is by getting out there and doing it.

              Think of the not-so-agile hobbyist as your children that start dancing at 2 years old. are they champions in their 1st year? Probably not, they too took some time to learn how to dance.


              Then again, some people JUST CANT DANCE!!!</STRONG>
              null

              You know that bustle could have had a 100 turkey feathers made by a master craftsman and It would not have made a difference. Those bustles, eagle feathers, beaded outfits all have meaning and culture behind them. What does that turkey feather mean to a hobbyist? That he was able to order it from Crazy Crow. I mean I don't even get the impression that you'all collect the feathers yourself, you order them from a book. Absolutely, everything on an outfit has meaning, from the designs on the beadwork to types placements of feathers, that is why of the thousands and thousands of outfits out there you will never see two exactly alike.. That is what the pretendian lacks, the knowledge as to why we do this a certain way, why we dress as we do, who can perform certain things, etc etc.

              It is interesting that you would use the analogy of 2 year olds. I actually have 2 granddaughters who are 2 years old. These girls are amazing in that they can recognize songs as to what style they are. One can dance fancy and jingle and the other can dance fancy, jingle, tradish and we just recently discovered she recognizes southern songs and can do a passable southern style. Watching these girls I have began to wonder if the "beat" is innate and the drum wakes up that passion for dance in us all. ( I will agree with you on that Ito, some people have no rhythm.) These girls have been and will continue to be instructed as to our culture. I believe that on the northern plains this has happened and continues to happen and this is what the pretendian is missing, the "why" something is done the way it is. I see no difference in the mascot issue and pretendians dancing, what you and others see as "honoring" our culture, I see as mocking with the fake feathers, fake items etc etc.

              I had never seen a hobbyist dance before so for all I know these guys could be the Champions of Champions from the National Pow Wow. :D

              Hope you all had a very powerful Fall Soltice.
              Sahnish

              "There is nothing more dangerous than ignorance in action."

              Comment


              • #52
                Before you can answer your question you would have to know why your dancing. I guess I am curious about that as well. I have heard Indians say they dance for the ones that can't, for their relatives, for the children, for the elders etc etc so dancing is tied to our sprituality. What do non Indians dance for? If the members of this board are indicative of non Indians that dance, than you'all are thinking dancing is a beauty pagent or parade and the person with the best outfit wins. Wins what is what I wonder. Now before you hobbyist start getting your brain tanned buckskin thong's in a bunch, the reason I say that is how many of you have different style of outfits?? Why?? I know Indian all around dancers who do, but they competitively dance all three or four stytles, but what does a hobbyist need with different styles of outfits? This leads me to believe you'all like getting dressed up in different outfits and having a beauty pagent. I mean Indians spend their whole life just trying to learn, develop and pass on their style.

                Long way to your answser Ito, the answer is have the non Indian make your stuff becuase if you are going to get dressed up and say "Hey, I have an Indian outfit," only non Indians will be impressed, Indians have seen outfits before.
                Sahnish

                "There is nothing more dangerous than ignorance in action."

                Comment


                • #53
                  I also think the turkey feather thing is bad. I HAVE seen 1 or 2 bustles that werer pretty good looking tho. But most of the tim it lookks like they strung up some feathers in the car while they were driving.

                  Yes, eagle feathers and bead patterns have meaning...for some dancers. Sadly I dont think that is the case for all ddancers.

                  As for Champion Hobbyists...turkey feather bustles wouldnt cut it at the National Powwow. Some hardcore hobbyists go all the way with fine beadwork, 'finest' Feagle feathers, all the best that money can buy. THAT is the other thing...some guys buy all their stuff, some guys make it. There are a few hobs out there that could give the master beadworker or ribbonworks a run for their money.

                  Myself, I made some thing and bought some things. I tried making a roach once, never again. I did buy a grass dance yoke and aprons from a woman in montana, build the rest of the outfit around it. In some ways I feel that I should buy outfit parts from NDN crafts people since I am taking part in their culture. And because I know someone will say something about that last sentence, "No, buying outfits from NDNs doesnt give me the right to STEAL the culture" ;)

                  OK, question, hypothetical now, which type of hobbyist is better, one that buys outfit crafts from NDN artists or hobbyists that make everything themselves?
                  The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Hhhmmm.....I have tried to stay out of this one, but I am finally giving up the ghost and joining in...again.

                    Ok, most people (of any color skin) that know me personally would not describe me as a hobbyist, however I am never going to be mistaken in a crowd as being Indian. With that said, I do not know if I am the person to address Sahnish's question about why one dances, but I will try from my experiences just for the fact that it was ask. No, I did not start powwowing (and I refer to it this way because I am singing at 90% of the powwows I attend rather than dancing, but I'm sure both are relevant to the question) at the earliest possible point in my life, I was more like eleven or so. Some 25 years later all I can say is that it is who I am. I couldn't tell you why I chose to start powwowing. I could type any ole thing hear spouting how I dance or sing for this reason or that, but as I said before it's just who I am. Like anyone else that does anything including powwowing, I guess I was influenced by people around me. Just as Sahnish's granddaughters have been influenced by those around them. Friends, family and even people that we do not care for all affect the discussions that we make in our lives. I'm sure that if Sahnish's grandkids were to decide they did not want to dance or sing that he would not force them, but yet just through their exposure to these things they are offered these choices and make them without even realizing they are. The same things happen within my own family and still is. My family gave me the choice as to what I would do for myself. Now all my nieces and nephews powwow as I'm sure my kids will since they are exposed to it constantly. Even my 14 year old stepson has decided to dance and has been coming out to learn how to sing whenever he can. So, yes I powwow for those around me, and even for myself, but then it is who I am and I know no other way to be.

                    Now, I have a couple of question for you Sahnish that I hope you will be able to answer. Honestly I am not trying to start something I just hope you will share your views about them. You said that every part of an outfit has meaning. Okay if this is a fact them how does one explain the fads that sweep through the dancers of various outfits? Though they may have meaning to the first person to wear it beyond that it is doubtful that it does to the others that just think it looks keen. That also leads me to another question. What of all those natives from tribes that did not have these dances originally? Do they know the meaning behind every item, just because they are native? Next question would be what of dance styles like men's fancy? Are you saying that they collect the turkey spikes and dyed chicken hackles they use off the birds themselves? What meaning do they have or the surveyors tape have? Yes, there are old family designs or colors in some beadwork. Yes, certain items have meaning, but some things just look good ;) :D . And definatley yes there is culture behind the items relating to powwows. I just find that whole line of thinking that spawned these question to be a little holier than thou and hard to swallow.

                    Now as for those dancers at Tama you spoke of, I'm sure they probably enjoyed themselves even though you felt bad for them and isn't that a big part of what a powwow is. A gathering of community, family and friends to sing, dance, have a good time and enjoy themselves and each other.

                    I will address the actual topic in another post soon.
                    PB49

                    "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.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      I dont dance as much as I used to but my fondest memory was when an old woman told me she enjoyed watching me dance. That made me happy. I dont dance for money and even though Hobs sometimes have competition for ribbons or shirts I rarely compete because I dont like that aspect. I dont think anything else needs to be said.

                      I spend most of my time singing now. I sing so others can dance now. I dont like accepting money for singing as do(don't?) the rest of the guys with me. When we are given money we will usually donate it to a charity or somewhere else. Maybe once or twice I kept a few dollars so I could buy gas to get home.
                      The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Well let me try and answer your question. You explain fads by people not knowing their culture or not taking the time to learn the one they are "borrowing." it comes down to that word you'all don't like to hear. The "right" to do or wear something and people not understanding that concept. Somewhere, I am not sure when, but somewhere in the last 40 yrs or so tribal traditions have some how become "Global Native American traditions." By that I mean all of sudden what was a Dakota, Hidasta, Chippewea tradition is suddenly anyone's tradition just becuase they saw someone wearing or doing it and they thought it looked keen. These traditions suddenly became global native american and "free" for anyone to do or use. I would love to say that my fellow native americans, who these dances did not orginally belong to, knew the history and traditions behind them, but one only read on these boards to know that is not true. I would hope that that all the tribal peoples know the history and traditions. I was talking guy this summer at the Spriit Lake pow wow and he was telling about how he went to schmitzun a few years ago and wore a dog soldier headress and got all painted up, was yelling around and placed pretty high. He said as soon as he got home he was told by many people that they don't dance like that etc etc. He said he could have kept it up but it wasn't worth the hassle so he went back to his orginal style. He brought home a very important point to me. Traditions are still very important to us, because they define who we are as tribal people. The answer to your question about collecting the feathers yourself,( not sure what surveyors tape is), is YES of course. That chicken/Turkey gave his life so that you might have those feathers, seems like you ought to offer something in return. If those feathers have no meaning than you don't understand the interconnectedness of our universe. We are all related you know.

                        Finally, I would still like to know why hobbyist dance. I mean I just like to try an understand things and that is why I wonder about the reasons. Does it make you taller, cooler, get more chicks, like doing something other people don't, make you one with the earth. I mean I seen a white guy pierce one time and I still wish I would have had a chance to ask him why.

                        Anyhoo........
                        Sahnish

                        "There is nothing more dangerous than ignorance in action."

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Good to be back after a while away, and to see that things mostly haven't changed. ;)

                          As to Kiowa-only gourd dances. They started it, they should be able to say who dances it.

                          We gourd-dance here, led by mostly non-Kiowas. It _is_ a veterans' dance the way we do it, and it doesn't bless the arena any more than anybody else blesses the arena. We do it before powwows bcz that's when the drum is together.

                          As to turkey-feather bustles. I know an FBI who dances beautifully and as far as I know has never had anything but a turkey-feather bustle. He'd dance from the core in a pigeon-feather bustle if it came to that.

                          As to non-card-carriers, et.al., being excluded from dancing at a powwow. The older, wiser and calmer I get, I figure if somebody went to all the trouble to organize a dance and wants to say who can and can't dance, that's entirely their prerogative. If I want to come and watch, I sure will.

                          As to why hobs dance, well, I haven't known many of them, but those I do know, most of them -- not all, but most -- appear to dance because they love to dance. And most -- not all -- understand that they are dancing because of the graciousness of Indian people who like powwows so much that they don't mind non-NDNs being out there.

                          For the mathematically inclined, I'm 1/16th to 1/8th "Indian blood." For those for whom looks matter, I look like I just got off the boat from Gdansk. Or maybe Minsk. If you like my dancing, tell me; if not, watch somebody else. :)

                          Lee

                          ----
                          "So long as dancing is cultivated, civilization progresses; but no sooner is the interdict set forth against it, than the people who were once refined by its inspiration, relapse into barbarism."
                          - Thomas Hilgrove, 1856 ;)
                          "As long as dancing is cultivated, civilization progresses; but no sooner is the interdict set forth against it, than the people who were once refined by its inspiration, relapse into barbarism."
                          - Thomas Hilgrove, 1856

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            I know personally I have made friendships and relations with Native peoples and have formed extended families. As part of their families you take part in everything. I have gone to funerals, birthdays, church, weddings, dinners, fundraisers, etc. I was told as part of the family I needed to support. In supporting I was to dance a certain style, wear certain clothes and take part. I have grown up doing these things with my family. In turn my Indian relations have participated with me in my triumphs and failures. They were at my graduation from collage. (Heck I even had to give them GPA reports) We shared holidays and vacations together. My Ponca niece is even speaking at my wedding. It is hard to give a single reason why I dance. I guess I dance to make my Indian Aunt smile, to support my Indian relations when they and Headman and lady, help when they pay for their song, dance when their knees are giving them trouble, I think also I dance because participating in these ways have made me a more tolerant and better person. (plus when that Osage or Ponca woman says "you get up and dance" you go) :D As for the meanings of things. I have been told what things mean and have been given many things that hold a special significances to me. Do they mean the same to everyone probably not. But I have similar feelings, but I am sure they are not the same. I know this and accept it. There is really no way for me to, being non-Indian. I am just happy to participate with the few families that have taken me in.

                            [ October 10, 2001: Message edited by: Tsi-tse Wa-tsi ]
                            Tha-ke'-tha-pi Wa-kon-ta

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                            • #59
                              Sahnish

                              Thank you for taking the time to address those question. As for the question about the hackles and turkey spikes I understand and agree with what you said, but I took your initial statements about 'buying' them as you were saying that only hobs buy those things.

                              By the way, surveyors tape is the stuff used by many fancy dancers these days at the tips of the feathers in their bustles. Like horsehair is used. The tape moves extremely well and gives a great look.
                              PB49

                              "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.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                I would just like to piggy-back on something Sahnish mentioned in his last post, in regards to the materials we use today, even tho it may be a tad off the subject.

                                If you look at some of the earliest examples of Indian artwork, you can see the progression from quillwork to beadwork, and the progression of beads from the earliest, oldest styles (greasy colors, tile beads, etc), to the cut beads that are getting to be the norm these days. As new materials have become available through trade or whatever, the artwork progressed while still keeping old designs, old patterns of dresses, leggings, etc. Just because new materials become available (sequins, flagging tape, etc) and are utilized doesn't mean that they lose their original significance.

                                I also agree with Sahnish, that "borrowing" dance styles, designs, etc, is a common practice and that does contribute to alot of the meaning being lost....this loss of meaning is why many people don't like it when people just start wearing beadwork designs that belong to a different tribe just 'cause it looks cool, and why there is a concern about who has the right to wear what and dance what style. That concern is there amongst Indians, when other tribes "borrow" a different tribe's designs or style of dress.....so, then you can imagine the concern when non-Indians are also involved in this "borrowing" practice.

                                Just my two-cents! :D

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