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Intertribal Dancing - different ways of dancing

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  • Intertribal Dancing - different ways of dancing

    What kind of pow-wow was it? One of those big, commercial, non-Indian events or a real pow-wow?

    I ask because I think it wouldn't be uncommon to see this type of behavior at a commercial event where the wannabes bring out the worst in people and there is no end to newbie expert "Lakotas" or "Cherokees" anxious to display their "knowledge". At a real pow-wow, among enculturated Indian people, I don't think this stuff would occur. In all the pow-wows I've been to, any visitors are treated accordingly and respectfully - no matter how weird or different we may think them. Especially if the MC announces the visitors and asks them to share with the audience. Visitors are guests and traditional Indian people are known for their hospitality.

    That's just my take on it.
    Not better. Not worse. Just different.

  • #2
    Is it hard to believe that there are some real NDN's out there that would criticize those guys? Why must you assume it was non-indian wannabe's even tho Tom said they were Lakota men?

    Are hobby dances in ohio big and commercial? Definitely not the case in the NE.
    The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.


    • #3
      What I read in lngftr's post was that she referred to "newbie expert Lakotas or Cherokees who are anxious to display their knowledge." She didn't say they were non-Indians. I've seen people like that before at powwows with alot of hobbyists, who may be Indian but don't know squat about anything....they seem to feel that they can be the experts in an environment like that. Have alot of good examples of times that I have seen that behavior in action, but that is another story for a different topic.

      First of all, Ohio is not what I would consider "the plains", so the remark the person made about following plains powwow custom is out of place....each region has their own powwow ways regardless of where it originally began. Second, since they were in Ohio, which is not where most Lakota people reside, enculturated Lakota people would not say something like that to people in an area where they were visitors themselves. It would be like me going to a powwow up in Washington, as a visitor, and telling them that the way they dance up there is wrong....that's something I would never think of doing, nor would most people who are enculturated (gotta keep stealing lnfthr's term!).

      so, Ito, to answer your question in a long, roundabout way....yes, it is hard for me to believe that there are some "real NDN's" who would criticize those people.

      By the way....did those Lakota men have anything to do with putting on or helping run the powwow?



      • #4
        Sounds like your first problem was listening to the advice of Lakota men! (ROFLMAO) - JUST KIDDING, all you Lakotas out there!

        Anyway, alot of people like to play "powwow police," and say who should wear what, do what, etc. Powwow has evolved so much that very few people are keeping the original traditions.

        So keep up the good work, and if you ever get to confront those guys ask them if they ever travelled outside the northern plains to a powwow would people expect them to dress and dance according to the traditions of the tribes they are visiting? I think not...


        • #5
          And another thing - you said that the MC requested a special for you to dance. A special is just that - a special dance to showcase the style of tribes that may not normally be seen.


          • #6
            Intertribal Dancing - different ways of dancing

            Hello. I am Eastern, actually Southeastern.

            As many of you may know a great deal of dances of the East and Southeast People are to be danced to from the left (or counter clockwise). And some are not danced in a circular motion at all. Some are in a square and others in just straight lines. One can still experience this in several parts of the East and Southeast.

            I presently live in Ohio with several other Eastern and Southeastern People. Some of us dress Classical Southeastern (this is the term for the dress of the Southest circa. 1790-1830). Others dress Traditional Eastern of the Iroquios. We have been fortunate that at a few dances the M.C., head dancer, head veteran, or a drum have noticed the very different regalia and have asked us do to a special. At other times we have waited to way into the powwow and presented the correct gifts to all and aksed if we could do one or two dances in our fashion of dancing to the left. We have never been denied.

            A few of us were asked by the M.C. at a powwow in Ohio this summer to do a special for the dancing. We were honored that he noticed our different dress during the afternoon dancing and so we obliged and did a dance in which we weave and follow lines to the left of the circle (counter clockwise). On another occasion the women did a Eastern Shuffle Dance and the men did a Smoke Dance (all to the left). From what we could tell, all enjoyed the dancing and we got a great response.

            Now the problem: The next day we did get some negative feed back from a few people. A Lakota man felt that we were all bad (really) and that we had no right to be in the circle. A second Lakota man felt that our regalia (both men's and women's) was not traditional and that we should change. Finally a third person of unknown tribe critized our regalia and our dancing as he said "...this is a western need to follow the way of the west as they are the Indian way and the right way....You people did not even have powwows....(and) need to follow the plains and none of this dancing the wrong way." (DIRECT QUOTES)

            Although these critical comments were from a very small group it really hurt. Some of us have been dancing for a very long time (average 30 years). And for most Ohio is sometimes referred to as a Eastern State and it is an Eastern State for all Tribes west of the Mississippi. We (my friends and I) are Cherokee of Alabama, Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Shawnee, Iroquois, Seneca, Catawba of South Carolina, Choctaw, Creek, and Muskeegee Creek.

            I would like some feedback on what any of you may think about this. Afterall what is the point of having an Intertribal Powwow if you can't see any of the intertibe part?


            • #7
              Was this powwow in Xenia by any chance?

              And on a side note, there are quite a few Lakota's and people from other northern plains tribe that reside in Ohio. Most seem to have came out for the jobs that Ohio (and Michigan) had to offer back in the early 70's. Ohio has quite a few large cities with big factory bases.

              "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.


              • #8
                I figure Columbus or Xenia. Xenia!!!???!!!! (YUCK...PUHTOUEY.. :p I still have a bad taste in my mouth from that one!!!)
                "We see it as a desecration not only of a mountain but of our way of life. This is a genocidal issue to us. If they kill this mountain, they kill our way of life." ~Debra White Plume


                • #9
                  I've heard this attitude before and it does'nt surprise me except that they said it at an eastern powwow and of a special! I ignore those that have that attitude. But it does make me wonder where all this east coast/ west coast rivalry came from. And it does make me wonder how that guy came to the conclusion that the Plains tribes are the only "real" indians LOL!!! Personally I like watching all the different native cultures and thier regalia. I like the diversity and variety. One is not more beautiful than the other, we just get a little more predjudice when it comes to our own LOL!!
                  Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


                  • #10
                    Hello. First let me say that I am very grateful for the quick reponses. It was good to read that others see this issue and how it hurts.

                    Second let me try and answer some questions. The people that were critcal were all Indian. The Lakota people were not from Ohio they were from out west. Some others live in Ohio but are not of any Eastern or Southeastern tribes. If they had been white or wannabes then we could at least see that it was their ingnorance. But these people were all Indian.

                    Funny that Xenia was mentioned, the other place was Findlay, Ohio. Both are small to medium size events compared to the really big commercial events. It can be easy for one to blame the powwow committe for this but in this case(s) the comments came from Indians not with the committee.

                    I did like the comment about "powwow police." It is truly amazing that there are some Indians that feel they have to police the regalia and dancing at powwows across the country. It is even more frustrating that some people actually believe that their tribes' way of doing things is the only way and the Indian way. Why?

                    I can actually say that if I had just one dollar for everytime I heard "....this is the ------------- (enter any tribal name) way, this is the Indian way, this is the right way..." I would truly be a rich man in dollars.

                    There is nothing wrong with educating the public that one's tribe or people have a certain way. That is why we did the special and the other dances. But to enforce to other Indians that one's way is the only way or the right way is creating a problem.

                    [ September 26, 2001: Message edited by: Tom Iron Eagle ]


                    • #11
                      2CENTS -I was referring to TomIron Eagles post, he said they were Lakota. lnglfth mentioned the wannabes.

                      Just wanted to clear that up.
                      The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.


                      • #12

                        NDN people are just that - people. Not any better or worse than any other race of people. So what that means is that, like any other group of people there will be persons who think that their beliefs are superior that those of others. It doesn't matter how full-blood or traditional they are, if they put you down for following your tribe's traditions then I wouldn't put much stock in what they say, because they are ignorant.


                        • #13
                          Thanks, twocents1, for clarifying. As usual, you're right on my train of thought. You know what they say, great minds think alike. BAHHHHH....

                          Anyway, I just wanted to also clarify that it doesn't matter how much Indian blood or Indian features or 'cards' these people had. To me, as I define Indian, these people were not Indian. Again, I say this because people would not do this and do not do this around here, where it's mostly all enculterated Indians. On this internet, it's fine and dandy to criticize because we're all just a bunch of faceless names and many are in the learning stages. In real life, I wouldn't go up to someone and telling them how to look or dance. Especially if the other person was a visitor. I agree it's nobody's business to be a pow-wow police at a pow-wow.

                          P.S. I also like lightningflash's response. Goot one.
                          Not better. Not worse. Just different.


                          • #14
                            Interesting reading.
                            I was at the Findlay, Ohio powwow.

                            There was some different regalia for sure.

                            Different singing too. A drum group called Morningstar left after one session. The reason they left is because they believed that two groups "All my relations" and "Mingo River Singers" were singing sacred ceremonial songs. I can't verify whether this was the case. One group claimed affiliation from the Lumbee Nation of Ohio & the other from the Mingo Nation of Kentucky. None on these two drums closely resembled what most percieve what an NDN looks like. The songs had such a different drumbeat than any I ever heard and I have travelled extensively from coast to coast. Kinda like the drumbeat in old time westerns and sometimes the sound was like that in Australian or African movies. These are the 2 groups that sang the specials for the Lumbee and Mingo dancers.

                            I can understand why the "powwow police" had some concerns. I wouldn't do it myself but
                            it was a bit questionable.

                            An eagle bone whistle was blown on one of the western drums which they honored. Immediately afterwards, another dancer laid his eagle feather fan on the drum and the group sang 4 more times!
                            The two dancers were given the opportunity to speak about what happened during this song. The person who blew the whistle was Lakota and gave his talk mostly in the Lakota language. The other fellow (also said he was Lakota) who touched the drum with his fan explained that this was the way of his people in the area where he came from (South Dakota).
                            I just wanted to give a little insight as to what were some of the happenings at this gathering.
                            I can't give an opinion on whether this was appropriate dress for Lumbees or Mingoes. I also can't say much about appropriateness of the songs. Just what i heard.
                            Now, the touching of the drum is very questionable in my mind. Any thoughts, Sahnish?


                            • #15
                              I PM'd you on touching a drum with a fan, did you get it? I talked with some people back home and it is just not something we do. I personally, have only seen it done in MN and everyone I asked about it really didn't seem to know the story behind it, including some Annishanabe's.


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


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