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Placing money at dancers feet

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  • #16
    Okay, this is what I have seen and been taught as far as the 'southern' way of doing things. This process of laying money at a dancers feet is kind of an impromptu version of a give away in the honor of a said dancer. In some instances the dancers is allowed retain these 'gifts', but usually they are given away in that dancers name. In most instances monetary gifts are given to the drum(s), the powwow committee or a special group.

    Usually the individual (P1) wanting to do the honoring enters the arena or gets the targeted dancers (D1) attention and has them come off to the side of the arbor and there they will dance in place. Many times the dancer is joined by the person(s) (P2) the 'gifts' are intended for (if there is a special person they are meant for) and P1 will dance in place behind them. Other friends and relations of the dancer, P1 &/or P2 will often join in and often place gifts at the dancers feet and dance in place behind D1. After the song ends P1 collects the gifts and gives them to P2 or the dancer. In most instances if the gifts are given to the dancer these gift are then given away to the drum, powwow committee (for raffle or give away items) or a specific group.

    Gifts can include nearly anything; shawls (normally placed over the shoulders of D1), quilts, pendletons, money and have even seen feathers and dance items given in this manner.

    Some of the times when the dancer actually keeps the gifts are in times of need, birthdays, and other special occasions like this.

    As for the 'staking or spiking' thing I have heard this term but don't use it because I the intent is not to keep the dance there but rather to honor them.

    "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.


    • #17
      It appears there is a concensus here that[list=1][*]when money is placed at a dancer's feet, at least a portion of said money SHOULD be given away by said dancer.[*]it is inappropriate during a contest song[*]it is inappropriate during an exhibition song (?)[*]the dancer should not touch the money but wait for someone to hand it to them[/list=a]

      I think this is a case where, at least in my area and in regard to the kids I'm working with, I need to do some re-educating and clear this up.

      Thanks, all, for sharing the traditions you've learned!!

      Be the change you want to happen.


      • #18
        I thoroughly agree with Wardancer. His explanation is the way I have been taught and the way my family follows. We honor dancers or people (in the Southern tradition) in a couple of different ways. If during an intertribal or special demonstration of a particular dance style someone places money/shawl/blanket in front of a dancer, that gift is not picked up by the dancer, nor does the arena director assume he is to pick it up. The one who has placed it may pick it up or ask someone else to retrieve it. It is then up to the dancer to give to whom he wishes or keep all or part of it is the need is there.

        In the gourd dance, the person who wishes to do the honor, invites 1 of the honorees (#1) to dance with the other honoree (#2). The money is placed in front of #2 and in essence he is having a giveaway to honoree #2. This is also the way when someone has a blanket placed over their shoulders and the giver of a blanket asks a third party to retrieve the blanket...the person from whose shoulders the blanket was taken has been given the honor to giveaway to the person who receives the blanket.

        Another way we honor is during a victory dance after a contest win. We allow our dancers to dance the arena and then family and friends place $$ in front of them and stands behind them when they dance in place. The women lulu and show their pride. The money is then picked up and given to the dancer to do as he sees fit.



        • #19
          [QUOTE]Originally posted by Nagi:
          [B]It appears there is a concensus here that[LIST=1]

          [*]it is inappropriate during an exhibition song (?)

          I personally don't see what the problem would be to do this during an exhibition song. In fact, 90% of the times I've seen it done or had someone honor me it was during an exhibition song. I can see not doing it during a contest song as that might sway the judges or distract the other dancers or the dancer himself, but I do belive its open during exhibitions. One thing to keep in mind here is that there are lots of different ways of doing this b/c there are lots of northern and southern plains tribes Hope that helps, and good luck with your youth group.


          • #20
            I agree with BEaded Pony and War Dancer, this is what Ive been told by several people and the way I do it. Im not saying it is the one way to do it, but it seems to be the correct protocol at almost every "southern" dance Ive been to. But like everything else, things are different all over.

            The expressed opinions above are not particularly the opinions of the author's friends, family, or employer.


            • #21
              dont know nuthin bout spiking or staking...north enough where we've already had snow here if a dancer has money put at the feet-they would certainly be seen as selfish to pick up that money or to even accept it! here: up to the arena director with the whip and every arena director I ever saw takes it to the elders always...


              • #22
                Wow. This has been by far the best thread I have ever seen on a board. The information was all presented in a good way, and I don't think I saw a single flame. I just wanted to thank everyone for posting, even though it wasn't even my question, cause the replies here were all great.

                Thanks again.
                Build a man a fire and you warm him for a night. Set a man on fire and you warm him for the rest of his life.


                • #23

                  It has all been said, it refers to honoring the dancer and the style of dance and normally the whipman or arena director takes the money to an elder or someone in the audience.
                  When I was young it was different, it wasnot money that was laid down, it was a gift or many little gifts such as tobacco, prints, material, beads, etc, these were given as a way to help anyone who recieved it.
                  here is a young boy from the Kamloops Indian band who dances grass..however it is indeed very moving to watch him dance as this young boy has Cerebral Plasy and dances with two crutches as he moves around to the beat of the drum.
                  It is awesome to see this young man dance his best, smiling and watching the whipmen and arena director try their best to keep up to the multiple numbers of dancers, drummers, spectators laying down money evrywhere.
                  It makes one think twice when you start feeling sorry for yourself becuase your rythmn is off, or you pulled a muscle or tightened up dancing, he is a remarkable young man who gives me inspiration evey time I see him.
                  I do know that pow-wows at home frown on money being layed down during finals in competition, but a good judge is usually not influenced by this.
                  Myself, whenever I am given money for helping out in giveaways, intiations, etc, I generally give half back to the committee and the other half to those less fortunate than myself, I consider myself lucky as i can afford to travel all over, stay in nice rooms and eat in restaurants, many of our people cannot and going to a pow-wow is a big thing. Especially if they have children.



                  • #24
                    I'm from the Northeast, I am a Jingle Dancer and I have been honored before with money placed at my feet. around here its custom to dance around the money until the song is over then some one comes in and hands you the money. for me I felt uncomfortable keeping it. I don't compete or believe in it. I asked a MicMac elder what to do. He told me to donate it to a charity or fundraiser of some sort. but that to give it to someone else would be considered rude and an insult to whoever gave it to you. I did give the money away but I followed his advice. so next time should I give it to an Elder? or danate it to a charity like he said? maybe its just different tradtions here in the Northeast. eh?


                    • #25
                      Doesn't anybody ever stop and THINK about WHY they do the things they do?! Or does everybody just follow a so-called tradition because somebody somewhere did it and it "looked" like a tradition??

                      There is a story about a lady who used to cut off the legs of the Thanksgiving turkey before she cooked it. One day, her daughter asked her why she did that. The lady said she didn't know why, it was just something her mother had done but it was an old tradition. The lady asked her mother why she did that. The lady's mother said she didn't know, it was just something that HER mother had done and it was an old tradition. So, curious, they went to the old grandmother and asked her why she started this tradition. She replied, "because my pan was too small to fit the whole turkey in".

                      Do you really think dancing around money reflects a Native value?! Do you really think that keeping money for yourself is a Native value?! Do you really think a Native value is "honoring" a dancer by basically PAYING him or her with money?!

                      C'mon, people! If you don't understand the Native values and culture, you get misinformation taken as "fact" and conversations like this one.
                      Not better. Not worse. Just different.


                      • #26
                        I hear ya Lngfthr.

                        Let me tell you of another one that I get a chuckle out of when I read about it on these forums.

                        Women raising there fans on the honor beats. I have read ad naueum about when tradish/jingle dress dancers should raise there fans and why they do it. I used to carpool with an older Lakota/Dakota lady whose pow wow/clebration experience dated back to the 30's. I asked her where this practice came from. She told me that when an honor song was song, for instance a veterans song, and women were dancing, during the honor beats, a mother, sister, daughter, granddaughter etc, would raise her fan or her hand to acknowledge that she had relatives who had been the service. When celebrations started to spread and drums would sing veterans/honor songs etc for contests, dancers (that understood the langauge because honor songs are song in the langauge) would raise their fan to acknowledge whatever the song was about. Of course other dancers saw this, thought it looked cool or thought they were suppose to raise their fan, so now every one does it as if it is written in stone somewhere.

                        I really get a chuckle out of the jingle dress forum and dancers talking about when and why you raise your fan. Ladies, while I am not Anishanabe, back when I first seen Jingle dress come on to the pow wow trail, Jingle dancers did not wear feathers, plumes, carry fans or purses.

                        Hey lngfthr maybe we ought to start a Loch Ness monster forum. Myths that have become legend!! what do you think??


                        [This message has been edited by Sahnish (edited October 26, 2000).]

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


                        • #27
                          Sahnish - the fans!! OMG!! The fans!!

                          I have watched all dancers, not just women traditional and jingle, raise their fans or sticks, or dead animals or whatever. I have been to some macashaw pow-wows where there are so many items raised, it looks like you're going through a tunnel as you dance past!!

                          These people hold their arms up so long that all the blood starts flowing to their feet, making it harder to walk or dance. I onto something or what?

                          I be so smart....
                          Everything is gonna be alright!

                          Be blessed - got love???

                          This b me.....



                          • #28

                            Well, isn't this the point of the teach someone that is asking a question. To me the best way to beat ignorance is through education.


                            Why did you ask the older woman your question? Was it because you didn't know and wanted to know? Don't you feel that others might benefit from your new found knowledge, instead of just giggling at them?

                            I agree with you guy that some of these things get way out of hand and suddenly become 'tradition' and it drives me nuts too, but I feel that everyone can teach and we can learn from even the young. I realize that some folks act like what they do is the only way and will probably never change, but they still hear what you have said and some do eventually come around and wise up.

                            Think about it everyone, if you do something twice the same way you can call it a tradition. That's why I don't really like the term. (though for some things there is not a better one)

                            "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.


                            • #29
                              I would agree with you except for the fact that, when an Indian says something on these boards about traditions, it is often refuted by the non-Indian dancers: Oh, no! YOU might do it that way but this how WE do it. Then all the others jump in: I agree with so-and-so, not everyone is that same, we have different traditions, blah, blah... and people continue playing Indian their own way, putting on "performances" and "teaching" other non-Indians.

                              I get tired of people telling Indians to teach and correct but, when we try to do that, we get argument and rebuttal and denial! Is it any wonder that we sometimes just give up and resort to humor? (Oh, by the way, here's another tidbit of insight: traditional Native parenting styles used chiding and shaming as a means of correcting behavior. Obviously, that's not a non-Native style.)

                              Sahnish, you know I'm an honorary Irishwoman now thanks to Keedoh so I'm with ya on the Loch Ness thing!! McLngthr <<--
                              Not better. Not worse. Just different.


                              • #30
                                Powwowbum 49

                                I asked the lady because I like to know why things are the way that they are. While it might be true that others might gain from what I learned, and this was many years ago by the way, do you think that info would make a difference? Do you think that because in ND we believe that a women should only raise there fan in the manner I spoke of, that dancers that have read this will stop raisng their fans now?? I don't think so. People take information and incorporate into their belief system and used this info to justify or validate what they are doing. My info for most traditional/jingle dancers just got tossed because it does not fit into most "Indians" practice these days. My purpose on this board has never been to be a teacher. As I have said in other forums there is a method or ritual to get info. If you truly wish to be "enlighten" than do your home work and get to it.

                                I also like to mention Indian humor here. Up here in ND and maybe the plains, We love a good laugh. If you can accomplish this "laugh" with out the person being laughed at even knowing they are the object of the joke, it is even funnier. Yeah, it is probably mean, but if it is funny, hey that is how we have survived this long. I often wonder, when I hear about pow wow "traditions" in other places if this isn't "Indin humor" at its best. I could just hear one of the boys telling this. "Yeah, I told this Chief that a true leader of the people always dances barefoot, to show that he is a common man, and so humble he doesn't even wear moccasins." Or "I gave this white guy this whistle and told him he was an official whistle carrier and they really like it when you blow a whistle on the northern plains." I guess we will never know.



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


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