No announcement yet.

Placing money at dancers feet

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Placing money at dancers feet

    I was not sure how to label this topic for my question. At pow-wows when the MC calls for a specific style of dancers to dance(ex. all Jingle dancers only) I have noticed that sometimes people will drop money at a dancers feet. The dancer then stays in that spot to dance. When the song is over, someone will come out and pick up the money and hand it to the dancer. When I was at the NOAC(national OA conference) pow-wow, the MC called for the different type of lady dancers to dance.(there were several of us "female brothers" there). While the ladies in Jingle were dancing a boy came out and placed money at her feet. Immediately a man (who is Lenni Lanape)came out, picked up the money, handed it to the lady and escorted the young man outside for a 'talk'. My question is, what are the rules and protocal for placing money at a dancer's feet? What was different about that situation vs. a regular pow-wow? Forgive my ignorance, I'm still learning.

  • #2
    I know in canada they do that do honor the dancer because they like the style the dancer shows. The arena director is the one who goes and picks it up and gives to an elder in the crowd. That is my understanding and teaching that has been passed down to me. Hope this helps


    • #3
      I don't have a definitive answer for you exactly - just a speculation. I was at NOAC (my niece was dancing fancy shawl - purple, pink, teal outfit - young girl). She was also "staked" (money dropped at her feet).

      I think the situation was not so much staking a female dancer, as it was staking a "jingle dancer." It might be that in his eyes or traditions, it is wrong to stake this particular dance style as Jingle Dance is considered a "medicine dance" by most people I've encountered. He (the older man) may have felt it was wrong to hold a jingle dancer in place, corrected the situation, then took the young man aside to explain why he had released the dancer.

      We have been to powwows where we have seen jingle dancers and other dancers staked, although we've noticed it doesn't happen much (and sometimes not at all) at contest powwows. I didn't see the particular incident you are referring to take place.

      If we are talking about the same fellow (was he one of the advisors to the conference?), if you watched him, he staked a few dancers himself, and always remained near the dancer in the arena dancing in place with them until the song was over, at which point he would pick up the stake money and hand it to them. If its the same man, he's not adverse to staking and he is definitely pro-educating folks about powwow and American Indian traditions.

      I'm betting he didn't feel it was appropriate to stake jingle dancers. He didn't release any of the other women's dance styles that were staked and I'm basing my "guess" on knowing that he didn't release the others.

      [This message has been edited by Nagi (edited October 08, 2000).]
      Be the change you want to happen.


      • #4
        Usually the only time I know that you cant 'spike' a dancer is during competition. Since competition at NOAC is only mens since young women arent allowed in the OA (i could be wrong, i forgot all about BSA and OA when our council forgot about the kids)i think it may just have been the guys own belief. Yes Jingle Dress was created as a medicine dance, but embarrassing that kid who honored that dancer was the wrong thing to do. If it was a true MEDICINE DANCE why do they compete for money? Why do they dance at powwows? Oh, I see, "My medicine is better than your medicine" dance.

        As for someones own beliefs, IT IS A BOY SCOUT EVENT!!! YOU SHOULD EXPECT SOME ODD THINGS!!! If they are worried about someone honoring a GOOD dancer they should come up here to the NE and check us out. Ive seen every type of dancer spiked. Ive seen people dance with a pheasant skin tied to their head, Ive seen GROWN MEN dance with coyote skulls on sticks that have the jaw wired to open and close!!! Ive seen guys dance with roaches with 20 feather spreaders!!! Its pretty interesting.

        Maybe someone can clear the whole 'spiked dancer' story up from NOAC.
        The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.


        • #5
          Howdy! I have never heard the word staked or spiked for dancers when the money is places in front on the floor.When its done up here the person just keeps dancing around the arena. I have never seen a person stop and dance right where money is placed. Usually up here when folks place money infront of a dancers feet it is so the dancer might dance over the money and bless it, then the arena derector picks the bills up and distributes it out to an elders that represents that catagory..(ie Womans Trad. the money goes to an woman elder who used ot or still does dance). the money is picked up only by the AD. Its not right to give the money to the dancer..If a person likes that dancers style and steps and intends for that dancer to recieve the money, that person should give the money in a handshake to the dancer after they have just danced.
          I would love to see the way that guy fit 20 feathers on his spreader and I would really injoy seein these dudes with the puppet skulls and Phesant skins!! why dont they ever come out this way? Dang I never get to have any fun!!
          take care


          • #6
            I've been around pow-wows my whole life and, like Rich, I've never heard of a dancer being "staked" or "spiked".

            We have a tradition up here where money can be donated to an elder or a visitor via a special dancer. This is, like Rich said, where the gift is put at the feet of the dancer and he or she dances over it and continues around the arena. After the dancer has passed over it, the guest, the visitor or the Arena Director can retrieve the money. If the Arena Director picks it up, he usually gives it to a visitor or elder in the crowd. It is then that persons responsibility to shake hands with the original donor (and the dancer too, if they want). If a guest or visitor retrieves it before the song ends, he or she should dance along the sidelines for the rest of the song and then shake hands with the original donor.

            Up here, the practice started (and still occurs) with blankets and shawls donated instead of just money. These gifts are not FOR the dancer but IN HONOR of the dancer. In traditional Indian way, this giving to an elder or visitor in the dancer's name is more of an honor than giving a dancer money. By giving to a visitor or elder in a dancer's name, the donor ensures that the visitor or elder will look at the dancer with kind regards and remember him or her.

            I'm not sure where this practice that y'all are talking about came from but it sounds suspiciously like a corruption of this practice to me.
            Not better. Not worse. Just different.


            • #7
              I think that the practice of staking or spiking a dancer is more of a southern tradition, used to honor a dancer. I agree with Nagi in the feeling that the person who released the jingle dancer didnt want her pegged, as it is view as a medicine dance (term used here lately is prayer dance) I have been at dances where jinglers are staked during intertribals though, and "ususally" that isnt a problem. A little fyi, women not female youth, can be in OA, I am.


              • #8
                Originally posted by lngfthr:
                I've been around pow-wows my whole life and, like Rich, I've never heard of a dancer being "staked" or "spiked". ... We have a tradition up here where money can be donated to an elder or a visitor via a special dancer. ... I'm not sure where this practice that y'all are talking about came from but it sounds suspiciously like a corruption of this practice to me.
                I think we need to open a NEW folder about "Myth vs. Reality" or "From Fiction to Fact" or something!! Then we can post something like this staking/spiking thingy and find out what the TRUTH is!! THANK you for inputting on it and ESPECIALLY thank you for being honest without calling folks a wannabe, etc.

                Living in the Southeast, you get some really strange ideas going on. I'm not sure if it's because there are more "mixed" powwows down this way or because the powwow traditions are being adapted to the native cultures of the Southeast and their own traditions. Everytime I have to unlearn something or relearn something, I have to remind myself that the Southeast is not the origination point of powwows.

                The main issue out of all this is that we need to clear up the misinformation/misconceptions/myths regardless of where they come from and regardless of who is perpetuating them.

                Folks that want to learn will find a way to learn. It's up to folks that know to determine if they are willing to teach truth or continue to be stereotyped because no one is correcting the misinformation and TAKE YOUR FINGER OFF THAT BIG RED FLAME BUTTON ... I'M STILL TALKING HERE!!

                I don't mean sacred stuff. I mean things like this. Too often, people tend to say "well ... they're just a bunch of wannabe's ... we'll laugh at them." WHY???

                Isn't what people do wrong, isn't the stereotyping just their perception of something? If it's a wrong image, who is responsible to correct it? If it isn't corrected, can we really continue to get mad because "they don't understand us?"

                I would rather spend the rest of my life teaching people that "NO ... all Indians do/did NOT live in Tipis and do/did NOT wear war bonnets" than laugh at them for doing something wrong. I would rather learn the truth FROM people than ABOUT people. Example: I am not FROM the area where powwow originated and I did not learn FROM the people who know fact from fiction. I accept that and am willing to un-/relearn as indicated.

                We need to stop condemning people for stereotyping things unless we are willing to correct the misinformation afterwhich they STILL do things wrong.

                This is not implying that the folks who posted so far have laughed at or condemned anyone via their posts. Kudos to RW, lngfthr, & Itokasniye for being forthright and willing to educate.

                Okay ... I'm done talking. If you want to push that big red flame button, press the one that says PM (private message). KIDS read these boards too and it is not necessary to teach them how to hate based on race, etc.

                Be the change you want to happen.


                • #9
                  I have never heard it called spike or staking a dancer. It happens a lot here in the south it is generally just honoring the dancer. I have seen all styles of dancing honored in this way. I have been honored a couple of times by special friends and family. In the south we do stop and dance around the money.
                  I have only seen it in non contest powwows.
                  This is only what I have been told and what I have seen.

                  [This message has been edited by Starla (edited October 09, 2000).]


                  • #10
                    I have to say I've seen this done both ways described, but also have never heard it called "staking" or "spiking." As a volleyball player, I wouldn't ever want anyone to "spike me." In SD and ND, its common for people to lay quilts or blankets at a dancer's feet, and then for an elder to come out and pick it up or the Arena Director pick it up and present it to an elder in the crowd. From what I've learned of Southern Plains customs (Oklahoma stuff) its common to lay money at a dancer's feet who then dances by the money. The money can be picked up by the Arena Director, but usually the person who honored will come pick up the money and shake the dancer's hand. When I've been honored like this, I always give the money to the drum group who was singing that particular song.


                    • #11
                      I have seen money placed at dancers feet on many different occasions, usually to thank that dancer for their style. Some dancers do not give notice and continue to dance around, leaving the money dropped to be distributed according to the discretion of the arena director. Others stop and dance harder, knowing they have been honored, and as more money comes, they stay in the general vicinity, dancing over it, but I've never seen that person actually step on the money. If this person is an adult, 9 times out of 10, they will pick up the money and place it on the drum for the song, or as others have stated, give it to someone else of their choice. However, if the money was given to a child, that child has been encouraged to keep the money, to thank them and keep them dancing. Others that have been honored have attached the money to their regalias in some fashion, showing their pride in being honored.

                      I have seen times when money was dropped and the arena director will not allow it. If the dancer is dancing in competition, this is not allowed. If there is an honor song, it is also not allowed. The point being, no one person should be singled out when the focus should be on something else.

                      Make sense? I hope so. I'm tired of typing.

                      By the way, this is the way I have seen it in the Eastern States, from Fl to CT. I've never seen it written in a rule book, just done this way.
                      Everything is gonna be alright!

                      Be blessed - got love???

                      This b me.....



                      • #12
                        I agree with Ingfthr that the gifts are in HONOR of the dancer, not FOR the dancer. I was taught this as well.
                        I also agree that this practice may be somewhat corrupted these days. When a dancer is honored in such a way-- the bucks do not belong to the dancer, but are to be given AWAY with the same honorable purpose and glee by which it was gifted. The Drum may be "tipped", especially if the song was requested, but the gifts should be given to Elders or those who supported the teachings of the dancer by the dancer in a graceful and non-public or self serving manner. I cannot imagine a Grass or Jingle dancer getting $$$ at their feet, unless there is a known and very good reason.
                        I feel the corruption lies in the many vulgar attempts where the $$$ is not offered by the Spirit of the situation but rather the true "spiking" lies in the particular dancer's baiting the public with a friend who places the money first. The on lookers THINK this is what they should do as well.
                        I have also been taught that money or even a blanket should not be touched by the dancer or even the Drum when gifted. That would also be vulgar. These days I see Hoop dancers and whomever hurriedly folding blankets, throwing them over their shoulders and then counting the money right in public while laughing, smoking and spitting talking about beer money!
                        The exception I was taught is that children who dance alone are to be admired for their bravery. I happen to like laying money before a young one just coming out or a baby hoop dancer who is kicking up some dust and barely gets a hoop around his left toe and around his little back!~
                        As far as a dancer who is doing a wonderful job in general --I agree that the handshake is more appropriate! If it is a "loaded" shake, fine. If not fine. If they look at ya funny cuz its not a loaded shake too bad for them! If it is an honor dance, a line will form and you can shake hands then and give what you wish. I am not fond of ball caps in hand like an offering plate at church! The way I have seen this done is that the female supporters have little "pockets" in the bodice their outfits and NO money is ever seen, as the bills are folded very tightly and small. Hugs are the best~
                        I was taught that calling attention to oneself is not an honorable way. Though "materials" are passed and traded it should be done humbly and very quietly. Materials are for the community as a whole. Many are unable to supply what is needed, many can give what is needed. Everyone is needed and their personal gifts are just as important as anothers. It would be shameful to publically state who has what and who needs what to be known.
                        Its like a big blanket trade: Everyone puts what they have on the blanket. You may take what you need without shame or embarrassment by putting what you have in trade: even if that is only a prayer.
                        If you are honored your People are honored. Your family and tribe. Thus, you give back.
                        That's why we dance in that big ol' thang called the CIRCLE.


                        • #13
                          Howdy All.

                          I'm kinda curious to see some more posts on this topic. I have seen this done before. It seems that different places do it differently. Up north, like lngfthr said they dance across the money. (or blanket or shawl) But if I recall correctly, when I have been in Oklahoma, the dancer remains in place. I'd love to know some more specific examples of how this is used in differnt places and by different tribes. It would be easy when travelling to different places to make a mistake if something is done differently there. Oh, maybe we should have a "This is how we do it here" forum. That might be very informative.

                          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.


                          • #14
                            Greetings : For my 2 cents worth , I will start by telling you that I dance mostly Mo. , Ks. , and Ok. That out of the way...I was told by a respected Elder and Chief of my peoples " tribe ", The Cheyenne , the money put down to honor a dancer , is just that , TO HONOR THAT DANCER ! It is his/hers to do with what he/she wants . If the person needs it , they may pocket it and go on . Likewise if they have plenty and wish to say...thank the drum , then they would place some or all on the drum , (but it's not mandatory). If they wish they may donate it to the committee , or to an Elder , or even to someone less fortunate that could use it. This is the way I was taught. I have a physically challenged son(cerebral palsey), in effect he is unable to walk without help. He has several outfits , and I encourage him to be in the dance arena as much as possable . People have honored him numerous times and sometimes they will ask that he NOT donate any back , and I honor these requests . Our normal routine though , is to make a donation to the drum , to thank them for the song. I believe that if it were not for these songs , my son would not be walking at all. I didn't mean to change the subject , but this all ties together. Good wishes to All...Later
                            I believe blood quantums are the governments way to breed us out of existance !

                            They say blood is thicker than water ! Now maple syrup is thicker than blood , so are pancakes more important than family ?

                            There are "Elders" and there are "Olders". Being the second one doesn't make the first one true !

                            Somebody is out there somewhere, thinking of you and the impact you made in their life.
                            It's not me....I think you're an idiot !


                            There's a chance you might not like me ,

                            but there's a bigger

                            chance I won't care


                            • #15
                              I have been taught. The A.D. picks it up and straightens it when the song is over then hands it to the person being honored. Then that person is to give at least a portion if not all of it to the drum by going over and placing it directly on the drum then going clock wise around the drum and shake everyone's hand esp. the lead singer and thank them for their wonderful music.


                              Join the online community forum celebrating Native American Culture, Pow Wows, tribes, music, art, and history.

                              Related Topics


                              • Paul G
                                My Experience as a Head Dancer
                                by Paul G
                                Posted by siouxgirl200

                                This was my first time as Head Dancer at any Pow-wow and I have been traveling the Pow-wow circuit for about nine years. I have my favorites that I attend every year and know that being a Head Dancer is a tremendous responsibility. I was asked to be the...
                                11-28-2006, 04:38 PM
                              • Niwiwan2005
                                Throwing Money at a Dancer's Feet..
                                by Niwiwan2005
                                As with many other pow-wow customs, there is quite a difference from region to region or from tribe to tribe. Up in the Midwest, many times people will throw money at a dancer's feet when they are dancing
                                This is often done to show approval of a good dancer or to encourage a young dancer. When...
                                04-28-2005, 09:40 AM
                              • WhoMe
                                What is expected of Head Dancers
                                by WhoMe
                                I have been to powwows where there are head dancers who aren't friendly, look mean or bored, publically gripe, show up late, don't get out to dance every dance and didn't show up at all for an entire session.

                                What are some expectations of good head man and head woman dancers?
                                02-21-2006, 04:25 PM
                              • osagesooner
                                best competition for straight dancers.....
                                by osagesooner
                                Just curious, what powwow(s) has the best competition for straight dancers? Would it be a small one in oklahoma or a high stakes casino powwow?
                                04-13-2004, 11:39 AM
                              • Barney_G
                                Competition Powwows - Age Category Change Suggestions
                                by Barney_G
                                Hi First time poster. I attend as many pow wows as possible & watch many videos from youtube and other sources. What I have noticed is that there are two cats. that could use some adjustment. First, is the junior kids cat. The 6-12 age gap is just too big. The cat. should be split into two, 6-9...
                                08-21-2016, 07:43 PM



                              There are no results that meet this criteria.

                              Sidebar Ad