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Give Aways

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  • DCP
    THANK YOU! I could not agree more. It chaps my hide when people apologize for taking up time for giveaways. I was told a long time ago that it isn't a powwow without a giveaway, and that will always stay with me.

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  • BeadedPony
    It's not necessarily the person speaking who keeps things going, it's the organization that goes into the giveaway that keeps it running smoothly. My suggestion is -- don't use a written list and then try to find the gift for the person whose name has been called out. Label everything you plan to give away. Have someone help you by picking up the item, saying the name to the person speaking and then hand the item to you. This keeps the "event" running smoothly. When I've had giveaways, the only items that I have stacked in a special "me first" pile are those for the principals...HD, HS, MC, AD, etc.

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  • powwowbum
    Some of the items I have gotten the most use of are drum stick bags and cushions with ribbon work on them. I also recieved a really cool minature sofa that was actually a cover for a box of kleenex! The material is a cool calico and the sofa has pillows attached! Vests with ribbon work are also inexpensive and appreciated.

    As for the practice of scattering candy, no personal attach, but I don't really care for the practice. I think our kids can be kids without teaching them to go grabbing and scrambling like a pack of starved dogs. May I suggest treat my with respect by handing them a bag and shaking thier hand. Bottles of bubbles seem to be very popular with kids, by the way.

    There also seems to be a common practice (by the person speaking) to apologize for the time taken to have the giveaway. DON'T! It's an important lesson and as much a part of the powwow as anything. Just have someone speak who can keep it moving, calling those names. Good luck and nice effort!


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  • Nativeheartswoman
    Well said, rabbitbelly. That is the right idea someone sitting on drum should have.

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  • rabbitbelly
    Giving till it hurts, doesn't necessarily involve a large bank account. If you don't have the money to buy gifts, then you find other ways to acquire gifts. There was NO money in the old days and even in the not so long ago days, but giveaways still were, and are big and 'expensive'. Giving till it hurts is the idea. It's up to you to figure out how your gonna do it. And yeah, they are great and I'd sit through hours of giveaways at my drum rather then go through contest after meaningless contest any day!

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  • FancyJingle
    That's my thoughts, exactly, straight dancer! I have always believed that you shouldn't just give till it hurts financially. I have felt that you should give with your heart, not your bank account. For my Jingle Dress giveaway, I was proud to say that I had made everything that I gave away. Somethings might have been rather little, but they came from my heart, and were made with the people in mind. I have always felt that it meant more.

    Besides, some of us don't have the bank accounts to empty out, so we have to make things by hand. Giving till it hurts may be possible for some, but not for many. It is not the price of the gifts, or even the size, it is the thought. I know that my dad really appreciated everything that he was ever given, no matter what the size, as he understood the thought, and that was how I was taught.

    Giveaways are such happy times, aren't they? Even if you had nothing at all to do with it.


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  • rabbitbelly
    Hey, one thing, don't be afraid to make your give away big and public. The reason we do these things is to serve as an example to others, pay respects to individuals and to the community at large,and to show our peers and elders that we are doing things properly and keeping the traditions going. Handing gifts out privately is fine but there's nothing wrong with doing it at your home powwow in a public way. It usually costs more that way,but it gives everyone there a chance to share in the good feelings you are celebrating. This is the way I've usually seen it done although I've seen and done it privately too. You can even see lots of pics of turn of the century giveaways done in the center of the people. After all, the honor songs all speak about coming to the center.

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  • BeadedPony
    Don't forget your water boys! They carry the gift of life to your dancers. How about a new Sacajawea $ for each -- either uncirculated in the protective wrap or a few circulated ones. Because they're new and depict an NA -- they'd be great.

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  • miigwan
    two more cents from this Northwoods on give aways...

    There is a giveaway ceremony in our tradition that we still carry on today.

    I am uncomfortable discussing the particulars of this but it is beautiful to participate in.

    Perhaps becuase of this ceremony, I am the way I am about giveaways.

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  • miigwan
    When is the give away?

    don't worry about how much or how little you have to give away. It is an honor to have generosity in itself.

    In my experience of having recieved many gifts and having given many gifts is that the gifts simply be given and recieved.

    when I have gifts to giveaway, I never stop a pow wow for it. I kinda see doing so as selfish. It would be like saying to everyone look how important I am. Can you see me! Do you want to know how important I am. Look at how much I have to giveaway...blah blah blah

    I prefer to do so by taking the gifts to whoever I am taking it to-I might say please accept this gift on behalf of my daughter dancing today or whatever...I usually have my helpers who are my family or friends help me take out these gifts to this community at the pow wow if this is where I am giving them.

    Prior to starting the giving I have taken tobacco to the arena director so that he is aware that I have prepared these gifts and I ask that I be allowed to give them away here. I also ask that I be allowed to ask a drum for an honor song after I have given my gifts away. Once I have given the arena director and that drum tobacco I give those gifts away until they are gone. Usually the arena director will notify the emcee that I have finished giving these gifts away and the next song from whatever drum is an honor song for those gifts. He then announces that if you have recieved a gift to please come out and dance for that gift on this song. The emcee will also explain briefly the purpose for which these gifts were given.

    I have had giveaways at pow wows for only a few reasons. I have given gifts at the end of my childrens regns as royalties to the communities at which they were chosen to represent. I have given gifts because I am grateful for a communities support when one of my children had nearly drowned and the support of prayer had helped me cope and allow my child to heal. I have also brought gifts for giveaways for my family that might be honoring something.

    what do we give away? Everything and anything. Always cedar something. The kids will help gather small cedar boughs that we will usually tie with either the four directions colors or the givers colors. I also gather sage intended for giveaways. Cloth is usually given by us. We have also made drumsticks and all kinds of stuff. Give things that are going to be used. Give from your heart and the giveaway is about the gift you have recieved. You are giving things away because you were given a gift or responsibilty...

    As for gifts and giveaways associated with our regalia. This I do more privately. We feast our outfits with each season. Not a huge feast or anything. it is a plate of fruits and whatever that is taken out to the spirits. I often will hang our outfits outside and smudge them outside before they are worn in to the circle for a first time -let the spirits come to it...I will also honor the first time outfit on the day it is worn with an honor song and an invitation to dancers to support this dancer by dancing with us. I have gifts for that drum which is always tobacco and money and sometimes is gifts beyond that as well.

    good luck and have fun.

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  • RW
    Great Thankyou everyone for your input and ideas! I like all of them. The Baskets that Iam Making are Highly Valued up here in the Pacific Northwest..They are made of CedarBark that has been prepared in a special way and woven into baskets $200 to $600 value...I have wove small ones for younger folks, but I have a few large ones for the Older folks... Elders/Singers and dancers are my priority. I will also be giving out Candy bags to the kids. I like the silver dollar in the Hankerchief Idea. I dont have much money(jobless/college student )..But I am fortunate to be a pretty good craftmen in the Oldways from up here...Cedar Bark basketry,Stone,bone and Ivory carving. I am a Drum Maker and Have made a few Handdrums to give out too. I aprecciate all your great Ideas everyone! Thankyou!
    Take care.

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  • Grandpa
    Guest replied
    Don't forget those lady singers and cooks.
    A silver dollar wraped in a white handkercheif is tradional in the south. Little bags with thread, needles, and a comb is also traditional. But anding saftey pins is always good.

    ps. food baskets, with coffee, flour, sugar, salt, fruit, and munchies are always a plus. help out those old timers.

    [This message has been edited by Grandpa (edited May 10, 2000).]

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  • rabbitbelly
    horse, buffalo robes, parfleches,quilts,etc..
    To be a real giveaway, it must hurt. It's too easy to give trinkets. The old timers would give, from the heart, everything they had!

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  • CEM
    In addition to all of the above I've seen bottled water, soda, tobacco, blank cassettes, and cough drops given to the drums.

    RW-Could you describe your cedar baskets? That's not something I've seen before.

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  • pgowder
    My mother-in-law gave me a Pow Wow Emergency Kit with needles, pins, scissors, tp, face wipes, etc. This would make a great giveaway item!

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