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  • Owl Feathers

    At the last few Pow Wows I've been to, I've seen several people dancing with Owl feathers. I know that each tribe has different feelings about the Owl, but what about people dancing with Owl feathers?

  • #2
    Relatives - Cherokee and Huron - have told me it's a bad idea.

    Pawnee friends won't go near any part of the owl.

    An Ojibwa relative told me that he wouldn't carry owl feathers into the circle although he personally doesn't have any problem with them.

    Just information from someone who's running hard to catch up on her learning.

    With respect,
    Lee
    "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

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    • #3
      Growing up in mu grandparents house there was always an owl feather hanging over the door. It was for keeping the bad medicine people away(witches in euro speak)
      My granpda has gone home but I have an owl feather hanging over my door too, unless I have some Dineh freinds coming over, Owl feather induced attacks with a plastic fry bread bowls by Dineh women in your house is not an experience I want to repeat againLOL
      A Warrior without character is nothing more than a brute.

      I have lots of freinds, you just cant see them:)

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      • #4
        There is mixed feelings about the owl in my area, then again, my area is very tribally mixed. Some folks wear them, but not everyone likes it.

        The white owl is looked at by some as a messenger. I have seen many pictures of Lakota dancers wearing great horned owl feathers in their nest bustles, however. Every now and then owl feathers are seen on dancers in SD, but I haven't seen any white owl feathers.
        Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

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        • #5
          Thanksf or the info straightdancerinaz, I took what she told me as truth. She said her family does sings etc(basically that they are medicine people) her last name is Begay(go figureLOL) from Farmington.
          Im dont know about your beliefs over there so I just asked. My little 1/2 brother (Northern Cheyene/Creek)danced with a wolf skin one time at Gathering and a little Dineh boy aske dim if he was skinwalker after he had been getting dity looks from people. He though it was cause he hadnt put deoderant on
          Anyways, we see the owl as a messenger also but not as anything bad. The feather over teh doorway is so it watches over everyone who enters the house from whoever might be a Por'rv.
          So to us its portector, ever watchful and nothing to be feared. When I think about it Ive never heard of fearing any animals in any of our stories. They all have something to teach us and are not to be feared.
          Anyways, thanks for the enlightmen straightdncr, there is so much disinformation out there that when people take it as truth and pass it on to later generations then it becomes set in stone and far removed from the actuality of its origins.
          A Warrior without character is nothing more than a brute.

          I have lots of freinds, you just cant see them:)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by straightdancerinaz:

            Oh they are real, just not men and women that wear animal skins. They are people, subject to the whims of the Almighty, and subject to the Creators punishments when they leave this earth.

            No one gets out of this life without paying for their wrong doings.

            Good statement...very well put

            ------------------
            Robert Laughing Owl
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            Robert Laughing Owl
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            • #7
              I agree with Straightdancerinaz also. I was taught that the owl is the messenger. The owl sits at the right shoulder to warn of any dangers coming. It did not mean death was coming, just acting as a protector in forwarning. I personaly have owl feathers in my home (tail feathers) I also have friends that were taught owl feathers were bad. I just explained to them not to me and they are in my home for my benefit. Fear is instilled in oneself, by oneself and others and you should not fear what you do not know. I do not dance with owl feathers, because so many fear them, but they are always with me. In fact I keep one in my desk at the office (Pst no one knows why, but I have never had anything taken from this desk either)

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              • #8
                Not knowing alot about most souther tribal beliefs i have noticed that it is less tolerated down here than it is up north. I personally dance with owl feathers but very few just for the simple fact that I dont like to run off my friends that are lumbee and tsalagi ect...
                They understand why I have them and I respect them by not overdoing it around them. I have been to some pow wos where there have been several people in full owl bustle sets and everything and it seems not to bother anyone...but those were up north. The only real reasons I have gooten have been from a few dear friends Emorson Begay told me that Navajo people believe thay are signs of witches, and Eddy Bushyhead told me that Tsalagi people believe that they are messengers and by messing with them even after death you may interupt a message so to speak. Both of them understood my reasons for using them and again I respected them not to overdo it around them. I know there are some Kiowa people here I think what are there reasons in short...they are scared to death of them I know.

                ------------------
                Robert Laughing Owl
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                http://community.wolfstar.com/sc-aim
                Robert Laughing Owl
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                http://community.wolfstar.com/sc-aim

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                • #9
                  there is a book out there about the cheroke that raises a good point. in it, it states that the owl and the wolve were the only two animals the stayed up for all of creation and that they rememer everything that happens.


                  keith

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                  • #10
                    My late GG grand father was named 'Wap Ohoo", White owl. He belonged to the society with the same name. So I witnessed many headdresses of this type in ceremony. The owl is known as the night eagle to many of our people.
                    To some they signify danger, but to myself they are a messenger who warns one of impending risk or danger, ie: bad medicine.

                    This is very much appreciated and the teaching behind the warning is invaluable.
                    They are often the bringer of bad and good news. They have taught myself to seek out the positives in all situations.

                    May coastal tribe shere are scared of the owl and will have nothing to do with them.
                    Owl is the one who has the abiltiy to spaek to the night people.

                    ITs powers equal the eagle in the other time of the day. I have seen many small boys with owl bustles and a few fans, but generally the owl is rarely seen in pow-wows here. THe most one sees of the owl in pow-wow is the owl dance or snagginda cnes as they are often referred to? *LOL*

                    Kahkakew

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                    • #11
                      Thanks everybody for their stories!

                      I did some research on European tribal attitudes toward the owl.

                      Results: Very interesting and quite varied attitudes, with several nations considering them helpful in childbirth.

                      With respect,
                      Lee
                      "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

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                      • #12
                        Another piece of information that I've gathered over the years (from reliable sources - discussions with elders, museum archives, etc.) is that during the smallpox, measles and chicken pox epidemics that hit the plains tribes, often owls sculpted out of mud were placed in trees outside of the camps to warn anyone who planned on entering the camp that sickness and death were there.
                        Pony

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                        • #13
                          I don't want to throw anyone off the topic because I have been learning a lot but I just wanted to say that this discussion so far should serve as an example of how further discussions should go. Everyone here is being very respectful, has not copped a "know-it-all" lecture tone and are using qualifying statements (the way I learned, in my family, in my area, the research I've done, etc.). I just wanted to say that the conversation has been so much more enjoyable to read and learn from because of this. Thank you all!!
                          Not better. Not worse. Just different.

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                          • #14
                            Ahhh! Just my subject!! I am Shawnee... this is one bird I can relate to!! Owls are precious creatures, as are all of the creatures we share this earth with. Owls are destroyers of deception ( sharing my teaching with you here) They are there to tell you when something is wrong... Only Creator can decide when it is time for us to leave here... not an owl. I understand some people do not honor the owl and that is a choice they make. I personally feel the wolf is a beautiful brother but I would not go out of my way to jump someone over being " offended" by it as long as it was taken in a good way. Creator made all of our brothers and sisters... including the owl. And as stated before.. it is man's misconception that creates the "bad omens" on animals.
                            I too, have owl feathers over my doorways, to protect my home and my daughter. Here on the east coast... you can get put out of a dance circle for having one in your possession on the grounds!! sad, isn't it, that not all people can live their ways!
                            But then I laugh when people cry owl and it's actually a hawk wing someone has. I have seen grown women cover their faces and run off in terror over someone's foolishness.
                            Education is the key. And i knew an Ojibway man, he has gone on now, but he was raised with the old ways.. and he once told me that his people didn't used to fear the owl... but it was a new thing... and although I do not proclaim to know a great deal... Cherokees, old clan times, didn't care for the screech owl due to the sound it made... they didn't have a problem with the others.
                            And the Snow Owl... that's my baby. It's a matter of respect, somethine we Shawnees don't get over here. I have been run out of many dance rings for having one owl feather in my tent. try living here and being who you are. Owls are beautiful and just as vital to Creators overall plan as the eagle.
                            and one thing I must say for the owl... a hummingbird doesn't scare it away ( eagles flee from hummingbirds)

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                            • #15
                              Every thing everyone said here is interesting and conforms to stories I have heard. What I didn't hear said was the Some of the Southern Plains ideas about Owls, with the exception about someone's Pawnee friends staying away from them. My Comanche friends tell me that only socerers use owl feathers and owls house ghosts and are associated with death. I have seen some of the old timers leave a dance because someone has brought owl feathers there. Some of the old timers will keep crow feathers over their door to protect their houses and families because crows keep owls away. FYI

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