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Just wondering about eastern powwows?

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  • Just wondering about eastern powwows?

    I noticed that there are alot of powwows on the eastern seaboard from Florida up to Maine. I was just wondering if there is a need for these powwow committees to expand their knowledge of drum groups who are willing to travel and attend their powwows. Its just that I've noticed alot of the same drums being invited over and over and many are not host drum material if you know what i mean. I think that all powwow committees should be aware that the Host drum and the Guest drums should be invited only if they are knowledgeable and experienced in singing the proper and appropriate songs.
    My group takes great pride in knowing appropriate songs and knowing where they come from, who composed the song and what nation a song comes from. We also make sure we have permission to sing another group's songs.
    I am just wondering if these kind of traits are taking in consideration before a powwow committee decides which drum groups are invited.
    Does anyone have any ideas?
    I know our group would like to travel south and share our songs as we are from Canada.


  • #2
    I think most east coast powwows are using drums from the east coast. a majority of the drums are between nj and virginia.

    Plus, Id say half are hobbyist (for lack of a better term). I am and I sing with 2 of these drums. The songs we sing are mostly lakota and all are used either with spoken permission or that little disclaimer on some tapes that says the group like to have other people sing their songs. Most of the ones i sing are porcupine and red leaf takoja. some older stuff also.

    Some dances around here do have drums come from out west and up north. Rice Lake is singing in New Hampshire this weekend. FLA powwows get a lot of the oklahoma drums. Way back in the day Porcupine sang in NJ, and MASS. It is true that nowadays committees overlook these western drums. I think a main reason is money. That and cluture clash. I cant even begin to explain what i meean by culture clash cause it will surely start and arguement. Im sure everyone knows what i mean tho. east meets west.

    I would love to see Northern Cree, Porcupine, Cozad, Young Bird singing at one of our little dinky dances up here.
    The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.


    • #3
      What powwows did you go to on the eastcoast? The ones that I go to the host drums hold it down pretty well. That means knowing all of the appropriate songs and singing them well.I think people in canada and out west sleep on the drums out east, but there's a few that can jam with the best.


      • #4
        I have a few recollections that I thought I'd share about my experiences at eastern powwows that I found amusing. In 1985, I travelled to a powwow on Long Island at the Shinnecock reservation. The group I sang with back then was the Stoney Creek singers from Hamilton, Ontario. Well the powwow began on Saturday and it was weird.
        To begin with, the powwow was on a concrete circle with grass as its base. The powwow began with a young girl dressed in buckskin doing some kind of interpretive dance with a tape of some weird music playing. After this the dancers began dancing up to the front of the stage where the audience was. Then they danced back and forth from the front to the back to the front again.
        There was two other drums there so our group decided to get up and dance and show everyone how it is done. After we danced a few songs, in a clockwise circle, the rest of the dancers copied us for the rest of the weekend. We found this quite amusing and we still laugh about it.
        In 1986, I attended a powwow in Connecticut, there was one drum, 10 dancers and 100 vendors. Anyways, I approached the drum and asked if I could sit in and sing with them. Well they all gave me an emphatic No! Closed Drum! Closed drum ? is there a singing contest going on I asked. LOL, they just ignored me after that. Later on, one of the singers came over and apoligized for their behavior, he said he just moved out here from Wisconsin and started singing with these guys, the Wakeby Lake drum.
        I stuck around for the evening session because they announced a 49 that was to take place in the evening. When I returned, the drum was singing a straight song, while the dancers were dancing around a huge bonfire. I asked someone in the crowd when the 49 was to start. They said this is it! Man I couldn't take it anymore, so I gathered up some singers and borrowed a drum off a vendor and proceeded to sing some old time 49 tunes while instructing the dancers to round dance.
        The powwows out east have come a long way since then but if you think about it, it really wasn't that long ago. It is understandable that there is a shortage of experienced and knowledgeable singers out east. I do agree with Off the Top, that only those worthy of being Host drum should be given this honour but I guess any group will do for those powwow committees who are inexperienced.


        • #5
          There is STILL some weird crupola goin on out here. The problem now is the little itty bitty groups of people who have somehow found out that they are 1/billionth indian from a tribe that went extinct when the meteor hit and killed the dinosaurs.

          A lot of white groups (hobbysts) started powwowing (WITH indian approval) back in the 60's, most of these powwows fizzeled out or were taken over by "the tribe of the week" and run into the ground.

          I went to a powwow on long island last august that has been run by a scout group whoo know what they are doing. NOW the Mammaronicockisquatiquots took it over and have turned it into a spiritual gathering that they have to educate everyone present in everything that happens. I think there is a blessing of some sort ever 3 minutes and a dropped feather song for turkey and goose feathers. IT IS GETTING RE-G-D-DICULOUS!!!

          There are some white groups left who are barely surviving and need support. They are trying to do the right thing but "Princess Bright Rainbow" "Chief Ripples in the Cold Morning Water" and "Shaman Angry Growling Bear" keeps trying to take over.

          PLEASE HELP US!!!
          The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.


          • #6
            Pow-wows in the East have come a long way - and getting better, I think. I don't know about itokasniye's experiences - I am sure they are real, but there are still alot of great pow-wows here. And don't discount all the drums here - there are many Native drums in the East.

            From NC alone -

            Kau-ta-noh, Jr's (
            Stoney Creek
            Red Wolf
            Awolhali (sp?)
            Long Hair
            Secret Hill Singers
            Southern Eagle
            Running Deer
            Southern Suns
            Eastern Bull

            From SC -

            Edisto River Singers

            From VA -

            Falling Water Drum
            Wahoonsenaca (sp?)
            Eastern Sky (No longer active)

            DC -

            White Oak Singers

            So there are plenty of drums out there - if I have forgotten anyone, I do apologize!!! But hey, you all always welcome to pow-wows in the East - the more the merrier!!! Some powwow committees may enjoy your insight and singing ability - come on and share!!!

            One pow-wow, which is coming up in April, would be a great one to check out - Haliwa-Saponi Pow-wow in Hollister, NC, April 20-22. This is a tribally sponsored pow-wow, and is considered one of the best. For more info, call the tribal office at 252-586-4017.

            Seeya on the trail....
            Everything is gonna be alright!

            Be blessed - got love???

            This b me.....



            • #7
              i'll agree with Ito about the long island powwow this past summer. i think there was about an hour and a half of blessings and explanations and spiritual 'experiences' (or whatever they were) before they went on with grand entry. that was a lot of standing! but i thought maybe if i just rubbed on my secret power crystal, i might be blessed too.



              • #8
                The dancers at Shinnecock were doing the Welcome Dance. Dancing back and forth in a straight line.
                Long ago if you didn't have a war bonnet on then you were not an Indian.
                Today if you don't have traditional, grass, fancy feather, jingle, etc. then that is not a pow-wow.
                The eastern tribes are loosing their culture faster than the western tribes. So they are copying western pow-wows instead of keeping their traditional dances.
                I teach Dakota culture at an Indian college and know first hand that things are being lost before our eyes. We just had a pow-wow Saturday. The committee didn't even feed the mourners before starting.
                my two cents,


                • #9
                  Wow drumjudge1! Sounds like you really taught those dumb shinnecocks something.Well try to make it this year and make sure you wear your Drumjudge1 T-shirt. So you can see what happens after the 49.

                  [This message has been edited by Hit_em_Hard (edited March 19, 2001).]


                  • #10
                    Off The Top:
                    To get to your post -- I think most of the powwow committee members make their decisions on drums based on (1) personal exerience (they've heard them at other dances in the area (2) cost. I've been to powwows in Florida where drums from Oklahoma and South Dakota sang. There are some good powwows on the east coast, then there are some real crystal fests. Tread lightly when venturing out there. I'd love to see you guys in Florida. PM me and I will put you in touch with some of the people here who organize powwows. Then you can send them a tape and work out the arrangements. Good luck and I hope this helps.


                    • #11
                      Actually, Hit em hard, we were well appreciated by the powwow committee and the local drum, Youngblood singers.
                      Your post is very immature and as we all know, violence is the resort of weak-minded individuals. Anyways, I degress, I just wanted to elaborate on the dancing. The dancers did not dance around the circle until after our group got up and showed how it was done, this wasn't until around 4 in the afternoon. Up until then, the dancers were still dancing back and forth.
                      I am sorry Hit em hard but I do not 49 anymore as I am a little too old but I know my sons like to jam.


                      • #12
                        Granted this is Cyber Space...I really would like You to come to the Rez and express that... Thats if you have the heart.......


                        • #13
                          Stahtaha! you guys sound like a couple of old drunks. If you guys want to talk stupid to eachother, do it privately, stick to the topic people.
                          anyways thanks to thestogs and I'll pm you with the information bro.


                          • #14
                            Smokin Ace- My experiences are mostly from NJ up to Maine. I have recently been to a dance in MD and PA and theywere WAY better than Im used too. No disrespect to the drums you listed. Here are 2 more for you list.

                            NY-Silvercloud Singers
                            NH-Iron River Singers (black lodge in disquise)

                            Louis Garcia - Everyone is getting Pequot fever!!!
                            The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.


                            • #15
                              I"ve been to a few Eastern powwows beginning about 1988. There was a lot of confusion about what was going on in the arena. Hey, that's okay. Everyone has to get a start somewhere. I do resent it tho' that hobbyists try to tell seasoned veterans (not war veterans) of the powwow circuit what is right and wrong with what they are doing. I've been in the circle for over 25 years and I feel honored to have been taught by many elders before me as to what should be happening and in what sequence it should be happening. I have never offered my two cents as to change what is going on unless asked. I've worked some powwows in the east and the committees generally allow me to run the powwows as I see fit. This I feel is a tribute to years of experience. I think it is great that the committees are willing to learn to adapt to different ways of doing things and at the same time incorporate the traditional dances of their particular nation into the powwow circle. This is most evident in the Haudenosaunee "Smoke Dance" and the "Eastern War Dance". We are a land of many nations and we must recognize that.
                              The big drum is now being shared by many original nations and it's going to be a fact for years to come. Not all drum group members have the benefit of growing up in the circle, so, there will always be a few that are learning the songs from tapes, etc. It's all good. It takes time.

                              A word to those tho' who are not of the Indigenous blood-line. If you are a hobbyist singer or dancer, stay at hobbyist powwows. Trying to pass yourselves off as a member of the original inhabitants of this great land is very disrespectful to your ancestors. Be proud of who you are. There are many beautiful cultures in this world and you should seek out your own.


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