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  • Can women use the drum

    I had originally posted in the southern singing when I realised that I posted in the wrong category. This is still all new to me.

    I want to know if women can use the drum and I would like to know where I could find teachers I could learn from.

    I've been doing what I can to learn about my cultural identity with any thing I can grab on to.

    I have been away from the rez since the age 9 and haven't had the teachings from relatives.
    My family is ojibwe and there are drummers in the family line on my mothers side. I myself play a snare drum for a scottish band, have been since I was twelve. I have been a dancer since childhood.

    I would welcome any info in this area.

  • #2
    Alot of women drummers are popping up nowadays but this is very modern. Part of the whole feminist movement and not traditional at all. Women had drums of their own if they were perhaps a medicine womean but never sat at or hit the big drums with the men. They traditionaly stand behind the men and sing an octave above them. However, less and less people care about following traditions like this so, whatever you decide, you'll find a place for it.

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    • #3
      Women singing with the men depends on where you are at, I guess. The Ihanktonwan don't have a problem with women on family drums (blood relatives, that is). I have also seen Rosebud and Eastern Dakota drums with women on the inner circle.

      Women singing on the inner circle has not been too popular in the Chicagoland area. I have mixed feelings about it, myself. I don't want political problems and lines being drawn at the powwow I help run, so I hope drums don't show that have women on the inner circle.

      I once had a Ponca friend tell me that the drum was a gift from women to men. It would be bad form for women to ask for this gift back.

      (Now, some of you are sayin', "Ain't the Ponca Southern?" Well, today yes. "Back in the day" they lived up north near the Omaha and Ihanktonwan, so I guess they're sorta northern, too.)
      Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

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      • #4
        Howdy ya'll! Up here Drums are handled by women and men. Traditionaly I think it was a mans thing but Now the Majority of the folks who can remember the old songs are women. I was just down singin and dancing at a pow wow in Oregon this weekend...atleast 8 to 15 of the drums present had prodomanatley all woman singers. In Warmsprings and Umatila one will see an oldman or two and about 6 oldwoman singin on a drum. I noticed that in Oregon its more common and has been the norm for a long time. Among Alaskan folks(Tlingit/Haidas) its usually all Woman drumming and singing on Handdrums and has been for a long time. I asked why once and was told that in the 1950's when the songs became legal again to sing that the only people left that could remember the old ceremonial songs where the olderwomen. I have noticed that the only people that seem to be actively keeping the Oldways alive are the woman in the comunities and thats sad to see. I know a lot of Indian guys in there tribal comunities who know more Powwow songs then they know there tribal songs, and could tell ya how to dance grass but dont know the first thing about how to dance there tribal dances. I thank the woman for keeping the songs alive. If it wasnt for them a lot of us would be left songless!
        Take care.
        Rich

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        • #5
          Women are not allowed to hit the drum.
          The drum stick is a phallic symbol, the drum itself is female. Therefore they are commiting a lesbian act.
          During the Indian war and early reservation period 4 girls (6-12 years of age) from high class families were selected to chorus the drum. During the reservation period up to as late as the 1920's no one under 50 years of age could pow-wow. it was during this time that women were substituted.

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          • #6
            Please, do tell more Mr. Garcia.

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            • #7

              I have always been taught that it is not the place of the women to sing and hit the drum with the men, but to stand behind them and sing in a higher voice. And not to hop from drum to drum to sing behind them. Whenever a woman is singing on the drum, i don't dance to that song, because i was taught that is not the woman's place. The only drum that i know of that has the right to have women on their drum is Kicking Woman and that is because they asked a medicine man if they could so. this is only what have been taught by my family.

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              • #8
                What is the story regarding the gift of the drum?

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                • #9
                  Jingle Jammer, it's nice to see respect in it's true form!

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                  • #10
                    now a days, i rarely see women sitting and striking the drum. But in some nations, sub-nations, tribes, and clans it is traditional to have women strike the drum as a man usually would.
                    Louis Garcia said:
                    The drum stick is a phallic symbol, the drum itself is a female. Therefore they are commiting a lesbian act.
                    I thought the drum was the heart beat of our Grandfathers. Not a female. there are females that are drummers. Try looking it up on the web.
                    ~~Walk In Beauty~~
                    -Kelli
                    If you lose the drum beat of the creator, you are lost in life - Aanishnabe

                    You say I don't look indian? Well you don't look stupid, but looks can be deceiving!

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                    • #11
                      Louis Garcia, May I ask WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. I am so sick of all thease new hookie pookie crap. I sing and I have been studying native music for a few years now and I have never in all my life heard that crap. Plus what gives you basis for saying something like that?

                      I am a southern boy and I also study northern ways too. The womans place is behind the men. There are special reasons why that is. It has nothing to do with a woman being a Lesbian, it is just not the right place for a woman. A womann never sits at or hits the drum. Yes I have seen woman sitting at northern style drums, but it has been a phase in the Northern culture. I am sure in a few years it will be gone. I have even been at pow-wows where woman sit at the drum and they were good. I will not dis-respect them and not dance to the there music. But it is something that is not real cool in my mind. And just because we see Indians doing something, means its ok for us WHITES to do.
                      Oh well any ways woman sitting at the drum is not right.

                      tms
                      If I do not know the answer someone else will!!!!
                      Also forgive me, this system does not have a spell check so forgive the bad spelling

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                      • #12
                        UH OH

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                        • #13
                          Let's please remain politely civil, respectful, even when we disagree or wish to correct one another. I might expect to see a little more heated discussion in some areas but please not in the Southern discussions.
                          I guess over the years I've heard the drum refered to as.
                          - the heart beat of the nation(s)
                          - the heart beat of the people
                          - the heart beat of the mother (earth, from which all things were created).

                          Would someone who is more knowledgable please expound for the sake of us less fortunate and ignorant fool?


                          [This message has been edited by Benther_Dunthat (edited July 27, 2000).]

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                          • #14
                            I recall hearing that the Drum was Feminin and the stick Masculine. I think there is an old Inuet or Athabaskan storie that touches on that topic. I recall being told that in certain instances a person should make a drum with a Cow(female elk) or doe skin for a certain ceremony. I beleive that the Drum is Female. I dont feel that anyone is being called Lesbian! This person just gave his or her opion on that issue of women drumming. But my feeling is that, that is why we always use sticks on the drum to make the ballance..see a person could use there hand to strike it, but we have sticks allways...Thats to keep the ballance between male and female...If a lady played the drum with her hands I would think that would be more of a taboo thing. I am just making a observation.
                            Take care.
                            Rich

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