Entertainment

I can’t believe it

Today I went to a PowWow. It was ok. I always get the same feelings at this type of festival no matter if it is a local ice cream festival, craft fair, or anything. There is a bunch of tents that all have the same cheap stuff. The difference at this one was the amount of dead animals lying around. Turtle shells, fox teeth, buffalo teeth, coyote faces, etc. The thought kept coming into my head, “I think they were probably still using those when you decided to take them.” It was sad to see racks and racks of skins of animals killed for..well, I’m not sure what the average person would use them for. Don’t even try to tell me that it is culturally significant because 99% of the people there were white. There were even blond haired, blue eyed dancers and a red headed freckled girl dancer.

But they did have some interesting dancers.

PowWow

They also had some really good South American Indian musicians who played guitars and flutes at the same time. I also bought a nice silver and blue necklace.

I came home and was all ready to tick this off on my 101 things to do in 1001 days list. It was going to be “Go to a local festival.” Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find it on the list. I know it was on a previous version. I was so proud to have actually accomplished something. Guess I’m going to have to memorize the list better.

6 Comments

  • Brandy

    Ok, sorry Bint, but have to disagree…..

    Who’s to say the PowWow’s around me are even accepted? They are basically craft shows, and they are definately making a profit. You can call anything a PowWow, and unfortunately, folks are doing it and using a native name to draw crowds.

    Second, there are similarities in religions. Yes, all different tribes have different creation stories, but you know what? Natives are one of the only groups to not quarrel over religion. One tribe tells their creation story, everyone says “it is so”, the next tribe tells theirs, everyone says “it is so”…why? B/c they don’t put limits on the God of their understanding. They understand that the creator can create/reveal himself etc…. to different people in different ways. Yes, there are many pagan religions, but many include a female goddess, and there is a dominant female in native religions too (White Buffalo Woman). Most natives have a respect for the earth and it’s resources, as do a lot of pagans I know. Not to mention the discrimination against both groups from Christianity! I’d call that a similarity, but that’s just me…..

  • bint alshamsa

    Brandy,

    PowWows now are unfortunately held by and for the profit of white folks.

    How did you come to believe this erroneous idea? Instead of spreading untruths, wouldn’t it be better to learn about groups before you attempt to explain their actions and beliefs to others? As it stands, most Powwows do not make a profit at all and those that are officially accepted are not held by “white folks” at all. If the “white folks” who attended these events took a moment out of their blissfully-unaware state, then they’d know enough to be able to tell others the real reasons why Powwows are held and by whom.

    I wouldn’t let what you saw there influence how you feel about the native culture. They actually have very similar religious beliefs as pagans.

    The native culture? Very similar beliefs as pagans? Whhh-What in heaven’s name are you talking about? Okay, I’m going to assume that you are well-meaning even though that’s no excuse for spreading misinformation. To clear things up, let me explain this for any non-Native American person who happens to read this.

    There is no single “native culture”. There are MANY native cultures. That is why your last sentence is also erroneous. Native American beliefs are as varied as those found in Non-Native religions. We don’t all have some sort of code of honor or special unified set of beliefs. When you couple that with the fact that there is no unified set of pagan beliefs you get “religions” that are so disparate from each other as to expose any supposed similarities as utterly superficial. Even if you knew nothing about either belief system, the fact that each one developed on ENTIRELY DIFFERENT CONTINENTS should be enough for one to make an educated guess about this.

    Haven’t Native Americans been through enough without having it compounded by people who don’t respect our cultures enough to take the time to learn about them?

  • bint alshamsa

    I found this link through Nio’s page. After reading this, I found myself just shaking my head.

    *sigh*

    What did you expect to get out of this experience when you didn’t even take the time to find out why you saw the things you did? Since you didn’t do that and no other Native American woman has stepped up and responded to this, I guess I’ll do it.

    The thought kept coming into my head, “I think they were probably still using those when you decided to take them.”

    Yep, some of those animals probably were still using them when the hunter decided to take them. Likewise, so is the tree, bush, fruit, stalk, vine, also still using the parts that people pick off of them to eat. That brings me to the next part.

    It was sad to see racks and racks of skins of animals killed for..well, I’m not sure what the average person would use them for.

    Unfortunately, many people in some areas are like you and utterly unaware of what skins and furs are used for. However, if you had taken the time to ask the sellers, you could have walked away from a potentially enlightening experience with a lot more understanding than you went in with. These animals are killed because people need to eat and they need a livelihood to provide for their families. Of course, the hunter could have just eaten the animal and tossed away the fur/skin as many Non-Native people are apt to do with what they kill. Instead we show respect for the gift of life that these animals provide by not wasting any of that gift. Those who buy fur/skin can use them as an earth-friendly (biodegradable) alternative to all of the things people use synthetic fabrics for.

    Don’t even try to tell me that it is culturally significant because 99% of the people there were white. There were even blond haired, blue eyed dancers and a red headed freckled girl dancer.

    Okay, when did you become an expert on NA culture? Was it between your this sentence and the one directly before it where you admitted that you had no clue regarding why these furs were there in the first place? Let me ask you a question, sil vous plait. How did you determine that “99% of the people there were white”? Did you administer DNA tests to them? Judging from your following comment about the physical appearance of some of the dancers, I suspect you simply looked at them and assumed that you could tell what ethnicity they are. It is that assumption that led to all of the problems that governments face trying to determine who should and shouldn’t be found eligible for federal assistance programs for Native Americans. *Newsflash* You can’t look at someone and know whether they are Native American or not, especially if you are walking around with antiquated ideas about what Native Americans should look like. For your information, none of the people you described fail to fit the physical profile for the average Native North American because–drumroll, please–there is no certain physical traits that a person can have that makes it impossible for them to be Native American. And you may not want to hear that what went on there was culturally significant but that doesn’t make it any less true. The fact that you didn’t appreciate having the honor of being able to attend at all doesn’t mean that others aren’t and didn’t come away from it with a much more informed view. This idea that white people should be able to decide what is culturally significant is just another example of the disgustingly-patronizing attempt to determine and control the lives of those cultures who dare to have different values from them. Maybe you’d have had reason to name this post something different if you hadn’t gone into it with so many pre-conceived notions about Native Americans.

  • Brandy

    PowWows now are unfortunately held by and for the profit of white folks. I wouldn’t let what you saw there influence how you feel about the native culture. They actually have very similar religious beliefs as pagans.

  • Autumn

    Ive been to a couple of local pow wows. They are basicly a glorified Stuckey’s (tourist trap).It is ashamed that so much of the way of life that should be told is commercialized at these things. I did attend one in Tenn. when I lived there years ago that I was impressed with. Two tribes met for the first time as friends in over a hundred years. The land was honored and only “real” native americans could dance unless they themself honored an outsider by going and taking there hand and escorting them into the circle. My daughter who was only about 8 or 9 at the time was the only child who was ask to join the circle.

  • Nio

    Wolf and I went to a PowWow at Mt. Kearsarge last year and we weren’t impressed either. Mostly what left us disappointed was the level of disrespect. Numerous times the crowd was told they could not come in the circle and dance if they had uncovered legs (shorts/short skirts) yet persyn after persyn did and the man who was running the circle just let them in.

    The PowWow is held at a Native American museum started by two white people. The museum was more about them than those who lived here prior to the European invasion. The volunteers who provided ‘education’ didn’t know the history of the peoples or the artifacts on display. The guide who was giving us our guide talked about the baskets and how they were used every day and never left empty. But here these beautiful baskets were just sitting in display cases empty.

    We decided we wouldn’t go back.

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