Native American Women Dance!

By Marque Wilson, HOIST summer intern

Lolita dancing Women's Jingle

Lolita dancing Women’s Jingle

My sister Lolita dances Women’s Jingle at pow wows. She’s been doing it since she was little, and she still dances Jingle today. She’s now 29. She has a lot of outfits she’s made herself, and she uses them every time she dances. Jingle dancers use a fan made with eagle feathers, and have a special dress with metal cones or deer hooves, which is what makes the unique jingling sound when they dance. Jingle has a competition called the “Iron Man Jingle Special.” The Iron Man Jingle Special measures how long you can dance to songs. Whoever is the last person dancing wins, and some people can dance to five or six songs. Old Traditional Jingle is where you don’t use a fan, instead you use a scarf wrapped once around your hand. Side Step is a beat where you can dance on your tiptoes or with your feet flat on the ground. Jingle dancing incorporates two types of step, a regular and a side step. The dance itself is designed to incorporate the sound of the jingles by allowing them to move; that is, to make them jingle. The steps are controlled and do not involve high kicking or twirls, jingle is calm. Each foot should step down on each beat of the drum. Jingle is on the pow wow trial.

Lulu dancing Fancy

Lulu dancing Fancy

My two other sisters, Lulu and Regine, dance Fancy. Lulu is 28 and Regine is 20. Women’s Fancy is a fast-paced dance. It’s a workout to dance Fancy–dancing Fancy is on your tiptoes, and you feel light as a feather. Fancy Dance involves moving a lot on the dance floor and moving your arms around and twirling. You can do all kinds of moves while dancing Fancy. Fancy dancers dance to three songs–regular, foot slide, and crop hop. A foot slide is where you’re sliding your feet against the ground, and a crop hop is where you’re dancing and hopping. Fancy dancers dance like a butterfly or to look like a butterfly, and at least one foot should hit the ground with each drumbeat. Women’s Fancy shawl dancers wear capes, moccasins and leggings, and a decorated long fringed shawl. Their colorful shawls look like butterflies when they are dancing. Fancy is usually on the pow wow trial a lot.

Regine dancing Fancy

Regine dancing Fancy

My auntie and I dance Traditional. I do a regular Traditional dance, but my auntie dances high step. High step involves lifting your feet a little higher than regular traditional but then hitting the floor softly. High step regalia usually has a top beaded dress with short fringe anda fan made of eagle feathers. The Women’s Traditional Dance is the very oldest form of dance for women. Way back when they didn’t have Jingle or Fancy, it was just traditional. Traditional is a graceful dance, Traditional dancers dance three songs–regular, round dance, and foot slide. Round dance is a smooth dance, where you get in a circle and dance step by step on the beat of the drum, some dancers on stop on the drum beat and dance in one spot, and gracefully spin around and raise their fan. Mostly, Elder women dance Traditional when they can’t dance Fancy or Jingle, but some elders still dance Jingle and Fancy, just not as fast.

marque

Me dancing Traditional

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Strong Women in My Life

marque's family
By Marque Wilson, HOIST summer intern

I am proud to be a woman because you can do all kind of things. You can experience your body making another human being inside you. I’d rather be a woman, because women get to do all kinds of things. Women have more freedom to experiment with hairstyles, clothing, and my favorite, make-up. I love make-up, you can do all kinds of things with make-up!

I have three sisters and I am the youngest. They’ve taught me a lot. My sisters have supported me through the bad times as well as the good. They’ve taught me so many things about life and how to be happy. We all dance at pow wows. I dance Traditional.

My oldest sister’s name is Lolita. She really helps me with my school work, and she keeps pushing me until I can say, “I did it!” She loves to hear those words because she knows I did well in my work or got a good grade. I don’t really see her anymore because she lives in Warm Springs with her boyfriend. She helps me out when my mom isn’t around or has to do something. She is like a second mother to me. She dances Jingle at pow wows, and travels all around the word for pow wows because her boyfriend is a singer and a drummer. She’s 29 years old.

The second oldest sister is Wetulu, but other people call her Lulu. Lulu is also 29 years old . She helps me bead and do all kinds of things. She helped me dance Traditional when I was little. Lulu dances Fancy. She sells all kinds of Native handicrafts, she beads earrings and makes outfits, and she just had a baby! Her name is Jaxcee Fierce Henry, and she is 9 months old now. Lulu is the first one of my sisters to have a baby. Jaxcee is so cute and beautiful, she laughs a lot.

The third sister is Regine, she is 19, but her birthday is coming up and she will be 20 years old. She also dances Fancy, but she has been really sick, and can’t lift anything heavier than 20 pounds. She’s very thin, but she has recently gained 16 pounds. Regine is my favorite sister, because she is really fun. I have a lot of fun with her and she is the funniest of all my sisters. She makes me laugh and I spend a lot of time with her. We’ve gotten closer these past 2 years. I’m just praying she will get better from her illness. The doctor has taken 14 tubes of blood from her, but she’s being really strong about it.

I’m so thankful for all my sisters, and what they’ve taught me about how to live, and the fact that they push me to go further in life.

The last strong woman in my life who I want to acknowledge is my mother. She’s the best mother in the world. She’s taught me a lot about Native American tribes. She’s so strong, nothing could tear her down. My mother’s name is Jena. She has God on her side, and when she’s down, she talks to God. We have our ups and downs, and sometimes we say things to each other, but we both know we don’t mean it. She loves and supports me through the good things in life, and the bad. I will always love her, no matter what. Jena is 48 years old and still looking good! I am happy she gave life to me.

marque and her mom

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Summer Hiatus

The Women’s Center blog will be on temporary summer hiatus until our student writers return in the fall. If you’d like to contribute or cross-post an article, please contact Lysa Salsbury at lsalsbur@uidaho.edu or call (208) 885-8959.

See you in September!

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Now What?

By Ian Sullivan

I decided to blog this semester for the University of Idaho Women’s Center for a few different reasons. I wanted the course credit. I wanted another opportunity to practice my writing and work in a medium that was new to me. But above all, I wanted to change my ignorance towards the feminist movement, understand it better, and apply that to the way I live my life. I think I have accomplished all of that, and I am happy I took up this blogging position for the past several months. I have been grateful for the opportunity. I know I am both a better writer and, more importantly, a better person because of it.

I guess this is sort of a “so where do I go from here?” moment. The semester is over, and with that, so is the blogging, for now. I have yet to graduate, so my summer will once again be spent mowing grass and fixing irrigation lines on a golf course. So I suppose my dilemma is taking what I have learned these past months and figuring out how to apply it all to my day-to-day life. I don’t think there is any definitive answer to that, though. Above all, I think what the Women’s Center has given me is a new and unique lens to view the world from; my heart is fuller and my mind more understanding, and with that, all there is to do hold on to what I have learned, practice what I have preached, and spread the message of equality for all.

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The Controversy of Mad Max: Fury Road

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By Ian Sullivan

Earlier this year, I wrote a criticism of the Fifty Shades of Grey film, one of countless online commentaries scrutinizing the movie for its perpetuation of aggressively sexist and demeaning behaviors. Almost exactly three months later, another film has hit the silver screen that’s stirring up some similar discussion to that evoked by Fifty Shades of Grey. The film is Mad Max: Fury Road, and while Fifty Shades of Grey was condemned for its antifeminist messages, Mad Max: Fury Road lies on the opposite end of the spectrum, and is being hailed for its empowerment of women.

Mad Max: Fury Road is another post-apocalyptic film (as if there haven’t been enough of those already). But what sets it apart from the rest is its strong female characters, most notably Charlize Teron starring as Imperator Furiosa. However, if movies from this past year like American Sniper (big and tough military man killing the enemy) and Interstellar (smart man saving mankind) weren’t enough to stroke the egos of self-proclaimed “meninists” and “men’s rights activists,” Mad Max: Fury Road is facing the usual tide of backlash for its feminist “propaganda” and, well, basically it just has a lot of irrational people irrationally upset.

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Writing About What Matters: A Reflection

By Morgan Fisher

Before this semester, I had never given much thought to my particular beliefs on feminism. I knew that I considered myself an absolute believer in gender equality, and that was about all I knew. When I was presented with the opportunity to write for this blog, I was excited to learn more about what I believe and where it lies on the spectrum of others’ beliefs. And I definitely did.

The definition of feminism was always murky to me. I never interpreted the word as the man-hating, bra-burning extremism that is so often what it is mistakenly associated with. But I didn’t really ever equate myself to be a feminist before coming to college; mostly because I never thought too much about it.

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The Bechdel Test

By Morgan Fisher

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While brainstorming things to write about this week, my mom very excitedly asked me if I’d ever heard of the Bechdel Test. I’ve been researching it for five days now, and it’s so fascinating that I have no clue how I’d never heard of it before.

The Bechdel Test comes from a 1985 Alison Bechdel comic called “Dykes to Watch Out For.” According to Bechdel, in order for a movie to pass this test, there have to be: two female characters; they have to talk to each other; and they have to talk to each other about something other than men.

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