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Indians and WannabesNative American Powwow Dancing in the Northeast and Beyond$
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Ann M. Axtmann

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049113

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049113.001.0001

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Contemporary Wannabes

Contemporary Wannabes

(p.125) 7 Contemporary Wannabes
Indians and Wannabes

Ann M. Axtmann

University Press of Florida

There are many non–Indians––wannabes, hobbyists, and New Age practitioners––who dance at powwows by “playing Indian.” This chapter continues the discussion, begun in chapter 3, of the long history of this practice from colonial times onward. By close examination of how these non–Indians move, we can appreciate the stark contrasts of wannabe and Indian dancing. Axtmann discusses early dance scholars––Bernard S. Mason, Ernest T. Seton, and Julia M. Buttree––and modern dance innovators of the twentieth century––Ted Shawn, Lester Horton, Martha Graham, Erik Hawkins, Mexican-born José Limón, and Tom Two Arrows (Thomas Dorsey) of Lenni-Lenape descent ––within the context of wannabes and as people duly influenced by Native culture. Considering the proliferation of wannabes outside the United States––on the world stage––and the ideas of masking and appropriation, Axtmann addresses two primary questions: (1) Why are wannabe non-Indians so invested in Native dance? and (2) What meanings and motivations drive their actions?

Keywords:   appropriation, early dance scholars, hobbyists, masking, modern dance innovators, New Age practitioners, non-Indians, playing Indian, wannabes, world stage

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