Dance Shawls

There are many types of Native American dance shawls. The shawls are made of various materials, as well as, decorative items on the shawls. The determination of whether to make or buy a shawl is generally the choice of the woman seeking to wear a dance shawl.   

Making a shawl can be time consuming but it is the best way to appreciate the Native American culture and also design the shawl to reflect ones creativity. Buying a shawl is efficient but generally expensive, because one must pay for someone else’s time, materials, and creativity in making the shawl for sale.  

The best way to obtain a dance shawl is to be “gifted” with one. This is certainly the native tradition. Gifting of a shawl is when someone else makes a shawl and gives it to you as a gift. This is certainly an honor for both the one who gives the shawl and the one that receives it.  

I have seen shawls made of cotton, gabardine, satin, linen, and suede. These shawls are in a variety of colors and adorned with designs, patterns, and pictures. The adornments are generally made of sparkles, metallic, or satin fabrics, and also adorned with shells and beads. Around the edges of the shawls are tassels (fringes). The tassels give the shawl a flowing quality and complete it.  

A shawl is a great way to represent yourself, your tribal affiliation, nature, your family/clan designations, or the particular dance in which you are participating.So, whether you make, purchase, or are gifted with a dance shawl it is an important part of a woman’s clothing appearance at a Pow Wow. Take great care of your shawl and pass it down to the next generation.  

Article by CherokeeCloud 

Written September 21, 2006

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