The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

Everyone's familiar with the common steampunk tropes. Air Pirate, Engineer, Saloon Girl, etc. etc.

So what occupations and costumes can you think of that are outside the norm? Either speculative, or an actual costume you've photographed?

For the first, I would like to suggest an itinerant agricultural laborer. A Spalpeen, if you will.

Due to the nature of crop farming, extra workers were needed during the Spring ( plowing, planting ), and especially the Fall harvest. The day-to-day needs of animal care were done by the farmer and his family, so they didn't need help with that.

Someone that owned a steam traction engine was very busy during both seasons. But they had to do something different the rest of the year.

Itinerant laborers were desperately needed in the Fall, but during the rest of the year they were "free" to find other work. Or starve ( a very popular option ). So the spalpeen is not tied down to one location. This would give your character the excuse to be almost anywhere during the rest of the year, in the lower levels of society.

Farming was (and is) a very dangerous business. I can imagine someone having a specialized arm to harvest corn (maize) or other grain. Their task might be to harvest the outer 8' of a field, because a machine or animal powered harvester would trample down this part of the crop.

What else????

Tags: creative, occupations, tropes, unusual

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I do have to admit, it's a bit admonishing to hear criticism from others, when I've watched Indian Dancers, paid large sums of money to come and share their history, as we're doing, only for them to walk around in jeans, tennis shoes, and ball caps, while poorly executing their dances, while we ourselves strive to stick to being as accurate as possible.

They're the Natives, and not you, so it stands to reason that they would best know what's "accurate". You need to ask where your ideas of accuracy comes from: books, which suspend cultures in specific time periods, or people, who live and breathe their culture which, like all human communities, changes with time?

Perhaps you need to ask yourself what is so important about portraying marginalized cultures that you would override the people to whom the culture belongs to, when they ask you to be more careful. Because your actions hurt them more, since you're continuing a tradition of devaluing another culture - I'm not sure "the mountain men who imitate the tribes they came across" had in mind cultural exchange, but they're dead, and the Native Americans are alive.

This is a bigger issue than simply being called racist. There is a lot you can read about how assimilation has affected immigrants of all stripes and Native Americans.
Describing something as racist makes no assumptions about another's motivations, it makes observations about the impact of their actions.
I know what's accurate because I've seen the dances properly performed before. And anyone witness or not knows when someone is not even keeping rhythm with a drum properly.

I'm not talking about portraying their culture, I'm talking about history. Numerous times I've been to events where they were paid to represent their own history, getting paid a ridiculous sum to do so, and I've watched them with little regard for it.

Where have I said that I'm portraying a marginalized culture? Where am I denying their request to be more careful? I was simply relaying my personal experiences and how they can cause me hesitation when reviewing criticism.

In fact, the people that have criticized us in the past have never made any claims to any background whatsoever.

My mere observation, if you would be open enough to listen, is it is hard to hear the criticism, when no one dares address those issues. It's a twisted sort of logic, and it's for fear of offending. Why is it okay to criticize me as I'm trying to represent history, but it seems taboo for me to do the same to them?
What do you mean..."performed properly"?

As a pow wow dancer..I am curious how I am supposed to dance for you.
Also, I go out to groups, schools, and participate in events (like the one I am leaving for tomorrow, in Moundville Alabama, where I'll be demonstrating drums and drum making among the southeastern people, specifically the Creek). And I have to say, that I've never been paid. I would love to know which shows you are going to...I'd ***LOVE*** to get paid for doing all of this educating and demonstrating!

Oh, and how is portraying culture not portraying history? History is not a "boom it's done, now let's replay it and see how it went"- that's what you get in a museum...museums are for things you can't see in the flesh. We are not a dead people, our ways are not dead, we are out there not to show you who our Ancestors were and what they did, we are out there to show you what WE do (which IS what our Ancestors did). If you really want to know what it means and meant to be Native, stick around after the rest of the public goes home...that is when the actual traditional ways come out.

If you only want us to put on a show...tell us what you want to see...we'll show that to you. If you want to come out and see who we are, then please come and watch/participate/etc. If you know what you're "supposed" to see, why are you bothering to come out and get upset when you see something that goes against what you think is right- (you can get that in a museum)?
You also have to look at who is doing the dancing. Most "pow wow" dancing is from the plains...not all plains tribes wore the same thing. Not all dancers are "experts" at dancing.

Now, speaking from a southeastern perspective...there is Stomp Dancing. The women wear very ornate and nice skirts and tops, we men wear nice our best pants a nice hat (that we don't wear every day), and a ribbon shirt. This clothing is for Ceremony. When it is not for Ceremony, we may not go full-out, but we still wear more than "street clothes".

Just because we're out there dancing does not mean we have to be dressed to "the nines". That does not mean that we have forgotten our roots, but "sharing our history" means also showing you who we are now as well. I am sorry to disappoint you. We wear blue jeans and tee-shirt, just like anyone else. When cotton was discovered, it was found to be much easier to produce than buckskin clothing.
You've obviously not read ALL the posts in this thread before jumping in with your opinion, however well intentioned.

Read this one first:
As Edward Pearse pointed out, the author of this thread asked for the discussion to be moved elsewhere, so if you wish to continue, I would love to, as long as it's somewhere else. Feel free to friend me and message me, or we can carry it on the comment section on my page.

What I'm talking about is an event in which a group was paid a rather handsome sum to represent their history. It was not a modern Pow-wow. It was not what they promised. The conversation came from a personal observation and went overboard.

"...we are out there not to show you who our Ancestors were and what they did", This was however the case for what I'm referring to. I'm sorry if it was not clear. I have attended and enjoyed modern demonstrations, this is not what I am referring to. Like I said, it started as an observation, one on how it is admonishing to receive criticism, when witnessing such things. It is in no way intended in the ways it's been interrupted.

But now I am doing just what I didn't want and continuing the discussion when asked not to. So I apologize and invite you to discuss further with me if you so wish on my page or via messages.
Perhaps I misunderstand you. I'd like some clarification:

"I do have to admit, it's a bit admonishing to hear criticism from others, when I've watched Indian Dancers, paid large sums of money to come and share their history, as we're doing, only for them to walk around in jeans, tennis shoes, and ball caps, while poorly executing their dances, while we ourselves strive to stick to being as accurate as possible."

Are you describing an event that you attended that was a deliberate historical reenactment - as opposed to a modern-day powwow, which is a VERY different thing?

What are you claiming to be 'more accurate' at?
OK. As the originator of this thread, I'm blowing the whistle on it. This particular part of it has drifted enough that it should probably have its own thread on a political group instead.
It was supposed to be a deliberate historical reenactment. They were only have dressed in proper attire, were not educating the public as paid to do, and left immediately after doing their dance.

I didn't say I was more accurate, I said that we strive to be as accurate as possible in our portrayal of history.

I've been witness to modern-day powwow and demonstrations. There is a small local group that gave a nice performance and talk at one event we were at, including modern, extremely colorful versions of their costuming.

I don't understand how my personal observation is being misconstrued, but I mean no harm by it.
As AetherPower has closed down this part of the thread in all courtesy we should oblige him .


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