Topic: War Dance


Great War Dance

I shall close this paper with an account of the great war dance which was performed by all the braves which could be mustered among the five thousand Indians here assembled. The number’ who joined in the dance was probably about eight hundred. Although I cannot give the precise day, it must have occurred about the last of August 1835. It was the last war dance ever performed by the natives on the ground where now stands this great city, though how many thousands had preceded it no one can tell. They appreciated that it was the last on their

Fig. 41. Arapaho Sun Dance. Model in the Museum

Ceremonies and Dance of the Plains Tribes

Tribal Ceremonies. In addition to the above ceremonial practices, there are a number of procedures deserving special mention. Most tribes had a series of ceremonies for calling the buffalo and inducing them to enter the pound or to permit themselves to be easily taken by the hunters. These have not been satisfactorily investigated but seem to have varied a great deal probably because this function was usually delegated to a few tribal shamans each of whom exercised his own special formulae. The Crow, the Blackfoot, and perhaps a few other tribes had elaborate tobacco planting ceremonies. The Pawnee formerly sacrificed

Face painting of war dancers

War Dance

In the war dance 1Said by Absentee Shawnee to have been borrowed about 1888 from the Caddo they visited. The Caddo borrowed this “bunched” or “round” dance from Winnebago, say Shawnee. “The Caddo went up to the Winnebago and caught all these songs of the Winnebago scalp dance and brought them back” (Voegelin). (R. GucuuwiGaocan, Gu, where, cuuwi, men, braves, Gaocan, dance), the men bunch around the drum and move dancing around the dance floor. They carry a tomahawk or a scalp on a stick, and wear the typical war bonnet of eagle feathers fastened to a strip of cloth.