Straight Dancer Bandoliers

By Jonathan Holmes on December 8, 2011
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Bandoliers are an essential component for straight dancers.

The pair of bandoliers are most often strings of large trade beads with leather spacers, worn in a loop which extends from each shoulder to the opposite hip.

Each bandolier consists of one to three strings of brass, silver or glass trade beads (cut crystal “aurora borealis” beads are frequently sought after), by themselves or strung in combination with bone hairpipes averaging between one and three inches long, and held together with leather spacers. Another version of bandoliers are made from silver beads, mescal beans, or a combination of both. These are frequently seen today on many Comanche, Kiowa or Southern Cheyenne outfits and often have reference to a Gourd Dance organization or the Native American Church, though members of Gourd Dance organizations or NAC members will usually wear the bandoliers over one shoulder.

No matter the style, straight dancers today will usually wear a pair of bandoliers, one over each shoulder, crossing in the front and back. When the leather belt is put on, the bandoliers usually come over the belt in front and under the belt in back, though this is left to personal preference.

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When a vest is worn, with or without a ribbonshirt, the bandoliers are sometimes omitted so as not to do damage to the beadwork on the vest.

Examples

Nokoney – Comanche – 1870

Quanah Parker – Comanche – 1890

Comanche man – 1891

Comanche men – 1891

Quanah Parker – Comanche – 1892

Henry Red Eagle and son – Osage – 1893

Wooden Lance – Kiowa – 1894

Frank Corndropper and Paul Buffalo – Osage – 1895

Comanche couple – 1895

Buffalo Meat, Three Fingers, Wolf Robe – Southern Cheyenne – 1895

Two Hatchet – Kiowa – 1898

Mo-She-Wa-Ku-De – Omaha – 1898

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Little Snake – Omaha – 1898

Chas Baddle – Omaha/Otoe – 1898

Howard Frost – Omaha – 1898

James White Water – Otoe – 1898

Raises The Dust – Ponca – 1898

Henry Roman Nose, Yellow Bear, Lame Man – Southern Cheyenne – 1899

Southern Cheyenne father and son – 1900

Bacon Rind – Osage – 1900

Good Fox – Pawnee – 1902

It Is Him – Otoe – 1907

Bird Chief – Southern Arapaho – 1909

Bacon Rind – Osage – 1909

John Wood – Osage – 1910

Prairie Chief – Southern Cheyenne – 1911

Makes Them Cry – Osage – 1913

Walks With Effort, II – Ponca – 1914

Crazy Bear – Ponca – 1914

Bacon Rind – Osage – 1916

Tenikwa – Comanche – 1919

Albert Atocni – Comanche – 1926

Sources

Ashworth, Kenneth Albert.
1986. The Contemporary Oklahoma Pow-wow. Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Anthropology, University of  Oklahoma.

Bailey, Garrick, and Daniel Swan.
2004. Art of the Osage. St. Louis Art Museum, University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA.

Callahan, Alice A.
1990. The Osage Ceremonial Dance, I’n-Lon-Schka. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK.

Ellis, Clyde
2003. A Dancing People: Powwow Culture on the Southern Plains. University of Kansas Press, Lawrence, KS.

Feder, Norman.
1957-a. Costume of the Oklahoma Straight Dancer. The American Indian Hobbyist Newsletter,  Vol. 4, No. 1.
1957-b. Costume of the Oklahoma Straight Dancer. The American Indian Hobbyist Newsletter,  Vol. 4, No. 2.
1980. Some Notes on the Osage War Dance. Moccasin Tracks Magazine, November Issue, LaPalma, CA.

Fleming, Paula Richardson.
2003. Native American Photography at the Smithsonian: The Shindler Catalogue. Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C.

Fletcher, Alice C. and Francis LaFlesche.
1911. The Omaha Tribe. Bureau of American Ethnology, 27th Annual Report 1905-06, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

Hail, Barbara N.
1980. Hau, Kola!: The Plains Indian Collection of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. Brown University, Bristol, RI.

Howard, Dr. James H.
1955. The Pan-Indian Culture in Oklahoma. The Scientific Monthly, Vol. 81, No. 5.
1965. The Ponca Tribe. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 195, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
1976. Ceremonial Dress of the Delaware Man. Special Issue, The Bulletin of the Archeological Society of New Jersey, No. 33, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ.

Johnson, Tim. Ed.
1998. Spirit Capture: Photographs from the National Museum of the American Indian. Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C.

Kavanagh, Thomas W.
1992. Southern Plains Dance Tradition and Dynamics: Native American Dance Ceremonies and Social Traditions. National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution with Starwood, Washington D.C.

LaFave, Edward J.
1998. Straight Dance Clothing: How to Dress a Straight Dancer. Whispering Wind: American Indian Past & Present Magazine, Vol. 29, No. 4, Folsom, LA.

Smith, Jerry.
1968. Straight Dance Bandoliers. The Singing Wire Newsletter, January Issue.
1982. Straight Dance Clothes: Getting Them On. Moccasin Tracks Magazine, April Issue, LaPalma, CA.

Stewart, Tyronne H.
1968. Dressing a Straight Dancer. The Singing Wire Newsletter, February Issue.

Woerpel, Loren.
2004. Bead & Hairpipe Bandoliers. Whispering Wind: American Indian Past & Present Magazine, Vol. 34, No. 6, Folsom, LA


TOPICS: Featured, Native American Culture, Pow Wow

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