Fur Turban Of Southern Plains

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There are many old photographs of certain Omaha-Ponca Hethuska or Osage Inlonshka members wearing a turban of otter fur, or a turban of red fox fur. Dr. James Howard states, “The otterskin hat, rather than the war bonnet, was the ‘chief’s’ headdress, while a similar headdress of fox fur marked….

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Ponca Hethuska Society

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Ponca Hethuska Society by Jonathan Holmes The following are some of the written and oral traditions that I have researched concerning the origins and history of the Ponca Hethuska Society. Since I recognize that there are some who may have information that is different in some way, I welcome and….

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Tail Sticks and Tail Dancers

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Before the forced removal of the Ponca to Oklahoma Territory in 1877, appointed Tail Dancers among the Hethuska Society would carry the long-shafted, crook-ended Society Coup Sticks in battle and at Society Dance Ceremonies. When the Hethuska Society would go out as a group to fight their enemies, the two….

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Straight Dance Ribbonshirts

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Usually a loose fitting, wide-sleeved shirt is worn with straight dance clothes, although I’ve witnessed on more than one occasion, straight dancers in traditional Comanche style clothes, without a shirt. Derived from shirts worn by early Europeans in the early 19th century, Ponca, Omaha, Pawnee and Osage straight dancers would….

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Native American Earrings

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In early times both men and women of the Omaha/Ponca had their ears pierced for the first time at a very early age, usually about 3 or 4 years old, when they could walk on their own. Ear piercing was considered a “rite of passage” and the family of the….

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Roach Feather

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Attached in the socket-like cylinder of the roach spreader, a single golden eagle tail feather is often times referred to as the roach feather. For many dancers today, commercially available hand-painted imitation eagle feathers are used as the roach feather. The tail feather is attached in such a way as….

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Tail Feather Fans

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In the late 1800s, Ponca, Omaha, and Osage, as well as straight dancers from other Southern Plains tribes, could be seen in old photos, (see examples below) carrying a feather fan made from the complete tail of a golden eagle, with the tanned body-skin and feathers, and the head, hanging….

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Straight Dance Dandoliers

Straight Dancer Bandoliers

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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….

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Thanksgiving: Fact or Fiction?

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  In the minds of many Americans, when asked the question, “When was the United States first settled?” invariably the response will be, “In 1620 when the Pilgrims landed.” This so-called “origin myth” has frequently been termed “the story of the first Thanksgiving” in many children’s books about the subject…..

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Whips and Whipmen

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Whips and Whipmen By Jonathan Holmes At many of today’s Northern and Southern Plains pow-wows and ceremonial dances, the male dancer with the title of Whipman plays an important role with a long tradition. In the Northern Plains, the Whipman is usually an exceptional dancer appointed to encourage dancers to….

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A Brief History of the Ponca People

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Traditions common to the Ponca, Omaha, Kansas, Osage and Quapaw give evidence that they were once a people living as a single group in the Northern Kentucky, Southern Ohio and Southern Indiana area along the Ohio River, and may have their earliest roots in the middle Mississippian culture known to….

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Native American face paint

Native American Face Paint | War Face Paint

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While many of the traditions concerning Native American face paint been taught to me by Northern and Southern Tribal Elders, I prefer to maintain their privacy. Therefore, I have only used literary sources for references. For years I have heard different generations ask about the practice of face painting by….

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