March 7th, 2016 Last Updated on: March 7th, 2016
Moccasins are perhaps one of the few dance clothes components wore by dancers, that still retain a great deal of tribal identity in the cut and decoration style used.
Concerning the one-piece, soft-soled Omaha moccasins, Fletcher & LaFlesche state,
“The moccasins of the Omaha were made without (separate) soles and the (beadwork) embroidery was confined to a narrow band on the top of the foot and the flap about the ankle. There was no marked difference in style between the moccasins worn by men and those which belonged to women.”
(Fletcher & LaFlesche, 1911, p. 355)
Concerning the similar one-piece soft-soled Osage moccasins made without a tongue, Alice Callahan states,
“The Osage moccasins are decorated with a single row of beads and are low-cut with two small buckskin tabs at the heel.”
(Callahan, 1990, p. 115)
Concerning the Ponca moccasins, Dr. James Howard states,
“Although soft-soled moccasins were worn by the Ponca in the early 19th century, they were abandoned in favor of hard-soled footgear sometime before 1850. The typical Ponca moccasin for the past century is of the two-piece High Plains type with hard parfleche soles and soft buckskin uppers.”
(Howard, 1965, p. 62)
The two-piece hard-soled moccasins with a tongue worn by straight dancers today fall into two categories of the type mentioned by Dr. Howard above. Either partially beaded or fully beaded. The beadwork most often is the lazy-stitch method in either case.
Among the Ponca and Osage the most common moccasins worn today are fully beaded and often times are similar to either Lakota or Cheyenne style and colors, with geometric design patterns.
Among the Comanche, partially beaded moccasins commonly referred to as “dusters” are frequently seen with their characteristic heel-fringe trailing behind the moccasin and a row of fringe or tin cones down the center of the top of the moccasin.
Callahan, Alice A.
1990. [U]The Osage Ceremonial Dance, I’n-Lon-Schka[/U]. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK.
Fletcher, Alice C. and Francis LaFlesche.
1911. [U]The Omaha Tribe[/U]. Bureau of American Ethnology, 27th Annual Report 1905-06, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
Hail, Barbara N.
1980. [U]Hau, Kola!: The Plains Indian Collection of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology[/U]. Brown University, Bristol, RI.
Howard, Dr. James H.
1965. [U]The Ponca Tribe[/U]. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 195, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
Orchard, William C.
1929. [U]Bead and Beadwork of the American Indians[/U]. Contributions from the Museum of the American Indian, Vol. 11, Heye Foundation, New York, NY.
Stewart, Tyronne H.
1971-a. [U]Cheyenne Moccasins, Part I[/U]. American Indian Crafts and Culture Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 8, Tulsa, OK.
1971-b. [U]Cheyenne Moccasins, Part II[/U]. American Indian Crafts and Culture Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 9, Tulsa, OK.
Moccasins From the collections of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
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