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Old 11-14-2002, 03:51 AM   #12
j_sayapi
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Chicken Dance

What I heard is like what "Wakalapi" said, there's a place outside of a town on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation called Wolf Point, Montana. There is a place near there that is called Siyo Baha or Chicken Hill, in the Nakota language . This is was along the Highline, Highway 2 that runs along northern Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and east.

A long time ago in the buffalo days, a man went hunting early one morning. It was really foggy outside, so the man decided to wait for the fog to clear and then he would continue hunting. He went up on this hill, above the layer of fog to wait. As he sat there waiting, he fell asleep.

While he was lying there asleep, he heard some noise ("Dig'dee" Dig'dee") and when he looked there were Prairie Chickens dancing all around him on that hill. As one of them Prairie Chickens danced by he asked him what they were doing, the Prairie Chicken replied "we are dancing".

How do you do that, the man asked? The Prairie Chicken held up his wings and said like this. He showed the man how to dance like the Prairie Chickens do. The man woke up from his dream and when he returned home, he shared his dream with his people.

The male Prairie Chickens dance for the female hens each spring during courtship and mating. They puff out their chests, stomp their feet, shake their heads, fan their tail feathers out in a round fashion and dance. As the male Praire Chicken dances he also throws his top feathers down towards the ground. This is all done to attract the attention of the hens.

That's why Prairie Chicken dancers have those two top feathers with fluffs on the tips. As they dance they are supposed to also bend downwards so the top feathers drop forward and towards the ground. There are various songs that go with this dance and they even have ceremonies much like the Grass Dance Society.

You can watch Praire Chickens do this dance during the spring months, early in the morning. You can also hear the sound that they make as they dance (Dig'dee, Dig'dee)The white man calls these places Lekks, where Praire Chickens can be found. :)
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