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Old 04-08-2009, 03:47 PM   #1
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Fur Turban

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 the experienced warrior.”
(Howard, 1965, p. 66)

While in “The Omaha Tribe,” Fletcher and LaFlesche states,

“The peculiar headgear shown in plates 36 and 49 (otter fur turbans), was worn only by chiefs; it bore the name watha’ge, which was applied to all caps which fit the head.”
(Fletcher & LaFlesche, 1911, p. 354)

The red fox fur turban was usually narrow and plain, giving the appearance of a large headband and were sometimes worn in combination to the hair roach. Sometimes these small turbans were also made from otter fur as well, depending on the tribe.

In contrast, the highly decorated otter fur turbans however,

“...was a wide band of otter fur which encircled the head like a crown. The top was left open, and if a warrior wished he could place an eagle feather in his scalplock and let it stick up through the cap. The tail of the otter was attached to the rear of the cap in such a way as to hang down the warrior’s back. Sometimes the edges of the cap and tail were beaded, and a tuft of dyed horsehair was appended to the end of the tail. Four round beaded targets were also attached to the wide band of the cap for decoration.”“While some of the southern tribes wore a slight variation of the cap just described, the hat most unique to the southeast had a huge hide triangle, with beaded or painted (or ribbon appliqué) symbols on it, which extended out to the left or right side of the wide headband.”...“Such hats were worn by the Pawnee, Ponca, Osage and Oto warriors.”
(Mails, 1972, pp. 385-387)

As already stated, the otter fur turbans were worn only by the Ponca chiefs or sub-chiefs and,

“...a chief wore a downy eagle plume erect in a socket at the back of his otterskin hat.”
(Howard, 1965, p. 66)

Today, fur turbans are seldom seen among the Ponca Hethuska or the Osage Inlonshka members, though they seem to becoming more popular at pow-wows.

According to an article written by Norman Feder titled “Otter Fur Turbans,” and published in a 1960 issue of American Indian Tradition, other tribes besides the Ponca and Osage had otter fur turbans including the Sauk & Fox, Iowa, Otoe, Missouri, Kaw, Pawnee, Omaha, Comanche, Kiowa, Menomini, Potowatomi and Quapaw. (Feder, 1960, p. 4)

In addition, I have seen otter fur turbans used among some Southern Cheyenne, and Oklahoma Delaware as well.

Lastly, in reference to otter fur turbans, Alanson Skinner states,

“...the most valued variety is a fillet of dark otter fur. Not only does it present a handsome appearance, but the connection of the otter with the sacred rites and origin myth of the Medicine Dance society and it’s own supposed supernatural powers...”
(Skinner, 1921, p. 109)

It should be noted, that many tribes still follow traditions which are said to have certain guidelines associated with who is given the right to wear an otter fur turban, and what titles and obligations wearing one implies.

Some examples from the past:



Osage


Kiowa


Ho Chunk


Man Chief - Pawnee - 1858


The Chief Whom They Look Upon - Pawnee - no date


Eagle Chief - Pawnee - 1905


Post Oak Jim (on right), and his brother – Comanche – 1895


Andrew Perd-a-sof-py - Comanche - no date


Nau-Nooh - Comanche - 1910


Donald Big Cow and wife - Comanche - no date


Tuas-ye-ah, Quannah Parker's granddaughter, Alberta Clark, and Hunting Horse - Comanche - 1926


Sitting In The Saddle - Kiowa - 1867


Sitting In The Saddle - Kiowa - no date


Running Bird - Kiowa - 1913


Lone Chief, Standing Buffalo Bull, Iron Whip, Walks With Effort I - Ponca - 1858


Black Crow - Ponca - 1877


Standing Bear - Ponca - 1881


True Eagle - Otoe - 1868


Medicine Horse - Otoe - 1869


Standing Eating - Otoe - 1884


Far Away - Otoe - 1884


Makes A Noise - Otoe - 1884


White Horse - Otoe - 1895


James Arkeketah - Otoe - no date


John Pipestem, Albert Green - Otoe - 1906


Red Bear - Otoe - 1908


The White Cloud - Iowa - 1834


Black Hawk – Iowa – 1869


Nag-A-Rash – Iowa – 1869


Buffalo Chief - Iowa - 1869


Pa-de-gi-he - Omaha - no date


The Chief - Omaha - no date


The Chief - Omaha - 1869


White Swan - Omaha - 1883


Yellow Smoke - Omaha - 1883


Standing Bear, (wife and daughter on left), Yellow Smoke, (wife and daughter on right) - Omaha - 1883


Omaha man - 1902


Omaha man - 1902


Omaha men - 1907


Standing Bear - Omaha - 1909


Bear In The Fork Of A Tree - Sauk & Fox - 1858


Rising Fish - Sauk & Fox - 1858


The Grey Fox - Sauk & Fox - 1858


Sauk & Fox men – 1866


Che-Ko-Shuk - Sauk & Fox - 1868


Fish Floating to the Shore - Sauk & Fox - 1868


Po-Ga-Ha-Ma-We - Sauk & Fox - 1888


Po-Ga-Ha-Ma-We - Sauk & Fox - 1888


Cannot Do It - Sauk & Fox - 1890


Cannot Do It - Sauk & Fox - 1890


Nish-ke-kot with son and daughter - Sauk & Fox - 1895


Hard Thinker - Sauk & Fox - 1896


Wam-Pash-Ka - Sauk & Fox - 1896


Picking Up Something - Sauk & Fox - 1896


Po-Ga-Ha-Ma-We - Sauk & Fox - 1896


Po-Ga-Ha-Ma-We - Sauk & Fox - 1896


Po-Ga-Ha-Ma-We - Sauk & Fox - 1896


Fish Rub Against Something - Sauk & Fox - 1896


Fish Rub Against Something - Sauk & Fox - 1896


Fish Rub Against Something - Sauk & Fox - 1896


Fish Rub Against Something - Sauk & Fox - 1896


Na-wat-ena, Po-ga-ha-ma-we, and Pi-pi-qua - Sauk & Fox - 1896


Push-E-To-Neke-Qua and Joe Tyson - Sauk & Fox - 1899


Old Eye - Sauk & Fox - no date


Pa-thin-non-pa-zhi – Osage – 1868


Non-pe-wa-the – Osage – 1868


Osage men – 1868


Reaches The Sky – Osage – 1877


Henry Red Eagle and son - Osage - 1893


Osage men - no date


Osage men - no date


Osage men - no date


Playful Chief – Osage – 1900


Bacon Rind – Osage – 1900


Man Of Courage, Black Dog - Osage - 1904


Bone Heart – Osage – 1906


Red Eagle – Osage – 1908


Comes Upon The Village - Osage - 1908


Playful Sun Carrier – Osage – 1908


Generous – Osage – 1911


Bacon Rind – Osage – 1916





Feder, Norman.
1960. Otter Fur Turbans. American Indian Tradition Newsletter, Vol. 7.

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.

Howard, Dr. James H.
1965. The Ponca Tribe. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 195, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

Mails, Thomas E.
1972. The Mystic Warriors of the Plains. Garden City, New York: Doubleday.

Meadows, William.
1999. Kiowa, Apache and Comanche Military Societies. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX.

Murie, James R.
1914. Pawnee Indian Societies. Anthropological Papers, American Museum of Natural History, Vol. 11, No. 7, New York, NY.

Skinner, Alanson B.
1915-a. Societies of the Iowa, Kansa and Ponca Indians. Anthropological Papers, American Museum of Natural History, Vol. 11, Part 9, New York, NY.
1915-b. Kansa Organizations. Anthropological Papers, American Museum of Natural History, Vol. 11, New York, NY.
1915-c. Ponca Societies and Dances. Anthropological Papers, American Museum of Natural History, Vol. 11, New York, NY.
1921. Material Culture of the Menomini. Indian Notes and Monographs, No. 20, Museum of American Indian, Heye Foundation, NY.
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Last edited by Historian; 04-13-2009 at 02:32 PM..
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Old 05-27-2009, 07:48 PM   #2
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John Straight - Osage - 1912


John Straight - Osage - 1912


John Straight - Osage - 1912
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:00 AM   #3
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other type of turbans

http://www.powwows.com/galleries/sho...php?photo=9989

are there turbans made from material other than otter or fox? i was at ft duschene last week and a man from the cheyenne river rez was wearing a turban made out of what i thought was a blue trade cloth. similar to the turban in the attached link.

Last edited by rezcar3; 08-03-2009 at 03:36 PM..
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:57 PM   #4
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:57 PM   #5
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:14 AM   #6
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As a point of reference, my father inlaw said, "for Pawnee, not just anyone has the right to wear the tab that sticks out sideways on the front their otter headpiece. The men who wore this tab were recognized, great, spiritual doctors."
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:43 PM   #7
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Otter fur turban

Here are some recent photos on photobucket.

http://s636.photobucket.com/albums/u...w%2010-7-2012/







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Old 05-11-2013, 09:07 AM   #8
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Has anyone ever seen a contemporary straight dancer in a fur turban with a horn sticking out one side like the 17th photograph down, Standing Bear 1881?
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Has anyone ever seen a contemporary straight dancer in a fur turban with a horn sticking out one side like the 17th photograph down, Standing Bear 1881?
I have seen it twice!
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