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Old 04-29-2002, 08:46 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Straight Dance History

Hey Straight Dancers out there! I am in need of some history, origins, ect. on the Southern Plains Straight Dance. I myself am learning how to dance Straight. I am gathering research for a Senior Thesis project. Are there any good books out there easily accesible or any worthy internet sources with good info? I need information ranging from differences between northen and southern dancers, tribe differences, where and who established the dance, info on the Hethuska, ect. Any help in the right direction would be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 04-29-2002, 11:27 PM   #2
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Gee Guy---Sorry to say this, but I don't think you will get a completed answer to all of your questions. Much of what you want is still debated. One group of people have claimed the dance as theirs and history seems to support their association with it for a long, long time. However, as the dance was given to other peoples, they customized it to their needs. What you end up with is a lot of different histories from each people's perspective.
What I will tell you is that the modern straight dance clothes evolved from the clothes worn by the Tail dancer position of the old Heluska societies. Most the the clothes worn today are Osage style. You will see many dancers of other tribes, customizing their clothes to their individual or tribal styles. Some Straight Dancers on this board have never danced in the Heluska ceremonies, some have never danced powwows, only Heluska and some have done both. Each dancer will have their own ideas about Straight Dancing. This dance was call the Omaha dance a long time ago, and was also called the grass dance. Among the Kiowa, it was called Oh-ho-Ma. I am unaware of a Northern and Southern difference in Straightr dancers. Perhaps with this bit of information you would be able to start trailing the information you need. There is not one particular book that I am aware of that will tell you everything you need, but if you know what to look for, the history of this dance and the people who own it are referrenced in a great number of history books but under different names. Good Luck on your search, I know many of us have spent a liftime trying to learn about this and after 30 or 40 years we are still learning new things.
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Old 04-30-2002, 12:37 AM   #3
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May I recommend that you contact some of the elders of some of these particular tribes. Contact some Poncas, Osages, Omahas, Kiowas, Comanche, Sac-Fox, and OK Shawnees. Some Otoes-Kaws-Missouris do still exist. Our Ways were evolved from the Helushka(Ilonshka) ways as I was told. I was told that our suit is our tuxedo or tribal clothing. I agree that the tail dance is our dance of preference. This tells the whole story(kinda)
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Old 04-30-2002, 09:31 AM   #4
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Good luck in your reserch there are many stories. The name Straight dancer is a name that was put on the clothes back in the fourties I believe, because there was not a name for them and thats when fancy dance was really popular at the contest dances.
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Old 05-09-2002, 08:45 AM   #5
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The most complete work on this subject is a book written by Jimmy Duncan call "Hethushka Zani, An Ethnohistory of the War Dance Complex" written as a thesis in 1997.
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Old 05-09-2002, 11:05 AM   #6
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Where can you find a copy of that?
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Old 05-09-2002, 11:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by nabeader
The most complete work on this subject is a book written by Jimmy Duncan call "Hethushka Zani, An Ethnohistory of the War Dance Complex" written as a thesis in 1997.
nabeader
I can't pass this one up. The Duncan text is nothing more than a hobs attempt to explain something he knows little or nothing about and he tried to justify it all with the claim that he's Indian...not hardly the case. It's like a comparison of grapefruits to cumquats and for an MA thesis it's an example of extremely poor scholarship that would not even begin to withstand the rigors of anthropological testing.
Back in the 70's there was a little book published by a German con-artist named Eric VonDaniken called "Chariots of the Gods". His premise was that space aliens mated with monkeys in the dim past and produced the human race. He based his proof on a total misinterpretation of Aztec glyphs or sections of glyphs lifted out of context. He also claimed the massive figures on the Plains of Nazca were landing strips for alien spacecraft...geez, everybody knows they don't need landing strips!

Duncan failed miserably because he didn't understand the data he attempted to cite and he tried to manipulated it in a meager attempt to prove his point...but many hobs buy into anything.
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Old 05-09-2002, 11:36 AM   #8
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I knew there would be talk about this. I have read the Duncan text. It seems to me that alot of the text came from La Fleche's work with the Osages. The text also completely leaves out any contributions to the Hethuska by the Pawnees. I was always under the impression that the roach (which I have been told is a symbol of the Hethuska) was part of a Pawnee ceremony involving fire in which the priest, healer, medicine man etc. was not comsumed by the fire. But that is just what I have been told. The Duncan text also trys to link the Hethuska to ancient mound building people of the mid west and Ohio areas. That was a really long time ago 400 + years. I'm sure those elders he spoke to can't remember that far.
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Old 05-09-2002, 01:25 PM   #9
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Hahaha landing strips

Quote:
Originally posted by MrRuminator


......geez, everybody knows they(space aliens) don't need landing strips!

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Old 05-09-2002, 03:02 PM   #10
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Ok, I remember that one now, I've read it.
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Old 05-09-2002, 03:06 PM   #11
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What are everyone's thoughts on The Osage Ceremonial Dance I'N-Lon-Schka by Alice Ann Callahan.
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Old 05-09-2002, 03:16 PM   #12
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Pretty good story. Good info on the committee structure and what was given away when the drum was pasted. The play ground of the eldest son thing is wrong. But read it and then go to the sources. That is alway to best way to lean about it. If those people want to tell you, they will if they don't then don't push it, they are libel to tell you what they think you want to hear.
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Old 05-11-2002, 02:06 AM   #13
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You may want to try to talk to Ed RedEagle JR.. The RedEagle Family I believe are still the DrumKeepers. I know that Uncle Ed RedEagle was the Speaker(elder) for the Il lon shkas at Pahuska. He was the head of the mineral rites council. You may also ask Cat Wilson or Billie Osage for some more recommendations. I believe they still work at the Tribal office and Museum in Pahuska. I'm no expert though I have danced several dances. I only know as I was taught.

Good luck with your research. Once I tried to assist in a language study at the Univ. of MO at Columbia.
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Old 05-14-2002, 04:49 PM   #14
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The best way to learn about the osage inlonshka is to go and see the ceremonial dances for yourself. I was told the dance teaches itself and I find this to be true. I've been participating every year at all three ceremonial districts since I was very young and I am still learning things today. I
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Old 05-14-2002, 05:29 PM   #15
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Hello boys and girls. I am JIm Duncan, the guy who got slandered here the other day. "Hethushka Zani" is not a book but a manuscript. It is not for sale, so how did all these guys get a copy.
In regards to slander, the ruminator has at a disadvantage. I hide nothing ; my name, my heritage or credentials behind some funky cyber persona. I fully identify myself in my papers first chapter. So who are you? This paper has been reviewed by both my peers in the academic community and Indian community with overwhelming acceptance and a fair share of constructive criticism. I welcome any discussion that adds to our knowledge.
Anthroplogical testing? Do you know what you are talking about? This is not a scientific treatise but an ethnohistory gleaned from archaeological,historical,and contemporary sources. Granted all of these sources require subjective interpretation. My interpretations and reasoning is cited and supported in the paper. As for being a con-man-- well I list my sources and they can be read and checked by anyone. It is apparent the only person who did not understand the data and failed miserably in understanding the body and intent of my work is you, sir. I am currentyly editing for publication, the procedes of which will go to the Ponca Hethushka, of which I AM A MEMBER. I have spent all my 47 years in OKlahoma. I have spent 20 of those years as a mentor, educator and advisor to Native American students. All that matters is the truth. so debate me, challenge me and add to the body of discussion and I will change any passage in the new edition to reflect your input. But dont BS me. I took the time to read much of your input in this forum, you appear a knowledgable man. You might try treating others with the respect you so desperately seek yourself.
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Old 05-14-2002, 08:26 PM   #16
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War dance history is very complex. My thesis attempts to trace some of the symbolic elements back to the Mississippian cultures.
This was done using data from Southern Cult, Oneota and others.
It is speculative (and you are right "Tail Dancer" no one remembered that far back)
The Pawnee are believed to be desended from the Spiro Mound people in southern Oklahoma. Thier version of the Hethuska has just as long a history as the Dhegiha peoples. (Osage, Ponca etc.) but that is another story for another resarcher. The point is this ceremony has a very long tradition, and it has taken on several forms that have been shaped by each tribe that has practiced it. Remember, Indian cultures are alive, they change and grow and respond. Traditionally Indians are a vital, intelligent people. Nothing 'stands still'. Compare powwows in the 60's to now.
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Old 05-14-2002, 10:20 PM   #17
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Hey Jim
Good to see you on here finially. Was hoping you could join us in West a couple of weeks ago. Thought I would kind of hang around this thread for a little while because it is beginning to get very interesting.. Don't know if I would be able to add to this discussion, but I do hope to listen and if a good discussion follows, will learn a little bit more. I hope both sides of this keep this above board and just debate the information and not let any emotions lower the tone of this thread.
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Old 05-15-2002, 10:13 AM   #18
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Jim,

Well glad you are here to hopefully have a good discussion about this whole complex. Aunt Lottie wil be glad you have been keeping up with your Wa-zha-zhe i-e. (finally somebody was able to get the name) I'm sure as educated people we will not let this thread turn into a childish school yard fight. Anyway back to the Dhegiha peoples.

Can anyone explain, if the Pawnees came from the spiro mound people and the Ponca come from the Dhegiha peoples why are there such similarities between the dances? I know tha Poncas and Kaws gave the Osages the dance. I was told (granted by an Osage) that prior to the Hethuska the Osages already had a dance that was part of their own religion.

(hot dang finally some real meat to the forum, other than who's your favorite straight dancer.)

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Old 05-15-2002, 11:37 AM   #19
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No problem, Uncle ;) , Personal attacks are not warranted. I am pretty busy so it may take me a few days to reply sometimes. Here are the rules I will play by: I wil cite all my historical info. Then anybody can check it out. Most of the advice in this thread is right on, but there are not many alive who can discuss this dance before 1920. So ethnographic and historical records are our only source. La Flesch ( half Ponca by birth)has the most detailed acounts among the Osage and Omaha, that his why he is a mojor source. Heck, you can even get the tapes of his wax recordings, (I have them all ) and hear old "shunka mon thin" himself.
To answer your question, The predessors of many tribes and language groups, The Caddoans (Pawnee,) the Dhegiha (Omaha and Osage) the Chiwere( Oto,) etc. participated in the Mississippian mound builder Cultures, sometimes called the southern cult. To oversimplify, there is plenty of evidence, they shared a religion, societies etc. (a Pan indian movement)How this developed is more complex than we can discuss here.) When this fell apart by 1500 or so, these groups probably became more isolated ( by choice or circumstance) and the traditions they shared in the old religion were specialized by each culture. Their experiences over the next 400 years changed the dance in that group but they share elements, i am convivnced, because of a comman origin. (I hope my biological analogy doesn't escape you tsintse wa thin) I have a reference of when, how, and who helped revive the Pawnee war dance, in the 1920 will have to look that up.
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Old 05-16-2002, 08:07 PM   #20
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Hi all! The only reason I came over here is because Tsi-tse Wa-tsi said there was some rumbling goin on over here...and since I'm experiencing the same on Buckskin board, I wanted to check it out! Really, you guys are just word bashing and kind of tame!! We all are trying to "throw down" over there!!! Aaaaaayyyy! Just kidding!
I am a woman and I really do not have any right to give my opinion in a Straight Dance category.....but I believe I read a gross error regarding Kiowas and the O-Ho-Ma Lodge. My family and my husband' family have been members of the O-Ho-Ma Lodge for at least 5 generations. It was given to the Kiowas by the Northern Cheyenne who had received it from the Northen Omaha Tribe. Some say that the name O-ho-ma is a corruption of the name Omaha. My husband was taught that it was actually given to them by the war cheif O-ma-ho-ma...and it is a corruption of that. Anyway the dances were given to the Kiowas because this war chief had such high regard for the fierceness and honor and stamina of the Kiowa warriors. They were given a sacred Bustle (some say 2) of tail feathers to wear for their ceremonials. This was and always has been a War Dance Society!
In the old days Kiowa War Dancers (or Fancy Dancers, as they are now called) only wore one small bustle or one big bustle.
It was always done as a victory dance after a battle.
The Straight Dance is an elegant and extremely important dance to tell the tales of meetings with the enemies...but, I do not believe it has anything to do with the O-ho-ma Lodge. (Although modern members are free to dance in any style)
Woman, really, should not be talking about O-ho-ma, so I appreciate your indulgence with me...and I actually do feel like this is not my place...but, heck, this is cyber-world!
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