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Old 04-09-2009, 12:46 PM   #1
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White Cotton, or Colored Silk Headband

A relatively new addition to straight dance clothes is the familiar white cotton handkerchief headband which is folded and tied in a small knot in the center of the forehead.

In the 1950s and 1960s this headband was made of a solid colored silk and was the same color as the neckerchief and shoulder scarves.

“The straight dancer also wears a brightly colored silk headscarf, rolled to form a narrow band and knotted over the forehead.”
(Howard, 1965, p. 62)

However with time, the white cotton handkerchief caught on in popularity in the 1970s through today.

According to Ponca elders, the silk or cotton headband had no religious significance as many rumors and myths have suggested. Many elders have also stated that the headband served only a practical purpose of keeping sweat out of the eyes while dancing. The knot was put in front so as not to interfere with the hair roach headdress in the back of the head.

With a traditional “revival” over the last 10 to 15 years among straight dancers, the white cloth handkerchief headband is now viewed by many as an optional component of the dance clothes, and a few dancers are even going back to wearing colored silk headbands again, which match the color of the neckerchief, shoulder scarves, and elbow ribbons.

Howard, Dr. James H.
1965. The Ponca Tribe. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 195, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:07 PM   #2
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:48 PM   #3
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