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  • Gourd dance sash

    Anybody have any information why gourd dancers wear a sash with fringe tied to their waist?

    Also,

    Does anybody know the reason why some dancers wear a white fitted sheet around their waist?



    Anybody?
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    My recollection is that the sash is reminiscent of the sashes worn by the U.S. Cavalry. I guess it could be viewed as the incorporation of a war trophy, which was common for Kiowa in tia-pe-go. See this page for a photo: http://www.members.tripod.com/~howar...4/link180.html

    As to the white sheet, I've seen that before, but I don't wear one. I've heard in passing that it used to relate to Sun Dance.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by park
      My recollection is that the sash is reminiscent of the sashes worn by the U.S. Cavalry. I guess it could be viewed as the incorporation of a war trophy, which was common for Kiowa in tia-pe-go. See this page for a photo: http://www.members.tripod.com/~howar...4/link180.html
      Park this is exactly my theory.

      As the army came into the southern plains, there were the infantry (who marched), the calvary (who rode horses) and the dragoons (who rode but fought dismounted).

      The dragoon officer's sash is made of red velvet, has a knot (where Indians put gourd stitched beadwork today) and hanging rolled fringe at the ends.

      This sash was worn by designated leaders (officers) of the dragoons. My "theory" is this sash was originally taken as "spoils of war" and worn as a war trophy.

      I have nothing to substantiate this, so it remains - a theory.
      Last edited by WhoMe; 08-23-2006, 03:58 PM.
      Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have heard similar comments made about the sash, in that is representative of the uniform sash of the army during the 1800s. Different branches/divisions had different color sashes (red, green, buff/tan, etc) based on specialty. I can understand the use of red and blue on these sashes, but does anyone have thoughts some of the other color choices and combinations seen recently?

        I am under the impression that the white sheet was worn during the summer/hot months (which could be anytime here lately) in place of the blanket. Please keep in mind that this is only what I have heard, and as Who Me commented, only a theory.

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        • #5
          tcu,

          I have no idea when the sash came into prominence among gourd dancers and replaced the sheet around the waist. But, I am wanting to hear some possible answers from powwows.com readers.

          I have seen a picture of the Kiowa dancers who helped revive the gourd dance in the 1950's. This picture was taken in front of the grandstand during the American Indian Exposition. All were wearing leggins, had braids and wore white sheets around their waists.

          Recently, I have seen several gourd dancers wear a combination of the waist sheet with a sash tied over it.

          Hmmmm?
          Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

          Comment


          • #6
            WhoMe,

            I like your theory. I wonder what is shown in photos from the 1950s when the gourd dance was "revived" (if that's the right word) or even earlier. I know I've seen some photos with the old style knot and tassel, but I don't think they were gourd dance specific. I bet the beadwork is a relatively modern addition.

            P

            Comment


            • #7
              WhoMe, there are some old photos from about 1890-1910 of Comanche men wearing the white sheet around the waist... I can't remember if these pics are in the Devenney photos in Lawton, at OSHS, or at the Nat'l Anthro Archives in DC... or maybe all three. The explanation I heard (and I can't vouch for it's accuracy, though it does make sense) is that the white sheet was used to differentiate from NAC clothes, especially the red & blue blanket. Of course, the Little Ponies have since claimed the white sheet as a Comanche thing based on some of those old photos, so that's really interesting that it wasn't always exclusively Comanche.

              http://www.fcsutler.com/fcclotaccess.asp

              Also check out that web address for the military sashes... I've seen some old pics of Kiowa women wearing them w/ their buckskins, and the story about the origins that WhoMe had is what I've heard as well....
              Functionless art is simply tolerated vandalism.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Str8Dancer49
                WhoMe, there are some old photos from about 1890-1910 of Comanche men wearing the white sheet around the waist... I can't remember if these pics are in the Devenney photos in Lawton, at OSHS, or at the Nat'l Anthro Archives in DC... or maybe all three. The explanation I heard (and I can't vouch for it's accuracy, though it does make sense) is that the white sheet was used to differentiate from NAC clothes, especially the red & blue blanket. Of course, the Little Ponies have since claimed the white sheet as a Comanche thing based on some of those old photos, so that's really interesting that it wasn't always exclusively Comanche.

                http://www.fcsutler.com/fcclotaccess.asp

                Also check out that web address for the military sashes... I've seen some old pics of Kiowa women wearing them w/ their buckskins, and the story about the origins that WhoMe had is what I've heard as well....
                Str8,

                Most southern plains males wore a blanket around their waist for everyday attire in the mid to late 1800's. I have no idea when the more formal white sheet came into use.

                I attended a Cheyenne funeral recently and a lot of the men wore white sheets around their waist - in a Christian church.

                I do know that the red and blue blanket worn over the shoulders of gourd dancers, has a NAC origin.

                Some Kiowa women still wear sashes over their aprons. Angela Satepauhoodle-Toineeta recently won first place in the women's cloth division at Tulsa IICOT wearing the traditional sash over her apron.

                I've also noticed some gourd dancers wearing red and blue custom fit blankets around their waists.
                Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have been to a Cheyenne dance where men were wearing white sheets around their waists while gourd dancing, but I don't think it was gourd dance specific. I was told those folks in particular were involved in Sun Dance (which might also explain why one or two of them were dancing with sage bundles in their hands).

                  In my mind, the white sheet (even among the Kiowa) is very different from the red and blue split blanket. I'll poke around some more.

                  Since tcumonster mentioned the heat, I've seen the red and blue waist blanket (that WhoMe noted) worn in the hot months (usually March to October-ha!). I used to have one myself until it walked off one day at a dance. While they can be wrapped and draped to look right, most I've seen are made of a poly-blend (like shawl material) instead of wool and rigged with velcro. Very handy.

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                  • #10
                    Everything I have heard and been told about the sash is that it came from the dragoon officers as well. I have seen many historic pics of Kiowa and Comanche women wearing them. Some with hide dresses and no apron and others with an apron as well used with hide or cloth dresses. Have no clue when gourd dancers started using them. Another similar usage would be the Osage wedding coat which was an officers dress coat.

                    I have seen the white sheet but never bothered to ask it's origins or the reasoning behind it's use
                    PB49

                    "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." Pablo Picasso

                    "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift...that is why is it called the Present." Master Oogway - KungFu Panda


                    My comments are based on what I have been taught and my experiences over the years I have been around the circle. They should in no way be taken as gospel truths and are merely my opinions or attempts at passing on what I have learned while still learning more.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by powwowbum49
                      I have seen the white sheet but never bothered to ask it's origins or the reasoning behind it's use

                      Bum,


                      The one worn around the waist....


                      Or the one worn over the head with two eye holes in it?


                      *L
                      Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        LMAO...I can honestly say I have never been around the latter and don't care to start now.

                        Your ate up ole boy!!!
                        PB49

                        "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." Pablo Picasso

                        "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift...that is why is it called the Present." Master Oogway - KungFu Panda


                        My comments are based on what I have been taught and my experiences over the years I have been around the circle. They should in no way be taken as gospel truths and are merely my opinions or attempts at passing on what I have learned while still learning more.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by powwowbum49
                          Your ate up ole boy!!!

                          Perhaps that's why we get along so well?
                          Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The only guys I've seen wearing the red/blue dance blanket around the waist are the Osage Gourd Clan.

                            Tell me about the guys who wear the red/blue blanket over only one shoulder. I believe it is their right shoulder. I have yet to see the white sheets worn. I have seen the black shawl but not the sheet. Could this white sheet be a sun dance thing that had crossed over to the gourd dance? Similar to the red/blues relation to the NDN Church.
                            BOB

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                            • #15
                              A bunch of Kiowa and Comanche wear a red and blue split blanket scaled down to fit around the waist. The seam normally worn at the neck is worn to the back, along the lower spine. The red and blue cross in the front, and then drop down the side of each leg about a foot or so. It's great for hot weather and for non-formal occasions when you just want to wear pants and a dress shirt.

                              The red and blue blanket worn over the shoulder is interesting. For awhile, some Kiowas said only Comanches wear their blankets that way. I even saw a letter floating around to make that point. But some Kiowas still wear the split blanket over their left shoulder. I think it comes and goes.

                              Comment

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