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Regalia and dance question

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  • Regalia and dance question

    I read a post a while back about someone carrying a hand-held mirror during a dance. I can't recall which dance it was....caffiene-deficiency. Can anyone tell me the dance and the significance of the mirror?

  • #2
    i've seen em. they're called mirror boards i think. They are usually in straight dancing(southern traditional), but i have no clue what the signifigance is. I've only seen a few straight dancers in my life.


    • #3
      ok... yep mirror boards, thats their name! most of the time when i see the in the south, they are used in the same hand as the fan. Thats why I don't use one, i need my fan. but some other people use it in the hand which would normally carry a staff.
      Even YOU can change!


      • #4
        Mirror Board, yes.

        I was livin in OK a LONG time ago, and we did alot of pow wows in that era (Long live Kickapoo!) anyway... I asked the same question when I was about 6

        In the 'old' days, I guess alot of the traditional men would use mirrors on their yolks, bandoliers, arms, even on mocs, to 'ward' away 'evil spirits'...

        Not sure how accurate this is when it comes to straight dancers, but that's my final answer.
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        • #5
          Maybe we can get Historian in on this conversation, he's extremely knowledgable.


          • #6
            Mirror boards are used in Southern Straight Dancing and I have only seen 2 or 3 Traditional dancers use one. I have also herd that the mirrors ward off evil spirits too. I susppose
            or I have all ways thought at contest Powwows they were to catch the eyes of the judges during competion. I do not know if that is right or not. But when I straight dance I sometimes use one, but usually I do not. Historian would know.
            Dance hard like there is no tomrrow. Hoka!

            Being Native American isn't JUST about blood. It is a Spiritual way of life.

            "Tell me and I will listen, Show me and I will understand, Take me in and I will learn." -A Lakota proverb

            “We need to start standing up to people who tell us ‘no,’ that we can’t do things in the way of our culture.” -Aloysius Dreaming Bear


            • #7
              I read the other day that the otter bandoliers w/ mirrors on them were wore by a warrior society in Lakota tribes to "blind the enemy" on approach. Maybe it has something to do with that ?


              • #8
                Crow Mirror Bags, is it true that the mirrors were important and hard to get so they made the mirror bag for it?
                There are 2 types of people in the world...
                Really stupid people who think they are smart
                Really smart people who think they are smart.


                • #9
                  I'm interested more in self determination than gender equity. In other words, changing white men for white woman in the structures of power, does nothing to transform the opression in my community.

                  "You need to find yourself a girl, mate... Or, perhaps the reason you practice three hours a day is that you already found one and are otherwise incapable of wooing said strumpet. You're not a eunuch, are you? [looks down]"
                  -Captain Jack Sparrow


                  • #10
                    My grandpa is Omaha and he makes those. His story is that they were used as a signal, because it reflects from far away, for game or people coming. That was what the Omaha used them for.


                    • #11
                      I have been told that the southern and northern plains tradition of a mirror board served two significant purposes. First, they were a "heliograph" type of signaling device. A way of communicating with other warriors across large distances with a pre-arranged series of flashes of sun reflecting off the mirror. One flash means..., two flashes means..., three flashes means..., etc.

                      In addition, it was thought by some tribes, that "spiritual harm" or harmful "medicine power" directed toward a warrior from an enemy holy person, could be deflected by a mirror in the same way sun light is deflected. This is why personal medicine items were often attached to mirror boards to give added spiritual protection.

                      Mirrors were also thought by many tribes to be connected with Thunderbeings. The sun that flashed from a mirror had a relationship with the lightning that flashed during a thunderstorm. It was believed then that the mirror board had the power of the Thunderbeings in it. In part, this is why some northern warrior societies wore the otter skin yoke with mirrors attaches, to blind and confuse the enemy from a practical standpoint, but also to have the power of the Thunderbeings with them as well.

                      "Be good, be kind, help each other."
                      "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

                      --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)


                      • #12
                        I danced at Crow Fair in 1957, and all the Crow male dancers carried a beaded mirror bag, usually in the left hand. I don't know whether that still holds true.


                        • #13
                          Straight dancers may carry a mirror instead of a tailstick (we still have the fan, we are smart about it- keep cool, don't wear 30 lbs of bustle, make sure you have money to get home, and look good doin' it, the total opposite of northerns aye..........)

                          Seriously, I have seen a few northern tradish with mirror boards, but it is pretty uncommon. I have also seen mirrors incorporated into gunstocks and so forth.
                          I have seen grass dancers with them- not sure why though or if the boys were northern or southern.


                          • #14
                            Some photos of Plains mirror boards posted by "BeadMan" in the Galleries section.

                            "Be good, be kind, help each other."
                            "Respect the ground, respect the drum, respect each other."

                            --Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage (1926-1995)


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