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Bells or Deer toes

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  • Bells or Deer toes

    I was recently at a dance and I wear deer toes. I used to wear bells. I was asked by someone what I was wearing.

    Does anyone else wear deertoes or is the bell still the way?

    Jingle all the way or clatter clatter.

  • #2
    I have seen mostly Kiowas and Commanches wearing the toes. But for the most part bells seem to be the norm.
    Tha-ke'-tha-pi Wa-kon-ta


    • #3
      I myself wear bells cuz there cheaper here in Alaska, but my grandfather wore deer toes. I am currently gathering enough to put together a set for myself. I don't think there is a general rule of thumb for one or the other. I myself perfer the deer toes cuz I like the sound...not to mention their a whole lot lighter!!!!:Chatter
      We the unwilling, lead by the unknowing, have been doing so much with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.


      • #4
        Bells are the norm, ecspecially the ones with really old time sound. Dear toes are cool, I saw a guy at Ponca wear them when I was out there. But I perfer bells, more sound to them and helps keep me in time......
        If I do not know the answer someone else will!!!!
        Also forgive me, this system does not have a spell check so forgive the bad spelling


        • #5
          I do have a set of bells but use my deertoes most. I have one set of only toes and a set I use most, (made of 357 mag bullet caseings with a couple of rows of deertoes over the top). The bullet caseings have a really nice sound along with the best of the deertoes.
          I have been seeing more deertoes here lately. I think they look nice and sound good.


          • #6
            Finally got them...

            Hand delivered by my father in law today from a gentleman in Tejas that some of us know a bag full of deer toes....Want to start working on them tonight but have to be at the fire tomorrow brings a new day and I want that day to start with making my set of deer toes bells to wear at Ponca this next weekend. I saw an article in Whispering Wind awhile back (browsing the books at Sharp' ) but I want to know what those of you who actually wear deer toes can tell me about making this set. What's the best way to mount them, set them, fix them up right to I get a keen set of toes once I'm done. Thanks for the help!!
            "What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."
            Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator
            ...... everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.
            Mourning Dove Salish 1888-1936


            • #7
              I was searching on here for some more ideas and help working on my deer toes and came across these posts. I hope that the authors do not mind me reposting these but I felt like they had some great ideas among them. I located these in another forum.

              Strong Beaver:
              I have leather leggings and I tie my dear toes to my wapum beaded leg ties. I used to hang the deer and elk toes 2 to 3 inches from the botton of the ties with black sinew but I would loose a few every now and then in the arena and thats not good when things start fallen off the man!! You drill the toes and secure them with rolled leather cord. I also have many small deer and elk dew claws on them that hang and bang around hitting the larger toes, makes a nice sound. Take my advice an secure them well with holes punched in the bottom of the leg ties and punch a two holes in the back of the leggings and secure the leg ties there too. I takes abour 50 toes per leg and that only covers the front. Slowly I have been adding more toes and dews and am almost have them all the way around. Make sure your place the ties 4 to 5 inches below the knee 'cause when you kneel down on one knee the leggings move up your leg and you end up kneeling on the toes, that hurts! Measure well before you punch the leggings. Bells were used by one dancer in our band in some of the first pow wows when others were using the deer and elk toes, but the dancer who used the bells started winning alot then others changed to bells too. I have been dancing for over 40 years and have earned a buffalo headdress, and am trying buffalo toes but they are to big I am finding out

              It It takes about 90 to 100 toes per leg to do it all the way around the Leg, or 45 to 50 to do the front only. They hang from 1/2 inch from the bottom of the leg tie to about 5 inches below. They look fuller when you stagger the Length and they Sound good too. If you plan on using dew claws with them because they are smaller put them on last so they are on top of the longer toes. You can tell how successfully your dancing was by how tangled they get after all the dancing is over. Part of the routine is untangling them when putting the regalia away, that way you can look for any loose ones, 'cause you don't want them falling off in the arena. The square not is good to tie them but its better to use a sheep bend knot. Black sinew slips the knots some black rolled leather cord holds up better.
              When a Deer totem shows up in your life, you learn to nudge like the deer does with its nose, the power of gentleness. The deer loves the sound of the drum and they are always thinking of wounded ones in life. Be prepared to be be awakened to graceful movements. The deer totem is a good bell because it also represents standing straight in life, and to have a open heart. The fawn lies still, till it hears the sound of it's mother's toes. So deer toes go good with our movement with Mother Earth...

              I use deer toes with my regalia and i dont think i could fit 50 - 100 around my legs i have them spaced out so they "clack" more but they are just like bell anklets so i have about 12-15 on each anklet and they sound just fine.
              "What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."
              Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator
              ...... everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence.
              Mourning Dove Salish 1888-1936


              • #8
                I have deer toes to define the diagonal line of my skin leggins. I didn't try to make them clack; I just think they look keen. About every 3", two holes were poked about 3/8" apart, a 9" leather string run thru from the inside leaving two equal lengths emerging. One deer toe is threaded on both strings and snugged up to the leggin, tied off with an overhand knot, hidden inside the toe. The two strings act as fringes, and each has a deer toe on the bottom. An overhand knot or a figure-eight knot works well.


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