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Origin of the Roach

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  • Origin of the Roach

    Seems like I've seen this thread somewhere but I haven't been able to find it in over a week now. Does anyone out here know/have the origin of the Roach?
    To get a true picture of your purpose in life, you only get the whole picture when you listen with your mind, your ears and your heart. This way The Creator has a direct connection with you and only you...no outside interference.

    When you follow the will of IT that created you, understanding that your purpose is not for you...but for IT and all that IT has created, there can be no wrong except failure to be obedient. Only then do we jeopardize the gifts we are given.

    Its not the final destination that defines us, rather the journey taken!

  • #2
    It is my understanding that the term "hair roach" is apparently called ‘roach’ in English because of it’s resemblance to the roaching or clipping of a horse’s mane which was considered stylish in the 1800s.

    The hair roach headdress is said to have originated in the custom of shaving all the hair from the head except for a narrow strip running from the crown to the base of the neck. Later, animal hair such as porcupine guard hair, deer-tail hair and turkey beard hair were added to the dancers hair to add to the effect. Paintings done by George Catlin in the 1830s and 1840s, such the Head Chief of the Iowa, named The White Cloud painted in 1845 as seen below, shows this hair style with the addition of animal hair.

    Some authorities attribute the hair roach headdress to the Pawnee as a result of the legend of their culture hero Crow Feather, however the hair roach headdress can be found in many other traditions throughout the Great Lakes, the Northeast, Southeast, Prairie and Plains tribes.

    Today the hair roach headdress is either made from turkey beard hair, in which case the length of the base is usually a smaller size, perhaps 8 to 12 inches, or porcupine guard hair which can have a base from 12 to 20 inches or more. In both cases, deer-tail hair is added inside and out. There was a time that the deer-tail hair was dyed red to indicated that the wearer had been “tested by fire” or in other words the dancer was a warrior or veteran who had been in combat, and if the deer-tail hair was left natural or white the dancer had not been in combat.

    In general the southern plains style of hair roach headdress will have the front hairs standing erect with only a gradual outward flare, whereas in contrast, the northern plains style hair roach headdress worn by dancers will have the front hairs flaring outward at an almost horizontal angle.


    "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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