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Straight Dancer Facepaint

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  • Straight Dancer Facepaint

    I am aware that many tribal traditions among straight dancers include the use of facepaint. Usually the colors and designs have a particular meaning to them for tribal, clan, society, family or personal reasons. If you would like to share what traditions you are aware of, I would be interested in learning.

    For example, among the Ponca, a Straight Dancer will sometimes use red powderpaint in a straight line from the corner of the eye straight back for about and inch. This "witch paint" as it is sometimes called, is said to protect the wearer from having a spell cast on him by a spiritual witch or bad medicine person.

    I have seen similar variations of "eyepaint" in blue, green or yellow with a "V" or three line like a crow's foot among other Oklahoma tribes such as the Sauk & Fox, Kiowa and Comanche, but I don't know what the significance of the color or meaning may be.

    Among the Osage, I have seen red powderpaint put on the earlobes, and I have even seen some who have painted the part in their hair red.

    As I said, if you'd like to share what you know, I'm interested in learning.

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

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

  • #2
    face paint for straight dancers

    Among my people the Umon Hon (Omahas), face paint was used for warfare. So, the Hethushka dance would be the only time the dancers would wear face paint. The red paint on the forehead that they have a Veteran in their family or they're a veteran themselves. Some times the dancers would wear two white lines at the corner of their eyes going straight back at least an Inch, which represents they have their own family they are dancin' for. And one more style of face paint which we the Omahas don't practice is when the dancer would paint his whole face black, which means he has killed an enemy, and upon returning to the tribe he does'nt wanna show his face and hides it from God and his people. This is all I know.

    P.S. Oh yeah!!! the red on the forehead can also mean that the dancer is the oldest among his siblings.
    >>>~~~~*~~~~<<< THUNDERHILL >>>~~~~*~~~~<<<


    • #3
      The men in our family wear red paint when we wear it. We wear it in this manor, two red lines in a "V" shape from the eyes towards the ears about 1 inch long. We then will take red on our finger tip and make red dots falling from our eye, in the form of tear drops. The Veterans in our family wears the tear drops on the Right side and the non-vets wear it on the left. We have also placed some red paint on our ear lobes, reason unknown, just have done it.

      I was told this "V" protects us and the tear drops are for the enemy we have harmed or will harm.

      This is all that I can remember since my grandfather and greatuncles have long passed when I was quite young. I do have another grandfather and other uncles that have passed some info but they weren't able to give much help before they too passed.


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