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  • Neckerchief

    The neckerchief has become an integral part of the modern set of straight dance clothes among the Ponca, Osage, Pawnee, Comanche, Kiowa and other southern plains tribes.

    They are usually made of silk, stain or taffeta and most often seen in solid colors.

    The color of the neckerchief normally matches the color of the silk shoulder scarves.

    In addition, many dancers try to have the trim ribbons of their ribbonshirt and the wide ribbons strips hanging from their silver armbands, match the color of the neckerchief and shoulder scarves to give a more “organized” appearance to the overall outfit. This has been the origin of the sometimes used term, “straight suit.”

    The neckerchief is typically folded in a triangle, the point hanging in the center of the dancer’s back, while the ends are tied in a knot or held together in front with a slide, usually made from stamped trade-silver or German silver. Most often the points of the neckerchief extend to the length of a modern necktie, or at some point between the bottom of the ribcage to just above the waist.

    Great care is taken by many southern straight dancers to take special attention to the color of their neckerchief and shoulder scarves, so as to be in contrast to the color, or colors, which appear in their ribbonshirt and other major component artwork of the outfit. Many straight dancers today strive for a “coordinated” look.

    Some examples Neckerchiefs and slides from the past:

    Pawnee men, Pawnee, OK - no date

    Roaming Chief - Pawnee - 1916

    Quanah Parker – Comanche – 1892

    Post Oak Jim (on right), and his brother – Comanche – 1895

    Comanche couple – 1895

    Comanche man – 1898

    Tah-Cha-Chi (aka Timbo, aka Hairless) - Comanche - no date

    Pebo - Comanche - no date

    Ti-su-yo - Comanche - 1910

    Tenikwa – Comanche – 1919

    Comanche men - no date

    Little Chief - Comanche - no date

    Son of Lone Wolf - Kiowa - 1890?

    Two Hatchet - Kiowa - 1898

    Kiowa man - 1898

    Running Bird - Kiowa - 1913

    Dust Maker (aka Pete Mitchell) - Ponca - 1898

    Little Soldier - Ponca - 1906

    Fire Shaker - Ponca - 1914

    Osage man - no date

    George Michelle - Osage - 1905

    George Michelle - Osage - 1910

    John Wood - Osage - 1910

    Makes Them Cry – Osage – 1913

    Pep-tsa-moie - Osage - 1914

    Callahan, Alice A.
    1990. The Osage Ceremonial Dance, I’n-Lon-Schka. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK.

    Cooley, Jim.
    1985. Inlonska Centenial Commemoration: One Hundred Years of Dancing at the Pawhuska District. Moccasin Tracks Magazine, June Issue, Vol. 10, No. 10, LaPalma, CA.

    Duncan, Jim.
    1997. Hethushka Zani: An Ethnohistory of the War Dance Complex. MA thesis. Department of Anthropology, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, OK.

    Ellis, Clyde.
    2003. A Dancing People: Powwow Culture on the Southern Plains. University of Kansas Press, Lawrence, KS.

    Feder, Norman.
    1957-a. Costume of the Oklahoma Straight Dancer. The American Indian Hobbyist Newsletter, Vol. 4, No. 1.
    1957-b. Costume of the Oklahoma Straight Dancer. The American Indian Hobbyist Newsletter, Vol. 4, No. 2.
    1980. Some Notes on the Osage War Dance. Moccasin Tracks Magazine, November Issue, LaPalma, CA.

    Heth, Charlotte, ed.
    1992. Native American Dance: Ceremonies and Social Traditions. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

    Howard, Dr. James H.
    1955. The Pan-Indian Culture in Oklahoma. The Scientific Monthly, Vol. 81, No. 5.
    1965. The Ponca Tribe. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 195, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
    1976. Ceremonial Dress of the Delaware Man. Special Issue, The Bulletin of the Archeological Society of New Jersey, No. 33, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ.
    1983. Pan-Indianism in Native American Music and Dance. Ethnomusicology, Vol. 28, No. 1.

    Howard, Dr. James H. and Gertrude P. Kurath.
    1959. Ponca Dances, Ceremonies and Music. Ethnomusicology, Vol. 7.

    Johnson, Tim. Ed.
    1998. Spirit Capture: Photographs from the National Museum of the American Indian. Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C.

    Kavanagh, Thomas W.
    1992. Southern Plains Dance Tradition and Dynamics: Native American Dance Ceremonies and Social Traditions. National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution with Starwood, Washington D.C.

    LaFave, Edward J.
    1998. Straight Dance Clothing: How to Dress a Straight Dancer. Whispering Wind: American Indian Past & Present Magazine, Vol. 29, No. 4, Folsom, LA.

    Smith, Jerry.
    1982. Straight Dance Clothes: Getting Them On. Moccasin Tracks Magazine, April Issue, LaPalma, CA.

    Stewart, Tyronne H.
    1968. Dressing a Straight Dancer. The Singing Wire Newsletter, February Issue.

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

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

  • #2
    many dance styles include the necercheif...can you expand on those uses too? How it came to be? I have never heard much of an explanation which drives me crazy cause I nderstand the hows and whys of the rest of the regalia m children and I wear


    • #3
      Very interesting subject and I like the photos. I always enjoy seeing the different colors of the neckerchief and ribbons.
      We will be known forever by the tracks we leave..Dakota leader.


      • #4
        I make the slides out of bones from wolf and bear and I can't keep up with the demand, now I know why! Thanks for starting this thread!
        Listen to my heart, not just my mouth! The most powerfull thing we can do is,,,share,,, if we don't it dies with us.

        It is the year of the bear, I am sharpening my claws and will no longer tollerate harrassment.

        Born in Winnipeg raised in the Pikwakanagan, Deutschland was never home! Army brat that had no choice in a parents duties to home and country. I Too Serve our flag and work for the uniform.
        Stand behind our troops or stand IN FRONT of them.


        • #5

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

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


          • #6

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

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


            • #7
              Excellent post. Thank you very much!!


              • #8

                I see more and more the scarves at the shoulders held in place with all kinds of clips? What is be used for these clips? Currently I am tying mine to my armbands
                Last edited by Greylone; 12-09-2018, 02:08 PM.


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