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  • Earrings

    In early times both men and women of the Omaha/Ponca had their ears pierced for the first time at a very early age, usually about 3 or 4 years old, when they could walk on their own. Ear piercing was considered a “rite of passage” and the family of the child would gift the person doing the piercing in a very generous manner. Both male and female would then wear earrings the rest of their lives. (Abe Conklin, Ponca/Osage, 1986)

    Consequently, during the Hethuska dance ceremony it was only natural for men to wear earrings.

    For other tribes, such as the Pawnee, the amount of ball and cone silver earrings worn, at one time had to do with war honors. (JoJo Lane, Pawnee, 1988)

    The most common early style of earring wwere:

    1. A silver wire loop.

    2. A silver wire loop with a number of variations of items either threaded through the silver wire loop, or dangling from the silver wire loop, such as:

    a) a silver bead or beads
    b) a trade bead or beads
    c) a silver bead and dangling silver cone
    d) a piece of shell
    e) a length of silver chain hanging from the loop
    f) a length of silver chain hanging from the loop with stamped silver dangle
    g) a bone hairpipe or hairpipes

    3. Hook earring with a number of silver dangle variations.

    Today, stamped trade-silver or German silver pieces linked together in a variety of shapes and patterns, or silver ball & cone earrings, are the norm for most men’s earrings used by straight dancers.

    Some examples from the past:

















    The Watchful Fox - Sauk & Fox - 1847


    Sauk & Fox man - 1858


    Woman's Heart - Kiowa - 1867


    Sitting In The Saddle - Kiowa - 1867


    Kicking Bird - Kiowa - 1868


    One Who Strikes The Chiefs First - Pawnee - 1868


    White Horse - Pawnee - 1868


    Gives To The Poor - Pawnee - 1868


    Long Dog - Pawnee - 1868


    Wah-Com-Mo - Sauk & Fox - 1868


    Medicine Horse - Otoe - 1869


    Knife - Iowa - 1869


    Kicking Bird - Kiowa - 1870


    White Horse - Kiowa - 1870


    Bird Chief – Arapaho – 1871


    Chewing Elk – Comanche – 1872


    Lone Wolf - Kiowa - 1872


    Black Dog – Osage – 1876


    Black Crow - Ponca - 1877


    Standing Bear - Ponca - 1881


    Standing Bear - Ponca - 1881


    White Swan - Omaha - 1883


    Yellow Smoke - Omaha - 1883


    Bright Eye - Omaha - 1883


    Cannot Do It - Sauk & Fox - 1890


    Shining River - Sauk & Fox - 1890


    Comanche man – 1892


    Ne-kah-ka-lah – Osage – 1893


    Tall Chief – Osage – 1894


    Prairie Turtle - Otoe - 1894


    Bushy Tail - Otoe - 1894


    Frank Corndropper, Paul Buffalo, and Pierce St. John - Osage - 1895


    Willie Gray Eyes - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Eagle Chief - Pawnee - 1900


    Bacon Rind – Osage – 1900


    Ma-Chet-Seh - Osage - no date


    Man Of Courage – Osage – 1904


    Black Dog – Osage – 1904


    Little Soldier - Ponca - 1906


    Bacon Rind – Osage – 1906


    Red Eagle – Osage – 1908


    Wolf In The Middle – Southern Cheyenne – 1908


    Little Village Maker - Omaha - 1909


    Standing Bear - Omaha - 1909


    Standing Elk - Ponca - no date


    Generous – Osage – 1913


    Walking Dog – Osage – 1923



    Bailey, Garrick, and Daniel Swan.
    2004. Art of the Osage. St. Louis Art Museum, University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA.

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

    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.
    1961. Plains Indian Metalworking, Part Two. American Indian Tradition Newsletter, Volume 8.

    Hail, Barbara N.
    1980. Hau, Kola!: The Plains Indian Collection of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. Brown University, Bristol, RI.

    Howard, Dr. James H.
    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.

    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
    cool photos. too bad our lil men with long hair already get teased for having long hair. imagine long hair and earrings...
    The only time its too late to start dancing is when you're dead.

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting...thanks for sharing

      But Boss, I am working!!......on finding my next pow-wow that is!

      Comment


      • #4
        John Straight - Osage - 1912


        John Straight - Osage - 1912

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

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

        Comment


        • #5

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

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

          Comment


          • #6
            Bump...

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

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

            Comment


            • #7
              I read about earrings before! They were worn by both men and women. The richer the tribe, the more expensive earrings. And pierced ears sooner children!

              Comment

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