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  • Fur Turban

    There are many old photographs of certain Omaha-Ponca Hethuska or Osage Inlonshka members wearing a turban of otter fur, or a turban of red fox fur.

    Dr. James Howard states,

    “The otterskin hat, rather than the war bonnet, was the ‘chief’s’ headdress, while a similar headdress of fox fur marked the experienced warrior.”
    (Howard, 1965, p. 66)

    While in “The Omaha Tribe,” Fletcher and LaFlesche states,

    “The peculiar headgear shown in plates 36 and 49 (otter fur turbans), was worn only by chiefs; it bore the name watha’ge, which was applied to all caps which fit the head.”
    (Fletcher & LaFlesche, 1911, p. 354)

    The red fox fur turban was usually narrow and plain, giving the appearance of a large headband and were sometimes worn in combination to the hair roach. Sometimes these small turbans were also made from otter fur as well, depending on the tribe.

    In contrast, the highly decorated otter fur turbans however,

    “...was a wide band of otter fur which encircled the head like a crown. The top was left open, and if a warrior wished he could place an eagle feather in his scalplock and let it stick up through the cap. The tail of the otter was attached to the rear of the cap in such a way as to hang down the warrior’s back. Sometimes the edges of the cap and tail were beaded, and a tuft of dyed horsehair was appended to the end of the tail. Four round beaded targets were also attached to the wide band of the cap for decoration.”“While some of the southern tribes wore a slight variation of the cap just described, the hat most unique to the southeast had a huge hide triangle, with beaded or painted (or ribbon appliqué) symbols on it, which extended out to the left or right side of the wide headband.”...“Such hats were worn by the Pawnee, Ponca, Osage and Oto warriors.”
    (Mails, 1972, pp. 385-387)

    As already stated, the otter fur turbans were worn only by the Ponca chiefs or sub-chiefs and,

    “...a chief wore a downy eagle plume erect in a socket at the back of his otterskin hat.”
    (Howard, 1965, p. 66)

    Today, fur turbans are seldom seen among the Ponca Hethuska or the Osage Inlonshka members, though they seem to becoming more popular at pow-wows.

    According to an article written by Norman Feder titled “Otter Fur Turbans,” and published in a 1960 issue of American Indian Tradition, other tribes besides the Ponca and Osage had otter fur turbans including the Sauk & Fox, Iowa, Otoe, Missouri, Kaw, Pawnee, Omaha, Comanche, Kiowa, Menomini, Potowatomi and Quapaw. (Feder, 1960, p. 4)

    In addition, I have seen otter fur turbans used among some Southern Cheyenne, and Oklahoma Delaware as well.

    Lastly, in reference to otter fur turbans, Alanson Skinner states,

    “...the most valued variety is a fillet of dark otter fur. Not only does it present a handsome appearance, but the connection of the otter with the sacred rites and origin myth of the Medicine Dance society and it’s own supposed supernatural powers...”
    (Skinner, 1921, p. 109)

    It should be noted, that many tribes still follow traditions which are said to have certain guidelines associated with who is given the right to wear an otter fur turban, and what titles and obligations wearing one implies.

    Some examples from the past:



    Osage


    Kiowa


    Ho Chunk


    Man Chief - Pawnee - 1858


    The Chief Whom They Look Upon - Pawnee - no date


    Eagle Chief - Pawnee - 1905


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


    Andrew Perd-a-sof-py - Comanche - no date


    Nau-Nooh - Comanche - 1910


    Donald Big Cow and wife - Comanche - no date


    Tuas-ye-ah, Quannah Parker's granddaughter, Alberta Clark, and Hunting Horse - Comanche - 1926


    Sitting In The Saddle - Kiowa - 1867


    Sitting In The Saddle - Kiowa - no date


    Running Bird - Kiowa - 1913


    Lone Chief, Standing Buffalo Bull, Iron Whip, Walks With Effort I - Ponca - 1858


    Black Crow - Ponca - 1877


    Standing Bear - Ponca - 1881


    True Eagle - Otoe - 1868


    Medicine Horse - Otoe - 1869


    Standing Eating - Otoe - 1884


    Far Away - Otoe - 1884


    Makes A Noise - Otoe - 1884


    White Horse - Otoe - 1895


    James Arkeketah - Otoe - no date


    John Pipestem, Albert Green - Otoe - 1906


    Red Bear - Otoe - 1908


    The White Cloud - Iowa - 1834


    Black Hawk – Iowa – 1869


    Nag-A-Rash – Iowa – 1869


    Buffalo Chief - Iowa - 1869


    Pa-de-gi-he - Omaha - no date


    The Chief - Omaha - no date


    The Chief - Omaha - 1869


    White Swan - Omaha - 1883


    Yellow Smoke - Omaha - 1883


    Standing Bear, (wife and daughter on left), Yellow Smoke, (wife and daughter on right) - Omaha - 1883


    Omaha man - 1902


    Omaha man - 1902


    Omaha men - 1907


    Standing Bear - Omaha - 1909


    Bear In The Fork Of A Tree - Sauk & Fox - 1858


    Rising Fish - Sauk & Fox - 1858


    The Grey Fox - Sauk & Fox - 1858


    Sauk & Fox men – 1866


    Che-Ko-Shuk - Sauk & Fox - 1868


    Fish Floating to the Shore - Sauk & Fox - 1868


    Po-Ga-Ha-Ma-We - Sauk & Fox - 1888


    Po-Ga-Ha-Ma-We - Sauk & Fox - 1888


    Cannot Do It - Sauk & Fox - 1890


    Cannot Do It - Sauk & Fox - 1890


    Nish-ke-kot with son and daughter - Sauk & Fox - 1895


    Hard Thinker - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Wam-Pash-Ka - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Picking Up Something - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Po-Ga-Ha-Ma-We - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Po-Ga-Ha-Ma-We - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Po-Ga-Ha-Ma-We - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Fish Rub Against Something - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Fish Rub Against Something - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Fish Rub Against Something - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Fish Rub Against Something - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Na-wat-ena, Po-ga-ha-ma-we, and Pi-pi-qua - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    Push-E-To-Neke-Qua and Joe Tyson - Sauk & Fox - 1899


    Old Eye - Sauk & Fox - no date


    Pa-thin-non-pa-zhi – Osage – 1868


    Non-pe-wa-the – Osage – 1868


    Osage men – 1868


    Reaches The Sky – Osage – 1877


    Henry Red Eagle and son - Osage - 1893


    Osage men - no date


    Osage men - no date


    Osage men - no date


    Playful Chief – Osage – 1900


    Bacon Rind – Osage – 1900


    Man Of Courage, Black Dog - Osage - 1904


    Bone Heart – Osage – 1906


    Red Eagle – Osage – 1908


    Comes Upon The Village - Osage - 1908


    Playful Sun Carrier – Osage – 1908


    Generous – Osage – 1911


    Bacon Rind – Osage – 1916





    Feder, Norman.
    1960. Otter Fur Turbans. American Indian Tradition Newsletter, Vol. 7.

    Fletcher, Alice C. and Francis LaFlesche.
    1911. The Omaha Tribe. Bureau of American Ethnology, 27th Annual Report 1905-06, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

    Howard, Dr. James H.
    1965. The Ponca Tribe. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 195, Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

    Mails, Thomas E.
    1972. The Mystic Warriors of the Plains. Garden City, New York: Doubleday.

    Meadows, William.
    1999. Kiowa, Apache and Comanche Military Societies. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX.

    Murie, James R.
    1914. Pawnee Indian Societies. Anthropological Papers, American Museum of Natural History, Vol. 11, No. 7, New York, NY.

    Skinner, Alanson B.
    1915-a. Societies of the Iowa, Kansa and Ponca Indians. Anthropological Papers, American Museum of Natural History, Vol. 11, Part 9, New York, NY.
    1915-b. Kansa Organizations. Anthropological Papers, American Museum of Natural History, Vol. 11, New York, NY.
    1915-c. Ponca Societies and Dances. Anthropological Papers, American Museum of Natural History, Vol. 11, New York, NY.
    1921. Material Culture of the Menomini. Indian Notes and Monographs, No. 20, Museum of American Indian, Heye Foundation, NY.
    Last edited by Historian; 04-13-2009, 03:32 PM.

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

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

  • #2
    John Straight - Osage - 1912


    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


    • #3
      other type of turbans

      are there turbans made from material other than otter or fox? i was at ft duschene last week and a man was wearing a turban made out of what i thought was a blue trade cloth. similar to the turban in the attached thumbnail.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by rezcar3; 05-06-2021, 01:53 PM.

      Comment


      • #4

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

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

        Comment


        • #5
          Bump...

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

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

          Comment


          • #6
            As a point of reference, my father inlaw said, "for Pawnee, not just anyone has the right to wear the tab that sticks out sideways on the front their otter headpiece. The men who wore this tab were recognized, great, spiritual doctors."
            Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

            Comment


            • #7
              Otter fur turban

              Here are some recent photos on photobucket.

              http://s636.photobucket.com/albums/u...w%2010-7-2012/







              .
              Traditions.....keep them and keep them sacred!

              I am NOT Indian. I have never been to India, nor has any of my family before me! I have met these people from India, of whom you speak, and I am nothing like them. Why do you call me an Indian?

              .

              Comment


              • #8
                Has anyone ever seen a contemporary straight dancer in a fur turban with a horn sticking out one side like the 17th photograph down, Standing Bear 1881?
                When you are born into this world you reach for either a bow and quiver, which is blessed by the Sun, our Grandfather, or you reach for an awl and sewing bag, which is blessed by the moon, our Grandmother. From that time on you will follow that vision and be blessed.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by WisconsinBlackBear View Post
                  Has anyone ever seen a contemporary straight dancer in a fur turban with a horn sticking out one side like the 17th photograph down, Standing Bear 1881?
                  I have seen it twice!
                  Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

                  Comment

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