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  • Hair Roach Headdress

    “This headgear 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 19th century. The roach headdress of animal hair almost certainly originated in the custom, formerly observed by some Indian men, of cutting all the hair from the head except for a narrow strip running from the crown to the base of the neck.”
    (Howard, 1958, p. 89)

    White Horse - Pawnee - 1868


    Animal hair such as turkey beard hair, porcupine guard hair, and deer-tail hair were added to the hair to add to the effect. Some authorities attribute the hair roach headdress to the Pawnee as a result of the legend of their culture hero Crow Feather. Other authorities attribute the hair roach to tribal traditions involving the resemblence of the red crest of the Pileated Woodpecker.



    Today the hair roach has evolved to become a seperate headdress, and 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.

    However, these meanings are no longer strictly followed or remembered and the deer-tail hair is frequently dyed any color according to the dancer’s preference.

    In general, the central and southern plains style of hair roach headdress will have the front hairs standing erect with only a gradual outward flare and are usually smaller in size, whereas in contrast, the northern plains style hair roach headdress will frequently have the front hairs flaring outward at an almost horizontal angle and tend to be larger in size.

    Some examples from the past:

    Buffalo Bull - Pawnee - 1832


    Brave Chief - Pawnee - 1832


    Big Elk - Omaha - 1832


    The Watchful Fox - Sauk - 1832


    The Blistered Feet - Iowa - 1844


    The Walking Bear - Sauk - 1844


    The White Cloud - Iowa - 1845


    Un-identified man and Wah-ti-an-kah – Osage - 1865


    Sun Chief, A Fine Horse, Lone Chief, Struck By A Tomahawk, One Aimed At - Pawnee - 1868


    Wah-Com-Mo - Sauk & Fox - 1868


    Yellow Horse – Arapaho – 1872


    Big Mouth Hawk – Arapaho – 1872


    Osage man - 1875


    White Swan - Omaha - 1883


    Running Fox - Omaha - circa 1884


    Big Black Bear - Otoe - 1884


    Cannot Do It - Sauk & Fox - 1890


    Comanche man – 1891


    Inali - Kiowa - 1892


    Henry Red Eagle and son - Osage - 1893


    Osage men - no date


    Osage men - no date


    Osage man - no date


    Bushy Tail - Otoe - 1894


    Iron Man Coming - Otoe - 1895


    Frank Corndropper and Paul Buffalo - Osage - 1895


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


    Willie Gray Eyes - Sauk & Fox - 1896


    William Faw Faw - Otoe - no date


    Medicine Horse – Iowa – no date


    Ponca men - no date


    William Gray Eyes - Sauk & Fox - 1898


    Kiowa man - 1898


    Kau-Lay-Ty - Kiowa - 1898


    Kiowa man - 1898


    Jim Two Hatchet - Kiowa - 1898


    Comanche man – 1898


    Raises The Dust - Ponca - 1898


    Dust Maker (aka Pete Mitchell) - Ponca - 1898


    Dust Maker (aka Pete Mitchell) - Ponca - 1898


    Moni-Chaki (aka Thomas Cry) - Ponca - 1898


    Big Fox – Arapaho – 1898


    Starving Elk - Southern Cheyenne - 1898


    Omaha man - 1898


    Group of Omaha - 1898


    Gray Horn - Omaha - 1898


    Charley Mitchell - Omaha - 1898


    Henry Springer - Omaha - 1898


    Smoked Yellow - Omaha - 1898


    Mo-She-Wa-Ku-De - Omaha - 1898


    Howard Frost - Omaha - 1898


    Pawnee men - no date


    Jessee Kirk, Joseph Springer – Iowa – 1901


    George Michelle - Osage - 1905


    Brother of John Pipestem with wife - Otoe - 1906


    Favored Chief - Omaha - 1909


    George Michelle - Osage - 1910


    John Wood - Osage - 1910


    Osage men - 1912



    Anacona, George.
    1993. Powwow. Harcourt Brace, San Diego, CA.

    Ashworth, Kenneth Albert.
    1986. The Contemporary Oklahoma Pow-wow. Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma.

    Axtmann, Ann.
    1999. Dance: Celebration and Resistance, Native American Indian Intertribal Powwow Performance. Ph.D. dissertation. New York University, NY.

    Burton, Bryan.
    1993. Moving Within the Circle: Contemporary Native American Music and Dance. World Music Press, Danbury, CT.

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

    Catlin, George
    1841. Letters and Notes on the Manners, Customs and Traditions of North American Indians. 2 Volumes, Tosswill & Myers, London, England. (Reprinted as Letters and Notes on the North American Indian. Ross and Haynes, Inc., Minneapolis, MN, 1965)

    Dorsey, George Amos
    1904-a. Traditions of the Skidi Pawnee. Memoirs, American Folk-lore Society, Vol. 8.
    1904-b. Traditions of the Osage. Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL.

    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.

    Fleming, Paula Richardson.
    2003. Native American Photography at the Smithsonian: The Shindler Catalogue. Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C.

    Fletcher, Alice C.
    1892. Hae-thu-ska Society of the Omaha Tribe. Journal of American Folk-lore, Vol. 5, No. 17.

    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.

    Grinnell, George Bird
    1961. Pawnee Hero Stories and Folk Tales. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE.

    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.
    1958. The Roach Headdress. American Indian Tradition Newsletter, Vol. 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.

    Kinietz, Vernon.
    1940. Notes on the Roached Headdress of Animal Hair Among the North American Indians. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, Vol. 26.

    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.

    Sebbelov, Gerda.
    1911. The Osage War Dance. The Museum Journal, Vol. 2, No. 3.

    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.
    Last edited by Historian; 04-11-2009, 10:17 AM.

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

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

  • #2
    What is on the front of Smoked Yellow's roach? is that fluffs replacing the horsehair?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by legalstraight View Post
      What is on the front of Smoked Yellow's roach? is that fluffs replacing the horsehair?
      Looks more like damage to the photograph than Fluffs
      Of course those could be some biiiig fluffs!
      ᎠᏂᎩᏚᏩᎩ - Anigiduwagi
      Till I Die!

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by legalstraight View Post
        What is on the front of Smoked Yellow's roach? is that fluffs replacing the horsehair?
        It appears to be some sort of chemical damage to the photograph in the developing process. Photography was still in a crude stage at this time. The same chemical damage can be seen on his forehead and his shoulder.

        A similar chemical damage can be seen on the photo of (Kau-Lay-Ty - Kiowa - 1898).
        Last edited by Historian; 04-11-2009, 09:44 AM.

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

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

        Comment


        • #5
          Some other examples:

          (Note: Typical method of storing a hair roach.)


























          (Note: Appears to be a "clipped hair" base.)


          (Note: Turkey Beard Roach in lower right corner.)




          Turkey Beard Roaches:







          Turkey Beard Roaches with clipped hair base:











          Last edited by Historian; 04-11-2009, 11:09 AM.

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

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

          Comment


          • #6
            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


            • #7

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

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

              Comment


              • #8
                Bump...

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

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

                Comment


                • #9
                  These are some great Roaches. I have 3 of my own. 1 a 15" roach I was passed down as a youth when I was roached, 1 I was offered a great deal for by a very good friend, it is a 22" in and out white, and 1 Turkey beard I made with in and out red. I also have a Turbin, but don't wear it much any more.
                  BOB

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    i working on towards getting my first roach thrue noc bay.
                    i agree with u there are many nice porky's here and i just learned a lot

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Nice pitures and a very good history lesson too!
                      Asema Is Sacred
                      Traditional Use, Not Misuse
                      Wakan Tanka please have compassion on me.
                      OK Niji we are running a train with red over yellow at this powwow.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Were round roaches ever worn on the Southern Plains? They were out East. It seems to me that if you're going to wear a roach inside of a fur turban, the round roach would make the most sense. The Chippewa do that. I was just wondering if they did the same on the Southern Plains.
                        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

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