No announcement yet.

Hair Roach Spreader

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Hair Roach Spreader

    “A ‘roach spreader’ is usually worn with the (hair roach) headdress. They are sometimes beautifully carved and decorated, and are made of bone or silver”...“It is inserted inside the long fringes of the headdress, spreading them outward in some cases; hence the name ‘spreader’.”
    (Howard, 1958, p. 91)

    The early carved and painted elk shoulder-blade or elk antler spreaders had a piece of hollow wing bone from a golden eagle attached toward the front, to hold the roach feather. Today, reproductions of this style are frequently made from cow shoulder-blade and a hollow chicken leg bone.

    Since the beginning of the 1900s, the roach spreader has often been made of eastern trade-silver, also known as German-silver with tooled or stamped design work. Although many commercially available trade-silver spreaders seen today have two “sockets” for holding the tail or roach feathers, typically these would be for other dance styles such as modern traditional or fancy feathers outfits.

    Traditionally, the Omaha/Ponca Hethuska, Osage Inlonska, Pawnee Iruska dancers used a roach spreader with only one socket.

    In either the bone or the silver style, when a roach spreader is used with the hair roach, it is traditionally held in place by inserting the same lock of braided hair which holds the hair roach headdress in place, through a hole in the front part of the spreader, usually just behind the feather socket. Then a long pin of carved bone or wood is thrust through the braid, locking the hair roach and the spreader to the head.

    If a man’s hair is not long enough to provide a braid, a thong or string is tied to the pin and after passing through the holes in the spreader and hair roach, the thongs are brought around each side of the head and tied under the chin. The tail end of the hair roach headdress will often times have another set of thongs to tie around the neck to hold it firmly in place.

    Some examples of bone or antler spreaders. (Some with and some without sockets.):

    (Early German-silver roach spreader.)

    Howard, Dr. James H.
    1958. The Roach Headdress. American Indian Tradition Newsletter, Vol. 5.

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

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

  • #2

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

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


    • #3

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

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


      Join the online community forum celebrating Native American Culture, Pow Wows, tribes, music, art, and history.

      Related Topics


      • NativeBoy'sMom
        How to Sew a Porky Roach with Nice Spread
        by NativeBoy'sMom
        What is the technique to get a good spread on a porky roach so that I don't have to use a roach spreader to flatten it?

        I've read in several old threads that a spreader shouldn't be used to spread the porky hair because it will break the hair eventually. The same posts said that if the...
        10-07-2011, 01:58 PM
      • LSS
        Origin of the Roach
        by LSS
        Seems like I've seen this thread somewhere but I haven't been able to find it in over a week now. Does anyone out here know/have the origin of the Roach?
        01-13-2006, 03:18 PM
      • NDNQt
        Roach Question
        by NDNQt
        This may have been discussed before I never visit this forum - anyway, I am helping get my 13-year old cousin's outfit together and now we have come to the roach. He isn't sure whether to get 1 or 2 rows of hair on the roach - what is the norm????
        08-06-2004, 10:57 AM
      • eutrinka
        by eutrinka
        yes i need help...

        i need to know if the roach spreder makes the roach hair fan out, or to make the hair fan out you have to tie it a way so the hair fans out...

        11-07-2003, 07:02 PM
      • Firewarrior
        Albino porcipine roach
        by Firewarrior
        I have an Albino porcipine roach which was Gifted to me. I just want to know what it symbolizes and if I should keep. I am an plains Indian and would like to use for chicken dancing. Unsure the value of the roach it has three rows of 8-10 inch albino porcipine hair. And dyed red deer hair inside and...
        02-26-2013, 01:27 PM



      There are no results that meet this criteria.

      Sidebar Ad