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  • "battle" dresses

    Sometimes here in Oklahoma I see women who wear dresses with the body one color and the sleeves another. Usually Comanche or Kiowa women. I've heard them referred to as Battle Dresses. Can anyone explain a little about these dresses? What they signify and who has rights to wear them? Do other tribes also have dresses similar and if so, what is their significance? Just hoping to get some conversation started. Forum seems to have slowed down. Everyone Pow wowing hard I guess!

  • #2
    Originally posted by tribaltagz View Post
    Sometimes here in Oklahoma I see women who wear dresses with the body one color and the sleeves another. Usually Comanche or Kiowa women. I've heard them referred to as Battle Dresses. Can anyone explain a little about these dresses? What they signify and who has rights to wear them? Do other tribes also have dresses similar and if so, what is their significance? Just hoping to get some conversation started. Forum seems to have slowed down. Everyone Pow wowing hard I guess!

    tribal,

    I have seen these dresses but have never heard them called by this term before. I see them especially at summer ceremonial gourd dances and black leggins ceremonies.
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

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    • #3
      I may be mistaken as to the term used to refer to the dress. What made me think of it was that I was at Pawnee Homecoming a few weeks ago and a Golden Age couple (Comanche, I think) were sitting next to us. She had the most awesome dress. It was black with red sleeves, yellow between and teh edges where the two colors met were kind of wavy. I'd never seen one that way before. Only seen them straight. I should have asked her about the dress, but I'm a little shy around people I don't know.

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      • #4
        The dress you are asking about is worn only by the wife, sister, daughter of a veteran. The Comanche wear it in red and blue usually with a frngless apron. The Kiowa wear it in red and blue UNLESS they are realsted to a member of the Black Leggins Warrior Society (which are only Kiowa military vets who fought in active combat). These Kiowa dresses blue and black, no apron, and have a copyright restriction.

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        • #5
          They got a copyright on a dress? Man you guys are on your A game. You think we can do that with other clothes?

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          • #6
            Is this what you're talking about?


            Mother Daught Special - 2007 Red Earth - Native American Pow Wow Photo Gallery - PowWows.com
            Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

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            • #7
              WhoMe, the photo you posted is what I was thinking as well.

              I first heard the term "battle dress" used in an article published in a magazine some years ago. More recently, the NMAI's exhibition "Identity by Design," which showcased many styles of women's clothing, included a dress that was referred to as a Kiowa Battle Dress made by Vanessa Jennings. I've attached a photo. In the book related to the exhibit, Jennings notes that the red and blue combination is worn by Kiowa War Mothers and other women's auxiliaries, but that the red and black is reserved for women affiliated with the Black Leggings Society. As noted below, the book also says the design has been copyrighted.
              Attached Files

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              • #8
                Originally posted by park View Post
                WhoMe, the photo you posted is what I was thinking as well.

                I first heard the term "battle dress" used in an article published in a magazine some years ago. More recently, the NMAI's exhibition "Identity by Design," which showcased many styles of women's clothing, included a dress that was referred to as a Kiowa Battle Dress made by Vanessa Jennings. I've attached a photo. In the book related to the exhibit, Jennings notes that the red and blue combination is worn by Kiowa War Mothers and other women's auxiliaries, but that the red and black is reserved for women affiliated with the Black Leggings Society. As noted below, the book also says the design has been copyrighted.

                park,

                Yes. I am familiar with this particular dress made by Ms. Jennings. I do think this dress had text referencing a battle dress, although I have never heard these kind of dresses refered to as such.

                ---

                When tribaltagz used "Pawnee Indian Homecoming" and "Battle Dresses" in the same sentence, I immediately thought about "South Roads 49!"

                *L
                Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

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                • #9
                  YUP! Those are it! Thank you for the information! Also in the posts there was a reference to the black shawls worn by men and the black and red dresses worn by the women that refer to the red winged blackbird and wondered if it referred to the same style dresses.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tribaltagz View Post
                    Sometimes here in Oklahoma I see women who wear dresses with the body one color and the sleeves another. Usually Comanche or Kiowa women. I've heard them referred to as Battle Dresses. Can anyone explain a little about these dresses? What they signify and who has rights to wear them? Do other tribes also have dresses similar and if so, what is their significance? Just hoping to get some conversation started. Forum seems to have slowed down. Everyone Pow wowing hard I guess!
                    Yo Tagz! Next Monday I will share with you what little I know. I am going to bring you an article that will help clarify things a little. I am willing to bet it is the same article that Park is talking about. For those that are interested, get a hold of Whispering Winds Vol 32 # 3 (2002). There is a 9 page article written by Vanessa Jennings called: "The Tradition of the Kiowa Battle Dress and Aw-Day-Tah-Lee in My Family". More off site.

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                    • #11
                      Hey Hey Hey!

                      Thanks for the article! I wish that I had time to look at it more closely when you brought it by! I'm going to track down a copy for my own collection! Good to have you around buddy!

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