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Legend of the Butterfly

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  • Legend of the Butterfly

    I have been trying to learn more about the fancy shawl dance.

    On the internet, there are many sources that talk about the legend of the butterfly.

    I have been reading powwow books to learn more about this dance. None of them mention the legend of the butterfly.

    Can anyone help me learn more about "the legend of the butterfly" and how it relates to the shawl dance?
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    Legend of the Butterfly

    I posted in another post about how the grass dancers came to be called "Grass Dancer's." Well these same grass dancer's also had a hand in inventing the Butterfly dance. It was a beautiful spring day on the upper Missouri River. The Grass dancer's were cutting the grass in the arbor in preperation for the big doin's. This arbor was filled with sweet clover, which butterflys love. Well as the grass dancer's were knocking down the sweet clover, thousands and thousands of butterflys came flying up out of the clover. They young women were chasing the butterflys, kind of running and jumping and spinning. Well it took the grass dancers right up to grand entry, as it typically did, and while they were working a drum started singing a warm up song. Well the young ladies were running and jumping chasing the butterfly's and as they chased the butterflys they started to keep time with the drum. All the young ladies thought this looked pretty cool and were, about seriously tired of dancing traditional. Well, when they sang the grand entry song and the grass dancers danced the grass out, the young women jumped in behind them and were dancing their new "Butterfly dance," and it looked CHO. They didn't get any points for that grand entry because they didn't come in with the right catergory, well they didn't have a catergory, but you know how some pow wow committees can be.

    You know how every one copies and the next week end all the young women were doing it. The Southern women picked it up and took it to Oklahoma. They danced it with fancy dance bustles and were whipping up on all the man in all the dance contests, so the men gave them their own catergory and made them dance it with a blanket and it was adapted to a shawl. The shawl represents the wings of the butterfly in flight and if you watch a good fancy shawl dancer you can see this.

    That old tired story you hear in the east about the butterfly being in mourning and coming out of it's cocoon is seriously whack. This is the true story.

    I know this is true because I read it on a website a white guy operates.



    • #3
      I know this is true because I read it on a website a white guy operates.
      :rofl2: :rofl2: :rofl2: :rofl2: :rofl2:
      This is the worst signature ever.


      • #4
        Steve: "eloquently spoken."

        In the 1980's and 90's this "butterbarfly coming from a coocoon legend" was not even heard of.

        Now that we are in a new millinneum, this story has emerged.

        Didn't real people start this dance?

        Isn't this dance supposedly started in the late 1960's?

        Aren't myths and legends two separate things?
        Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.


        • #5
          [QUOTE]"butterbarfly coming from a coocoon legend" was not even heard of.

          You know Who in serious pow wow country, it isn't even heard of now. I seen a poster from Ft Belknap, I think, and they were having a women's fancy dance special for one of the women credited with starting the fancy dance. I can't think her name right now. It was probably earlier than the 60's, maybe the 50's although I have heard stories of the dance even earlier than that. Personally, I think Gracie Her Many Horses started the fancy dance. She is the right age, about 60 yrs old. She started the fad of french braiding your hair when you dance? Did you know that.


          • #6
            Gracie would kick yo *** for saying she's 60.
            Happy on Friday, Hatin on Monday....


            • #7

              Gracie was born in the mid-50s.

              Another fine myth though!
              Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.


              • #8
                Did u all hear about Gracie beating Spike in thier combined iron woman/men danceoff in Ft.Wash?..HOW COOL IS THAT.....*L*

                MAN....WHERE IS YOSA!......i will say it for her "Gooooo GrRRRaaacieEE!
                ~.~ A friend is~.~

                " someone who can sing the song in your heart, even when you have forgotten the words...;)"


                • #9
                  There were two ladies who started it. One I can't think of her name right now but the other one was Yvonne Merrick. She is Kenny Merrick's mom. She was bad to the bone.

                  YOU GO GRACIE!!!!!!!!!!
                  Get up and get out!


                  • #10
                    The legend of the Butterfly - to explain where the fancy shawl dance originated - is pure URBAN LEGEND!

                    There are no facts to support it!

                    The fancy shawl dance was started by real people at real locations in a real "recent" time period.

                    "But it does make good party conversation over milk and ice cream!"

                    Yes, Gracie is cool. She is humble too.

                    So is Chico! :Angel:
                    Last edited by WhoMe; 07-18-2003, 11:47 AM.
                    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.


                    • #11
                      In a recent issue of News From Indian Country there is a totally awesome article in it about the first women fancy dancers and where they are now.
                      In the article it talks about when women first went out there, bustles and all.

                      A few of the mentioned names are:
                      Gigi( Goergette) Palmer - Kiowa/ Choctaw
                      Gwen Shunatona - Otoe-Pawnee
                      Margaret Blackowl - Cheyenne
                      Edith Rice Harjo - Pawnee-Otoe/ Sac&Fox

                      There are tons more I just can't them all. But it is a really cool article for aynbody to read.

                      It says that in 1945 a female fancy dancer won the championship in Anadarko,OK. It is remebered that car horns could be heard all night long in the encampmnet but to this day nobody can remember the girl's name.

                      *********** Special Note**************
                      " In honor of these early fancy dancers the Quapaw Pow-wow of July 4-6 2003, is dedicated to honoring the female fancy dancers. They are also sponsoring a special contest for these top female fancy dancers with top paying money."

                      Does anyone know how this turned out?
                      Before you attempt to beat the odds, make sure you can survive the odds beating you!

                      Why do some people bother breathing when you know their brain isn't getting the oxygen?


                      • #12
                        The article and the special at Quapaw was talkling about Women Fancy War Dancers, not women's Fancy Shawl Dancers. Bonnie won the special, but Shelley Bointy shoulda, she danced jack like Joe B.
                        Happy on Friday, Hatin on Monday....


                        • #13
                          I heard Eva Duncan looked pretty good too. Her aunt Edith Rice used to fancy dance back in 1947 like Fancy Star noticed.

                          But has anybody noticed since fancy shawl dancing came "IN," women fancy feather dancer went "OUT?" This transition occured in the 70's.
                          Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.


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