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Old time Traditional outfit info

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  • Old time Traditional outfit info

    Cross posting from Grass dance board, this came out of a discussion there and I described what was on this video I have. Anyway, see below if interested. Waddo!
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    The video is of Fire Cloud's Dance outfit which is located at Milwaukee Public Museum. It is not commercially available, and I don't readily have a way to get copies made, but if there is some interest, I will figure something out.

    As for the roach, It is 9 inches long. It has a pair of quills sewn into the base near the front of the roach with white fluffs at the top. Near the back there is a pair of shorter quills similarly decorated and sewn into the roach base. It came with two wooden spreaders and a bone socket decorated with ribbons. It was worn with an Eagle feather also.

    The bustle was the old style mess bustle with the trailers completely covered in eagle feathers (and included the tail that you don't see much anymore when people make this style bustle).

    Quilled kneebands, armbands, cuffs, breastplate, and quillwork at bottom of breechcloth. Skunk anklets.

    The most interesting piece would have been worn over the shoulders and the main part that hung down was 30 inches long and about a foot wide. It was pink quillwork with white and blue beadwork done on top of it, and a full length small to medium otter with mirrors on it on each side that extended over the shoulders. It had an Old Settlers Assosiation, 1909 button on it.

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    Chad Dancing Hawk
    Chad Dancing Hawk

  • #2
    I also made a video of that outfit in 1998. It is a fabulous set of clothes. What strikes you most about this outfit is how colorful it is. You do not get the sense of that in the black & white photos. Even the bustle has a wide variety of colored feathers in it. The shoulder/yoke thing is as pink as any fancy dance or grass dance suit made today. Firecloud was into pink!

    The other thing that is cool is that you get to see an entire outfit that was made to be worn together. Often times in museums, manequins or displays put together outfits from parts of the same time period. But this was made to be worn together. You can just picture Firecloud standing beside you waiting for grand entry. It's a shame they do not have the room to display the outfit.

    CEM

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    • #3
      One of the nice things about this set of regalia is that it was collected in its entirety by my friend, the late James Howard. He spent much time with the Lakota over the years before teaching at Oklahoma State where he later studied traditional Creek and Shawnee ceremonials. Firecloud's regalia is really stellar. It contains many of the elements of omaha or grass dance clothing of the period, but as James Howard told me years ago, it also certainly reflects the personal taste of the original owner.

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      • #4
        Yes, Doc Howard was a friend of mine too.
        Glad to see his name mentioned.
        He wrote a two part article on Firecloud's outfit in a now defunct magazine. I am embarressed to say I don't remember the name of the this publication.
        Anyone out there Omakiya wo.
        Doc, goes over each piece, explaining the materials used, and the Indian name of each.

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        • #5
          Louis:
          Always nice to hear about someone who also knew James Howard. The two-part article that he wrote appeared in American Indian Crafts & Culture, Volume 6, Nos. 2-3. James had quite a collection that I learned was donated to a museum (don't know which one) after his unfortunate passing. He used to frequent a traditional Creek ceremonial ground where I am a member. We spent many hours talking during the all-night stomp dances there.

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          • #6
            Han, he sdodwaye.
            The two-part aricle on Firecloud's regalia appeared in the February and March 1972 issues of American Indian Crafts and Culture magazine. That would be volume 6 nos. 2 and 3. There are photos and detailed descriptions of each outfit piece. Too bad none of the pictures are in color! While looking for this article, I also found another article in volume 8 no. 6 of the same magazine with the title "The Contemporary "Traditional" Style of the Lakota" by Ronnie Theisz. This article was penned in 1974. Kind of interesting to read what was considered contemporary 25 years ago! The "contemporary" dancers then look like today's "oldstyle" dancers now.

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            • #7
              Many of Dr. Howard's outfits are at the Milwaukee Public Museum in their back storage. This is where I saw the Fire Cloud outfit. A friend of mine who has done several internships there showed me a list of all of his outfits that they have. Last summer I was able to help some friends of mine get in to see a few outfits from the collection including some Gourd Dance items, a Straight Dance suit, and a Cree Grass Dance suit. There is a wide variety of outfits in the collection.

              On another note, the video that Dancing Hawk is referring to is one that I shot in August of 1998 with two other friends.

              CEM

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              • #8
                I was with CEM when he made his Fire Cloud video. It definitely was an interesting outfit. His bustle has bright pink and red feathers. Some of his outfit remained me of fancy dancers since it had arm bustles. It also reminded me of what today we call "old style". If I remember correctly some of the feathers that were used in the bustle had advertisements printed on it. This outfit was used in payment for Fireclouds funeral expenses and was purchased in 1946 by James Howard. When we saw it at the museum it still was a condition that it could be worn. Just wish it was on display rather than stored.

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                • #9
                  My apologies for not recognizing jmm. If you've seen the video it is his hands holding most of the items and him measuring things with the ruler. I must of lost all of my manners since moving from the frozen tundra!

                  I remember the ads printed on the dyed feathers. There was a ring of feathers that were dyed orange, pink, red, and a bunch of other colors. That was very cool to get to see that outfit.

                  CEM

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                  • #10
                    Hey CEM apology accepted ;-} TOO bad we didn't have more time to what else the museum had under lock and key. It truly was a learning experience.

                    JMM

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