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  • Where did grass originate from?

    Where did grass dancing originate from? I heard two stories so far. One is about a one legged native went to the hills and started his own dance then went down to the camp to show off by ended up embarassing himself then he goes up the hill again and learns this dances where he emulates the tall sweet grass. The other is that long ago warriors pounded the tall grass down to prepared for camp then it turned into a tradition. I also heard it comes from the Omahas.
    "I Ahula Ula"
    Enjoying the ride.
    BETA SIGMA EPSILON

  • #2
    I heard and read that it did indeed come from the Omaha as a war dance. The outfit was basic like an old time 1800's outfit would be with a messy bustle and sweetgrass tucked in the belt. It also varied as in some photos I have seen.(who is to say the photos are labelled correctly?) I havent heard the story of the one legged guy tho.

    Another thing I have read about is that the grass dancers entered the circle even before the drum did and 'danced' the grass down while the drum sang on the side.

    I am at work now but when i get home either today or tomorrow I will post some old time pics of 1 Blackfoot grass outfit from the Browning Museum and also some old photos.

    I will also post a short bibliography of books, mags and articles that I have collected on this subject.

    Anyone else?
    The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.

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    • #3
      3 new photos in mens grass dance of an old outfit in the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning, Montana.

      The other grass dance pics are in the Historical section. They were posted a while ago so you may have to search for them.
      The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.

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      • #4
        I took a quick look thru the gallery and found the following old grass dance pics. They are all in the HISTORICAL section.

        Page1 - Fireclouds bustle is from an old Grass Outift
        Page 5 - siouxdanc is a group of old grass dancers
        Page6 - old grass dancers
        Page 6 - Old grass - is a closeup of three dancers from the page 5 pic
        Page 7 - grassdr1 and 2
        The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.

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        • #5
          How old is that outfit from the museum in Browning, MT?

          CEM

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          • #6
            the original grass dancers wasnt the omaha...it was hidatsa
            we see grass dancing from a spiritual point of view....hehhe thats why hidatsa
            men are the best grass dancers...you should check hidatsa history
            :D

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            • #7
              grass dance origins

              My sources say that grass dancing originated with the warrior societies of the Pawnee. After being forced onto reservations, some were allowed to have a gun, a horse, and ride to battle like in the traditional ways IF they would scout for the bluecoats. The U.S. Army used Pawnee as well as Crow scouts to seek out the Lacota poeple when they were trying to remain free. The Pawnee Warrior societies danced with the scalps that they had taken tied to their belts. This offended the blue-coat officers. (God knows how when you consider the atrosities they directed.) To keep peace in the camp, the Pawnee dancers replaced the real scalps with symbolic clumps of sweet grass. Later the Osage adopted this tradition too. Or so I have been told.

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              • #8
                hidatsachic,

                I think you really need to look into where you are getting your information. Yes, the Omahas were the original grass dancers. The Santee Siouxs bought it from the Omahas and they changed it a bit. The Hidatsas then bought it from the Siouxs (Spirit Lake)around 1860's. Think about it. Why are all of those original grass dance songs that Mandaree and Eagle Whistles (and all of the other Fort Berthold singers) sing in Sioux? Those are Santee Sioux words. I know the Hidatsas don't like to admit they got grassdance from the Siouxs, but they have to acknowledge that they were not and are not the original grassdancers.

                NOW, don't go and freak out and get all bent out of shape. I am part Hidatsa. This information is well documented. And, yes the Hidatsas are good grass dancers, especially........

                Dean P. Fox
                :chief:
                It does not require many words to speak the truth.
                Chief Joseph

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                • #9
                  So from the Omahas' is where grass dance originated. Wow. Thank you people for the info, see you all later I gotta go...
                  "I Ahula Ula"
                  Enjoying the ride.
                  BETA SIGMA EPSILON

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Grass Dance Original

                    Well it's great that everyone has their own perceptions and beliefs about where the Grass Dance originated from. But from my own point of view the Grass Dance was a healing dance that started way back in the day, in the prairies.
                    The Plains Cree were the original ancestors of this dance. My great great great grandfather was one of the original grass dancers, and my mushum still dances the old style grass dance. It started as a vision that came to heal the sick, the vision of the swaying of the grass, and from that became the Grass Dance.
                    The way that the Grass Dance is danced now is really not the way that it should be danced. The movements are to be slow, smooth, and bending low. Some of the Grass Dancers you see today, dance more like Mens Fancy than anything else. But that is my contribution to the subject...

                    Thanks :)

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                    • #11
                      This is good learning. I like it. It just goes to show that no one person is ever totally correct on something that is taught differntly in different cultures.

                      Reminds me of the jingle dress origin threads.
                      The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't know much but this is what I was told. The Omahas created the Grass dance and gave it to the Sioux. I was told this is the same dance that the single bustle dancers dance. The Poncas brought the same dance with them when the came down to Oklahoma. This has become southern straight. This dance that the Omahas/Poncas gave away has been called the grass dance up north and I think Hethuska in the south. As for the modern grass dance we all see today I do not know if it is a collaboration of the Omaha dance and ceremony already in place among the northern tribes like the Cree or the dance on to its own. All I know is that was a long time ago and those people who started those dances are all gone.
                        Last edited by Tsi-tse Wa-tsi; 02-25-2002, 01:03 PM.
                        Tha-ke'-tha-pi Wa-kon-ta

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                        • #13
                          ive heard a story from a friend of mine that is totally different from anything said here
                          unfortunately, its not one that can be written
                          its one of "those" stories
                          all real men have both bustles

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The grass dance come from the thunder beings who gave it to the Omaha who in turn gave/sold it to the Lakota people.

                            The Hidatsa bought it from them .A few years ago they still sung songs that the Lakota forgot.Only you had to really know what they were singing,since their language is different from the Lakota.Good songs which tell the story of the people!I heard them sung by a man who was 1/2 hidatsa.

                            There is a story that say that when the last "Omaha society "leader died,he said that the if someone had a dream about changing the rituals of the dance,he could do it.Well the guy who said he had one and tried to change it ,was struck dead by a lightning!!!!
                            They offered tobacco to the thunder beings and since then ....

                            As for the Grass dance as it is done now,i heard 20 years ago in Fort Peck that the dancer was mimicking the buffalo bug,the cricket[who told the people were the buffalo were in the old days]
                            Anybody else heard that?
                            Hate is for FOOLS!And fools like m&ms come in all colors

                            I am ready to tell you my secret now,I see dumb people,.I see them everywhere.They dont know they're dumb,they only see what they want to see.That weird feeling which make the hair on your neck stand up....thats them!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hidatsa Grassin'

                              I sooo used to believe that we Hidatsa created what is now, Grassdancing, but you know, aaalll tribes had their dances, just because Grass is now one of 3 major categories "left" today, that doesn't mean that's all there was back in the day.

                              Now even tho nativemom has nailed the most common story down pat, and that I've heard all these stories and more (not posted here) I must say that the Hidatsa have most certainly kept Grassin alive and made that bridge into the 'common pow-wows' Thanks to the late great Mr. Dean P. Fox, the Baker boys of Rocky Boy/Fort Berthold and a very very few others.

                              So I think because of that we can lay claim to the Today's Grassdancing ways, but not that of the traditional grass per the various if not all tribes.
                              ...jus put on Mandareeeee....

                              Comment

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