As an officially recognized American Indian tribe, our people are dedicated to preserving the language, culture, traditions, and heritage of our ancestors and our relations who were forcefully removed to the west and to the north as far as Oklahoma.
As with other Indian Nations, Shawnee ritual was
expressed most publicly in their dances. The Shawnee ritual year opened
with the Spring Bread Dance and closed with the Fall Bread Dance. Some
Shawnee groups had a Green Corn Dance, but it was not the beginning of the
ritual year as in other northeastern or southeastern woodland groups. It was
rather related to the first ripening of the corn in early summer. In
keeping with its basic subsistence pattern of hunting and gathering, the
Shawnee moons were related to this aspect of their annual cycle rather than to
planting, weeding and harvesting of the maize crop.
Erminie-Wheeler Voegelin with a cover letter letter to Frank Speck, signed by Carl
and Erminie Voegelin. 572.97 Sp3 in the Frank G. Speck Papers, APS III. Northeast,
E. Miscellaneous Tribes, 2. Shawnee, c. Shawnee Dances (Freeman Guide,
3649). CFV undoubtedly did the eliciting of the terms and EWV the
ethnological descriptions. The cover letter is dated July 15, 1934 at 332
Kickapoo St., Shawnee, Oklahoma.
as well are dances listed by Lewis Henry Morgon during his fieldwork in
the Shawnee in 1859-60. His source was Blue Jacket. The Shawnee Prophet, in Shawnee Traditions by Trowbridge (1824) lists
some dances as well. In the discussion of Shawnee
ritual, James H. Howard's contributions to Shawnee Ceremonies, in Shawnee!, will
be fully utilized.
Prophet: Tuhkoakaawaa "is a dance
performed by women. It is danced for amusement only. This peculiarity and
the custom of the women to join the man in singing are its only
characteristics. The dancers form a line, fronting the man who sings, and they
join him in singing a kind of prelude, which continues some minutes, when they
commence, the man singing alone, and dance around in a circular manner."
Erminie-Wheeler Voegelin "Season for
all dances closes with this, a night dance of amusement following the same
evening of the Bread Dance and being the last such until the next spring. A
night dance follows immediately after dark on the same day that the Bread Dance
is danced; this closes the season for night dances of amusement. No
dances given after that until the Spring Bread Dance."
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