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Field Columbian Museum 
Publication 75 
Anthropological Series 

Vol. IV 





George A. Dorsey 

Curator, Department of Anthropology 


APR 2 5 1949 

l'.;iv£r:.iy c. i— :..-. 

Chicago, U. S. A. 

June, 1903 



George A. Dorsey 



Introductory note ---.... 

I. Bibliography --...... 

II. The vow -----... 

Story of a woman's vow ---... 

Story of Thihduchhjlwkan's vow - - . . . g 

Thihduchhdwkan's prayer ----- 9 

Minor vows of dancing and fasting - - • - g 

III. Interval between the vow and the ceremony - - - 10 

IV. The sacred Wheel - - - - - . . 12 

Description of the Wheel ...... 12 

Symbolism of the Wheel ------ 13 

The Four-Old-Men - - - - - - - 13 

Wrapping the Wheel - - - - - - 15 

Miraculous movements of the Wheel - - - - 20 

V. Time of the ceremony ...... 22 

VI. Assemblage and formation of the camp-circle - - - - 22 

VII. Participants in the ceremony ..... 24 

Participants in the ceremony, 1902 - - - - - 28 

Alphabetical list of participants . - - . - 30 

Warrior societies ....... 32 

The priesthood --..... 33 

VIII. Characterization of the eight ceremonial days - - - - 33 

IX. The Sun Dance ceremony ...... 35 

First day, 1901 and 1902. 35 

Hocheni's prayer before Star society *- - - • • 36 

The announcement - - -. - - - 36 

The Rabbit-tipi ------- 37 

^ Rabbit-tipi taboos ...... 37 

Wood for the ceremonial fire - - - - - 38 

The Wheel taken to the Rabbit-tipi . - - - 38 

The knife, rawhide, and badger taken to the Rabbit-tipi - 38 

Hdwkan's prayer in the Rabbit-tipi ... 39 

The fireplace ....... 39 

The sage floor ....... 39 

The fire, and the war story - - - - - 39 

The Badger-pack ...... ^o 

The buffalo skull -.-.... 40 

Entrance into the lodge of the Lodge-Maker and wife - 41 

The feast and the offering of food - - - - 41 

The offering of smoke ...... 41 

The offering of incense ...... 42 

The drum and rattle ...... 42 

vi Contents. 


The use of the pipe-stem - - - . - - 43 

The use of spittle ...... ^^ 

Rabbit-tipi songs and the rehearsal - - - - 43 

Second day, igoi; second and third days, 1902 ... ^^ 

The Sweat-lodge ....... ^^ 

Omitted in igoi ...... ^^ 

The Sweat-lodge, 1902 ----.. 44 

The ground marked out ..... 45 

The erection of the Sweat-lodge - - - - - 46 

The Wheel carried into the Sweat-lodge ... 47 

" Incense burned - - - . - - - 47 

Ceremonial smoking ...... 48 

The ceremonial bath --.-.- 48 

Symbolism of the Sweat-lodge ..... 4^ 

The Lodge-Maker solicits aid ..... 50 

The cedar tree, 1902 ...... 51 

Rites within the Rabbit-tipi ...... 52 

The lariat for the center-pole - . • . - 52 

Filling the straight-pipe ------ 53 

The ceremonial digging-stick - - - - - 54 

The ceremonial digging-stick, 1902 - - - - 55 

Thiyeh's prayer to Hocheni .... 55 

HAwkan's prayer to digging-stick - - - - 56 

The ceremonial scalp ---... 58 

The ceremonial knife --..-- 59 

The buffalo skull decorated ..... 5^ 

The buffalo skull decorated, 1902 - - -^ - - 60 

The Lodge-Maker's robe ..... 62 

Symbolism of the Lodge-Maker's robe - - - - 65 

The sacred Wheel placed on its support - - - 68 

Capture of a buffalo - - • - . - - 68 

Capture of a buffalo, 1902 ..... 69 

Painting of the buffalo hide - - - - - 70 

Eagle feathers given to Young-Bull - . - - 72 

Watdngaa's prayer to Young-Bull - -" - - 72 

The belt and headdress repainted .... 73 

Hilwkan's prayer - - - - - - 74 

Symbolism of the belt and headdress ... 75 

The rawhide drum and night rehearsal - - - - 76 

Rites outside the Rabbit-tipi ..... 77 

Timbers for the lodge ...... 77 

Locating the center-pole ..... 77 

The Offerings-lodge located - - - - - 78 

Hdwkan's prayer ...... 79 

Third day, 1901 ........ 80 

The center-pole captured --.... 80 

The center-pole captured, 1902 - - - - - 81 

Nishchdnakati's prayer ..... 82 

The center-pole taken to the camp-circle - - - 84 

Contents. vii 


Building the Offerings-lodge ..... 85 

Final rites in the Rabbit-tipi .-..-- 85 

The "packed " bird ...... 86 

The digging-stick prepared - - - - - 86 

Healing ceremony with the Wheel, igo2 - - - 87 

The privilege of painting the center-pole - - - 87 

The Lodge-Maker painted, igoi .... 89 

The Lodge-Maker and associates painted, 1902 - - - 8g 

Hdwkan's prayer - - - .^ - - - 90 

Hdwkan's prayer ...... qi 

The Rabbit-tipi abandoned . . . . . g2 

The Rabbit-tipi abandoned, 1902 - - - - - 93 

The lodge-poles painted ...... 93 

The lodge-poles painted, 1902 - - - - - 94 

The Offerings-lodge completed - ... - 96 

The Offerings-lodge completed, 1902 - - - - 97 

The Offerings-lodge dedicated ..... 97 

The Offerings-lodge dedicated, 1902 - - - - 98 

The beginning of the dance ..... q8 

Hdwkan's prayer ...... qq 

The beginning of the dance, 1902 .... 100 

The rawhide incensed ...... 100 

The offering of the Lodge-Maker's wife - - - lOl 

Dancing to the Four-Old-Men ..... 102 

The rawhide incensed ...--- 103 

Fourth day, 1901; fifth day, 1902 - ..... 103 

The Sunrise dance ...... 103 

Assembling material for the altar ..... 104 

Preparing the sods ...--. 104 

The sods brought to the Offerings-lodge, 1902 - - - 105 

Hdwkan's prayer .--..- 106 

Timbers for the altar ...---- 108 

The erection of the altar -.-.-- 109 

The " ditch " made - - - - - - - 109 

The "ditch" painted -.-.-- 109 

The skull repainted - - • - - - no 

The sods painted - - - - • - no 

The seven trees - - - - - • - no 

The seven upright sticks - - • - ni 

The Wheel and pipe placed in position - - - ni 

The seven curved sticks - - - - - ni 

The altar, 1902 - - - - • - - - n2 

The symbolism of the Offerings-lodge - - - - n2 

Man-Above - - - - - - - - n2 

The Four-Old-Men - - - - - n3 

Nih'a"9a'' and the elk skull ..... 113 

The Thunderbird nest ... - - 114 

Young-Bull - - - - - - - - U4 

Story of result in neglecting Young-Bull - - - US 

viii Contents. 


The abiding-place of Man-Above - - -^ - ii8 

The sky and earth - - - - - - ng 

The tipi --.-.... 120 

The seven trees - ...... |2i 

The Wheel -----..- 122 

The Badger-Woman ------ 122 

Opened-Brains' knife - - - - - - 123 

The color symbolism of the original Offerings-lodge - 124 

The distribution of presents ..... 125 

HAwkan's prayer ...... 125 

The distribution of presents, 1902 .... 125 

Expense of making the Ofiferings-lodge - - 127 

The feast and the sacrifice of food - ♦ - - - 127 

Ceremonial smoking ...... 128 

Ceremonial smoking, 1902 -.---. 129 

The dancers painted - - - - - - 130 

The dancers painted, 1902 ..... 1^2 

The dance - - - ' - - - - 133 

The dance, 1902 - - - - - - - 134 

Fifth day, 1 901; sixth day, 1902 ..... ly^ 

The Sunrise dance ....... 1^5 

Preparation of the sage wreaths and bandoleers - - 135 

Hanikenakuwu's prayer ..... 136 

Intrusive ceremonies ...... ijg 

Inauguration of new chiefs ... . . . 137 

Name-changing ceremony, 1902 - - - - 137 

The Lodge-Maker's prayer - . . . . 137 

Medicine night - - - - - - - 137 

Sixth day, 1901; seventh day, 1902 ..... i^S 

The morning dance ...... ijg 

The morning dance, 1902 ...... ijg 

The feast and sacrifice of food - . . - . 13Q 

The dancers painted -....-- 140 

The dancers painted, 1902 ..... 1^1 

Ceremony with the Wheel ...... 142 

Preparation of the sweet-water - . . - . 143 

Preparation of the sweet-water, 1902 .... 146 

HAwkan's prayer ...... 147 

Htlwkan's prayer ...... 148 

The Sunset dance - - - - - - - 150 

Bathing and purification of the dancers - - - ' , '5^ 

Breaking of the fast - - - - - - 153 

Seventh day, 1901; eighth day, 1902 ..... 153 

Early rites in the lodge ...... 153 

The Sunrise dance ....... 154 

Smoking the straight-pipe ..... 155 

The morning rites, 1902 ...... 156 

The sacrifice of children's clothing .... 156 

Prayer before the sacrifice - - - - • ^57 

Contents. ix 


End of the ceremony, 1902 - - - - - 157 

Ultimate fate of the Offerings-lodge - - - - '57 

Rites in the Dog-soldiers' lodge - - - - - 158 

X. The painting of the dancers - - - - - -158 

The Mother-Earth paint ---.-. 15^ 

The Lodge-Maker's paint ...... 160 

The Pink-Calf paint ...... 162 

The Pink paint - - - - - - - • 163 

The Yellow-Earth paint -----. 164 

The Yellow paint (first) ...... igj 

The Yellow paint (second) ..... igj 

Paints worn in the Offerings-lodge, 1902 .... igg 

The Lodge-Maker's paint ...... 167 

The Yellow-Earth paint ...... 167 

The Yellow paint (second) ..... 157 

The Yellowhammer paint ...... i6q 

The Circular or Thunder paint - - - - . 170 

Origin of the Circular or Thunder paint - - - - 171 

General observations on the paints .... 172 

XL The relation of the Transferrer to the Lodge-Maker's wife - - 172 

XIL Offerings-lodge songs -----.. 178 

XIIL Torture ......... lyg 

Piercing the ears ..--..- 179 

' Piercing the ears, Arapaho story of - - - - - 180 

Sacrifice of human flesh - - - - - - 182 

The sacrifice of a woman's finger, story of - - - - 184 

XIV. Children's games during the Sun Dance ceremony - - 187 

Game of buffalo meat ------- 188 

Game of choosing grandfathers ..... 189 

Games while bathing - - - - - - - 191 

XV. Sun Dance myths ....... 191 

Origin myth ........ 191 

Little Star ..-..--- 212 



I. The Sacred Wheel 

II. Cheyenne tipis ...... 

III. Ghost-dance tipis ----.. 

IV. WatAngaa's tipi ...... 

V. Rabbit-tipi ...... 

VI. Laying out the Sweat-lodge - . - - . 

VII. Erecting the Sweat-lodge .... 

VIII. Completing the Sweat-lodge - - - . . 

IX. Relation of the Sweat-lodge to the Rabbit-tipi - 

X. Lodge-Makers starting to solicit assistance 

XI. Lodge-Makers returning from soliciting assistance 

XII. Cedar tree for the Rabbit-tipi .... 

XIII. Thiyeh preparing the rawhide lariat 

XIV. Staking out the buffalo ..... 
XV. Ceremonial capture of the buffalo 

XVI. Bringing lodge-poles into the camp-circle - 

XVII. Ghost-dance costumes ..... 

XVIII. The march to the capture of the center-pole 

XIX. Praying before cutting the center-pole - 

XX. Touching the center-pole with the pipe-stem before it is cut 

XXI. Cutting down the center-pole - . . . 

XXII. The center-pole trimmed to its proper length 

XXIII. Transferring the center-pole across the river - 

XXIV. Warrior societies, ready for the sham battle 

XXV. After the sham battle - ... - 

XXVI. The Thunderbird society after the sham battle 

XXVII. Unloading the center-pole . . . . 

XXVIII. Erecting the Offerings-lodge . . .' . 

XXIX. Erecting the Offerings-lodge .... 

XXX. The wife of the Lodge-Maker .... 

XXXI. Warrior societies awaiting the Rabbit-tipi priests 

XXXII. Rabbit-tipi priests leaving the Rabbit-tipi - 

XXXIII. Rite before painting the reach-poles - 

XXXIV. Painting the reach-pole - - - - - 
XXXV. Painting the center-pole . . - . - 

XXXVI. The fork of the center-pole ..... 

XXXVII. The upper half of the center-pole ... 

XXXVIII. Completion of the Offerings-lodge .... 

XXXIX. Temporary altar ...... 

XL. Preliminary rites before cutting the sods - - - 

XLI. Cutting the sods - - - - - - 

XLII. Taking the sods from the ground . - - - 







XLIII. Transfer of the sods to the Offerings-lodge 

XLIV. Transfer of the sods to the Offerings-lodge 

XLV. Transfer of the sods to the Offerings-lodge 

XLVI. Removing the sods from the blanket 

XLVII. Rite before trimming the sods - - - - 

XLVIII. Trimming the sods ...... 

XLIX. The refuse earth removed from the Offerings-lodge - 

L. Preparing the billets for the ceremonial bed 

LI. Dividing the rabbit bushes - . . . 

LI I. Rite before insertion of rabbit bushes 

LIII. Inserting the rabbit bushes in the sods - 

LIV. Erecting the trees for the altar ... 

LV. Erecting the trees for the altar - - - - 

LVI. Erecting the trees for the altar . . . . 

LVII. Placing the upright sticks in position - 

LVIII. Placing the upright sticks in position 

LIX. Placing the upright sticks in position 

LX. The camp-circle and the Offerings-lodge - 

LXI. The altar 

LXII. Details of the altar .--... 

LXIII. Feast for the grandfathers . . . . 

,LXIV. Sacrifice of food ...... 

LXV. Painting the dancers - - - - 

LXVI. Painting the dancers ------ 

LXVII. The dancers bathing . - - . . 

LXVIII. Dancers receiving the poultice . - . . 

LXIX. Incensing the rawhide - - - . . 

LXX. Incensing the rawhide . . - . . 

LXXI. Incensing the rawhide - - . . - 

LXXII. Sage bands for the dancers ----- 

LXXIII. Sage bands for the dancers . . . . 

LXXIV. Intrusive ceremonies ------ 

LXXV. Initiation of new chiefs ----- 

LXXVI. Inauguration of new chiefs ----- 

LXXVII. Name-changing ceremony - - - . 

LXXVIII. Scene outside Offerings-lodge . - . - 

LXXIX. The feast - - - - 

LXXX. The making of sage wreaths at the beginning of the dance 

LXXXI. The dancers resting 

LXXXII. Arapaho children -..--. 

LXXXIII. A Dog-soldier 

LXXXIV. Priests, after painting the dancers - - - - 

LXXXV. Priests, after painting the dancers 

LXXXVI. The line of dancers ------ 

LXXXVII. The line of dancers - - - - - 

LXXXVIII. The line of dancers 

LXXXIX. The line of dancers 

XC. Dancing with the Wheel - - - - - 

XCI. Dancers bathing ------ 












I _ 












XCII. Dancers resting, after being painted 

XCIII. Incidents of the dance .... 

XCIV. Incidents of the dance - . . . 

XCV. Incidents of the dance ... 

XCVI. Incidents of the dance . . . . 

XCVII. Ceremony with the Wheel 

XCV 1 1 1. Dancing with the Wheel . - . . 

XCIX. Priests on their way to preparing the sweet-water 

C. Sunset dance ---.-. 

CI. Badger-pack unwrapped - - . - 

CII. Smoking the straight-pipe . . . . 

cm. The ceremonial Wheel returned 

CIV. Sacrifice of clothing - - • - 

CV. The altar after the sacrifice - 

CVI. The center-pole after the sacrifices - 

CVII. The altar after the sacrifice 

CVIII. The Offerings-lodge, after the ceremony - 

CIX. Dog-soldier rites ----- 

ex. Lodge-Maker's paint - - . - . 

CXI. Lodge-Maker's paint, 1901 

CXII. Dancers, igoi ----- 

CXI 1 1. Henienit, wearing Pink-Calf paint 

CXIV. Dancers, 1901 ..---- 

CXV. The Pink-Calf paint and the Pink paint 

CXVI. Dancers, 1901 ----- 

CXVII. Yellow-Earth paint and Yellow paint (first) 

CXVIII. Yellow paint (second) . - . 

CXIX. Lodge-Makers, 1902 .... 

CXX. Lodge-Maker's paint, 1902 ... 

CXXI. Dancers, 1902 - . . . . 

CXXII. Dancers, 1902 . - - - - 

CXXIII. Dancers, 1902 . . . - . 

CXXIV. Dancers, 1902 - ... - 

CXXV. Dancer, 1902 . . . . . 

CXXVI. Dancers 

CXXV 1 1. Dancers 

CXXV 1 1 1. Dancer, 1902 

CXXIX. Mixed paints, 1902 - . . . 

CXXX. Yellowhammer paint - - - - 

CXXXI. Second Yellowhammer paint ... 

CXXXII. Yellowhammer paint - - - - 

CXXXIII. Yellowhammer paint . . . - 

CXXX IV. Dancer, 1902 

CXXXV. Dancer, 1902 - - - - - 

CXXXVI. Dancer, 1902 - - - - - 

CXXXVII. Circular or Thunder paint ... 



Of all the ceremonies of the Plains Indians that of the so-called 
"Sun Dance" is probably the most famous, but the least understood. 
On account of the large number of tribes which performed the Sun 
Dance, the wide distribution of these tribes, and the popularity of the 
Sun Dance itself, it has probably been witnessed by more people than 
has any other ceremony of the Indians of the United States. The 
amount of misconception which prevails concerning the ceremony, 
however, is very great, and there ex'isted for many years, especially 
on the part of the United States Indian Office and its agents, a feeling 
of hostility toward the Sun Dance. The character of this hostility, as 
well as the ignorance of the true meaning of the ceremony, may be 
seen from the following citations, taken almost at random from the 
Agents' letters printed in the Annual Reports of the Commissioner of 
Indian Affairs: 

"The traditional 'sun dance,' with its attendant tortures, in which 
the cruel ordeal through which the candidate who aspires to be a 
'brave' must pass, is still practiced among the Indians." Jacob 
Kauffman, Agent Fort Berthold, Annual Report, 1880, p. 33. 

"No 'sun dance' (the most barbarous of all Indian dances) was 
held or attempted this year." W. Parkhurst, Agent Lower Brule, 
Annual Report, 1882, p. 32. 

"Dancing is diminishing, and the heathenish annual ceremony, 
termed 'the sun dance,' will, I trust, from the way it is losing ground, 
be soon a thing of the past." V. T. McGillicuddy, Agent Pine Ridge, 
Annual Report, 1882, p. 39. 

"The barbarous festival known as the 'sun dance' has lost 
ground." James G. Wright, Agent Rosebud, Annual Report, 1883, 

P- 43- 

"They have also made great progress in abandoning many of their 
old customs, noticeably that of the sun dance, which for the first time 
in the history of the Ogalala Sioux and Northern Cheyennes was not 
held. The abandonment of such a barbarous, demoralizing ceremony, 
antagonistic to civilization and progress " V. T. McGilli- 
cuddy, Agent Pine Ridge, Annual Report, 1884, p. 37. 

"The aboriginal and barbarous festival of the sun dance " 

James G. Wright, Agent Rosebud, Annual Report, 1886, p. 32. 

Notwithstanding the importance as well as the popular nature of 

3 Introductory Note. 

the Sun Dance as a spectacle, it has received but scant attention at 
the hands of ethnologists, and apart from Catlin's interesting account 
of the ceremony among the Mandans, Bushotter's brief statement of 
the Sioux Sun Dance, quoted by Dorsey, and Miss Fletcher's brief 
notice of the ceremony of the Oglala Sioux, there is very little infor- 
mation in print on the subject. 

As to the number of tribes which performed this ceremony in 
former times, I have not been able to learn. It is known, however, 
that the ceremony was held by nearly all the Plains tribes of the Siouan 
stock, excepting the Winnebago and the Osage. Among tribes of the 
Algonquian stock it seems to have been confined to the Blackfeet, 
Cheyenne, and Arapaho. It has also long been one of the most impor- 
tant ceremonies of the Kiowa, and was formerly given by the Pawnee. 
It is also performed by the Shoshoni of the Wind River Reservation 
of Wyoming, and the Utes of Utah. So far as I am able to learn, the 
ceremony has never been given by any of the tribes of the Caddoan 
stock, except the Pawnee. 

From this general statement as to the tribes which performed the 
dance, it will be readily seen that it is essentially a ceremony of the 
Plains Indians. This accounts for the fact that the ceremony is not 
performed by the Osage or by the Winnebago, who, properly speaking, 
are not Plains Indians. The majority of the tribes ceased the per- 
formance of the Sun Dance ceremony between 1885 and 1890, although 
a few of the more conservative tribes still retain the ceremony when 
its performance is not prohibited by force. 

For reasons which may be seen in later pages of this paper, the 
Sun Dance is given up only with the greatest reluctance by a tribe. 
Of course several tribes have progressed to such an extent that they 
no longer believe in the religion of their ancestors, and with such, the 
Sun Dance died a natural death. With the more conservative tribes, 
however, such as the Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Ponca, it 
seems that the Sun Dance, unless prohibited by force, will survive for 
several years. That the time is soon coming, however, when the cere- 
mony will be no longer given by any tribe, there is no doubt. 

It is owing largely to the liberal spirit of Major Stouch, United 
States Indian Agent at Darlington, that the Cheyenne and Arapaho 
were permitted to perform the ceremony in 1901. I had been informed 
by letter that the Cheyenne ceremony was to be performed in June, 
and visited Oklahoma for the purpose of witnessing it. Upon my 
arrival at the agency, however, I found it had been postponed. I 
again visited the reservation in August, when the ceremony was per- 
formed. I learned at that time that an Arapaho by the name of 

Introductory Note. 3 

Thihduchhawkan (Straight-Crazy) had "pledged" the ceremony for 
his tribe, and asked that I be notified of the date as soon as the time 
of the ceremony should be determined. This information was sent to 
me at the request of an Arapaho Sun Dance priest, and I again visited 
the reservation in December, arriving on the fifth, and remaining until 
the conclusion of the ceremony. 

Immediately after the ceremony I returned to Chicago, taking 
with me, Ilawkan (Crazy), director of the ceremony, and Cleaver 
Warden, interpreter. With Hawkan I spent two weeks, going over 
the details of the ceremony, inquiring especially into the symbolism. 
From him I learned also the sequence of events which transpired on 
the two days previous to my arrival at the camp. 

Learning that the ceremony was to be performed also in 1902, I 
went to Oklahoma, arriving at the camping ground on the morning 
following the announcement, and remained at the scene of the dance 
until the evening of the last day. I was thus enabled to observe the 
performances on two days not witnessed by me in 1901. During these 
two days, and in fact, throughout the entire ceremony of 1902, I made 
extended notes, and obtained much information, supplementary to my 
observations of the preceding year. 

The narrative of the ceremony contained in the following pages is 
based on the performance of 1901. Many observations, and additional 
information gathered during the subsequent year, however, have been 

The performance of the ceremony for the two years was, as might 
be expected from the fact that the more important personages of the 
ceremony were the same, in every essential respect, similar. The 
performance of 1902, however, was much more spirited than that of 
the previous year. This was probably due to three reasons: In the 
first place, two or three days of extreme cold weather during the per- 
formance of 1901, owing to the lateness of the season, had a tendency 
to cause the priests to hurry in their operations, especially as the hours 
of daylight were few. In the second place, there was considerable 
uneasiness in 1901 on the part of the Indians, lest the performance 'be 
interfered with by the agent. This fear, of course, was entirely 
groundless, but it had its effect in hastening the ceremony. In the 
third place, the number of participants in the performance of 1902 was 
considerable larger than that of the preceding year, and this of course 
added much to the enthusiasm of the occasion. In fact, the Arapaho 
themselves declared that they did not remember having had a Sun 
Dance which was entered into with so much enthusiasm and happiness 
by the whole tribe as the one held in 1902. Indeed the spirit shown 

4 Introductory Note. 

on the part of all during this occasion was of the very best, and it is 
impossible to conceive of a tribe of Indians offering an eight-day cere- 
mony with less friction and with a greater amount of religious fervor 
and happiness than was manifested throughout the ceremony of this 

During the visit at the camp, on both years, every consideration 
was shown me by those conducting the ceremony, and I was permitted 
to witness the secret as well as the public rites, without interference. 

It is with much pleasure that I make acknowledgement of my 
sincere thanks to Hawkan, H6cheni (Old-Crow), Watangaa (Black- 
Coyote), and other priests, as well as to the active participants in the 
dance and to the entire Arapaho nation, for their unfailing courtesy 
in connection with the ceremonies, and for the spirit of friendliness 
and hospitality which was shown me during my two visits at the camp. 
It is a pleasure also to record my indebtedness to Cleaver Warden, 
who performed the office of interpreter in a most conscientious and 
satisfactory manner. I am glad to have this opportunity to make 
public acknowledgement also of indebtedness to the Chicago, Rock 
Island and Pacific Railroad, for courtesies extended me on this and 
other visits to the tribes of western Oklahoma. 

George A. Dorsey. 
June, 1903. 

I.— Bibliography. 

Fletcher, Alice C. The Sun Dance of the Ogellalla Sioux. Proc. 
A. A. A. S., Vol. 31, 1882, pp. 580-4. Character; time of; consecrating tent; 
vows; interval; center-pole; piercing of ears; altar, dance; scarification. 

Pond, Gideon H. Dakota Sun Dance. Minn. Hist. Coll., Vol. II., pp. 234-8. 
Vow; lodge; torture; time; songs; torture (quoting from a letter of Major 
• General Curtis). 

Lynd, James W. Minn. Hist. Coll., Vol. II., pp. 166-7. Dancing; self-sacrifice. 

Dorsey, J. Owen. A Study of the Siouan Cults. Report Bureau of Eth- 
nology, Vol. II. The Sun Dance, pp. 450-467. Object; rules of households; 
tribes invited; discipline; camping circle; mystery tree; tent of preparation; 
raising sun pole; lodge; uncita decoration and offerings of candidates; dance 
proper; end of dance; intrusive dances. 

BouRKE, John G. Quoted by Dorsey in above, pp. 464-6. 

Catlin, George. Okeepa: A Religious Ceremony; and Other Customs 
OF THE Mandans. Philadelphia, 1867. An interesting and early account of 
the Mandan Sun Dance, illustrated with several colored plates. 

II.— The Vow. 

The ceremony of the Sun Dance is performed in compliance with 
a vow, generally made during winter, but which may be made, how- 
ever, at other seasons of the year. The vow is in the nature of a 
pledge, that the speaker will make provision for the erection of the 
lodge and for the proper performance of the ceremony if the Man- 
Above will grant him his wish in regard to some particular matter. 

The occasion for such vows evidently differed among the tribes 
giving the Sun Dance. Among the reasons given by Hdwkan, a priest 
in the Arapaho ceremony, were the following: sickness in case of self 
or of any member of the family, lunacy, dreams, etc. These causes 
for the taking of the pledge have been the predominating ones in com- 
paratively recent times, but often in former times an individual would 
pledge the Sun Dance for safety when sorely pressed on the war-path. 
Again an individual might behold in a vision or series of visions, the 
Offerings-lodge, and these visions would continue till he or she felt 
compelled to vow to make the lodge. 


To illustrate the way in which a vow may be made, the following 
story was related by Hdwkan : An Arapaho and his wife went out to 


6 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

get berries, when they were attacked by a band of Utes. The woman 
was captured; the man made his escape. This woman was very hand- 
some and had a brother who had always been very fond of her, and 
even after her marriage he constantly thought of her. The party of 
Utes soon returned to their home taking with them their captive. The 
Ute who actually made the capture had a wife at home, but in spite of 
this fact took the captive Arapaho woman as a second wife. Time 
passed on and she learned the language and customs of the Utes and 
finally became very much attached to the mother of the Ute's first 

The first wife naturally was jealous of the Arapaho woman, and 
abused her constantly, and would even order her out of the tipi, at 
times. On account of the great beauty of the Arapaho woman, how- 
ever, and the love which she bore the mother of the Ute's first wife, 
she was retained in the tipi with her husband and, as a rule, when 
both wives were present there was constant quarreling, which gener- 
ally ended by the husband asking the Arapaho woman to go to the tipi 
of the mother of the first wife. This happened many times. The 
old Ute woman took pity on the Arapaho woman, and said to her: 
"Now, my girl, since you often go out with your husband to help him 
with the horses you know the gentle horses and those which can run 
fast, and you know the country. You are a woman of strong will, and 
1 am going to tell you how to get away from here. " 

The Arapaho woman thought over these words many times, and 
began to think very often of her old home. One day the old Ute 
woman said to her: "I shall help you to gather food, saddle, bridle, 
robe, etc., and have them in a place where nobody will find them. 
You go over to your husband's lodge and make yourself agreeable." 
The Arapaho woman did as she was told, while the old Ute mother 
made the necessary preparations for the journey. 

Finally the time came and the old woman got up a feast. She 
cooked the food for the journey and told her daughter to tell her 
husband to invite his men friends for a feast, so that they might 
smoke the pipe and tell stories. The Arapaho woman helped in the 
preparations. The husband, through a crier, at the appointed time, 
invited the warriors of the neighboring lodges to come to his tipi. 
After they had arrived and were seated, the husband told his second 
wife, the Arapaho woman, to go to the lodge of the mother of his first 
wife, where the food had been prepared. 

Now the Arapaho woman had that day been with her husband to 
water the ponies, and she knew, therefore, where they were to be 
found. She went to the lodge of the old woman, and at her command 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 7 

quickly ate as much as she could, while the old woman was carrying 
the food into the lodge of the husband. Then the old woman said: 
"Now, my girl, while my daughter and I are serving the food to the 
guests, you take this food, this bridle, blanket, robe, etc., go straight 
to the herd, catch the fastest pony and set out for your home." 

The Arapaho woman regretfully left the old Ute woman, who had 
been very kind to her, went to the herd, selected the fastest horse, 
bridled it, and making ready, started off in the direction she believed 
was her home. She traveled all that night and the next day and night. 

Of course her disappearance was soon noted, and the first wife 
informed her husband of the disappearance of the Arapaho woman. 
Search was made for her that night, but only in the lodges of the 
camp, for it was not suspected that she had escaped on horseback. 
In the morning it was known that this had been her method of e'scape, 
and they began to search for her. That day they found her trail, but 
were not able to overtake her. 

In the mean time the Arapaho woman had hastened onward, but 
in her excitement she ran into a white pioneer with a team and wagon. 
The man was alone. He neither knew her trouble nor the cause of 
her flight, but took pity on her and took care of her. Then they 
turned loose the Ute horse so that if the Utes overtook them they 
could not be recognized by the horse. The Arapaho woman then took 
a place inside the wagon. In the mean time the Utes kept up the 
search, but the pioneer and his companion plodded along toward the 
country where it was believed the Arapaho were encamped. 

While still in the midst of great peril of being overtaken, so great 
was her desire to regain her relations and friends, the Arapaho woman 
made a vow, saying that since she was in great danger, her brother, 
who was at home and dearly loved her, would erect the Offerings- 
lodge, if she reached home in safety. 

The two continued on in the wagon and finally reached the 
Arapaho camp. There she soon after married the white man, the 
union being suggested by her brother, who thought that she should 
thus show her great gratitude to the poor white man for having saved 
her. This white man was Henry North, who died in 1879, ^^^ ^ho 
left a son and two daughters. The performance of the ceremony was 
undertaken by the woman's brother, who was glad to respect her vow. 

That the Offerings-lodge vow is ever made during a storm on 
account of imminent danger from lightning, according to my inform- 
ant, never occurs among the Arapaho, although such a vow is not 
uncommon among other tribes. The vow is generally made to Man- 
Above, Sun, Moon, and Thunderbird. When an individual has made 

8 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

a vow it is said that "hathahiithassehawu" (he selects of the Offer- 
ings-lodge), the ceremony itself being known as "hassehawu" (of the 


The occasion for the actual Sun Dance under consideration in the 
following pages was a vow made by a man named Thihauchhawkan, a 
man of about forty years of age, and, as related to me by one of his 
friends, was as follows: In the autumn of 1900, for reasons which I 
was not able to learn, the mind of Thihduchhawkan became unsettled, 
and he attempted to commit suicide. On being asked why he wished 
to commit suicide he gave no reason; nor has it ever been known by 
the tribe why he desired to take this step, inasmuch as his married 
life and his relations with the tribe were believed to be pleasant. 

After his mind had returned to a more normal condition, he 
informed his friends that some evil spirit, the exact nature of which 
he did not know, whether man or animal, was troubling him, from 
time to time, when he would wander away from home. When Thihiuch- 
hdwkan finally became conscious of his lamentable condition, he made 
a vow that he would "select the Offerings-lodge." The time of this 
vow was during a reunion of a small band of Arapaho at Red Hills, 
in October. First, he only spoke of his desire to make the vow, but 
did not wish to assume such an important step without due consider- 
ation. It should also be noted that some time previous to this meet- 
ing at Red Hills, Thihduchhawkan had made a secret prayer, and 
Man-Above had told him that if he made the lodge he would be well. 
At this time he also saw, in a vision, the lodge itself. He also at that 
time prayed openly: "All chiefs, head men, people of the Arapaho 
nation — I pray you have mercy on me, that hereafter I shall prosper, 
that my tipi will last, that my wife, children, and friends will live long, 
that I will have plenty of food, clothes, and friends." 

The news of this open appeal to the Arapaho people naturally had 
the etfect of placing them in sympathy with him, and many offered 
secret prayers that he might recover. The consequence was that at 
the Red Hills reunion they were prepared for his statement that he 
had finally made up his mind as to his duty, and that he had made a 
pledge to perform the ceremony. 

It appears that at times, the mind of Thihduchhdwkan was much 
affected, while at other times he had no mental suffering, but so often 
were these recurring periods of mental depression that he had finally 
realized that he could not get out of his trouble without pledging the 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 9 

Sun Dance; and this idea naturally was strengthened by the words 
which he had received in answer to his prayer, and by the fact that in 
a vision he had seen the lodge. 

The vow itself was made to Chebbenlathan (Man-Above). To him 
Thihduchhdwkan addressed himself: 

thihAuchhAwkan's prayer. 

"For the general good of my tribe, that the people may increase, 
that there may be no more sickness, I vow to have performed for me 
the ceremony of the Offerings-lodge. I hope that you, Man-Above, 
will meet my desires and wishes for my race and for my own benefit, 
for my tipi, my wife and children. I pray that whatever I may under- 
take to do hereafter I may accomplish it to my best interest!" 

On the conclusion of this vow or prayer by Thihauchhdwkan, 
before the people in the lodge, all said, "Thanks!" and soon after, 
it was known throughout the tribe that this man had pledged the cere- 
mony, each individual, as he received the news, also saying, "Thanks!" 

Shortly after this, Thihauchhdwkan again became temporarily 
insane, and even denied, when asked, that he had made the vow. He 
was in the habit of wandering off from home, and traveling about from 
place to place, without blanket and in a naked, unkempt condition, 
neglecting his family. This condition of affairs continued until July, 
when his mind became clearer and he again did something for his 
family. He now again acknowledged that he had pledged the 


It is obvious that after it has become known in the tribe that the 
ceremony has been pledged by some individual, a similar vow will not 
be taken by any other member of the tribe. The feeling for the neces- 
sity of making a vow, however, may still prevail, and may result in 
the pledge to participate in the forthcoming performance by fasting 
and dancing. Thus, the individual making the secondary vow may 
be sick, or his wife may be sick, or one of his children, or he may have 
seen himself, in a vision, dancing in the lodge. Having made the 
vow, he usually informs some old friend, or if there be a doctor 
present, he may inform him that he will fast. These minor pledges 
are made, naturally, usually after some one has pledged to erect the 
Offerings-lodge; otherwise he will pledge himself to "wrap the wheel," 
to give a feast to some old family in destitute circumstances, or in 
some other way to do penance. This phase of the ceremony gives 

lo Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

opportunity for many who are not able to provide for the performance 
of the ceremony, or who do not have a reason sufficiently weighty to 
cause them to pledge the ceremony itself, of fulfilling a vow by taking a 
minor part in the ceremony. The occasions when vows of this nature 
are made do not differ materially from those already enumerated for 
the taking of the vow to give the ceremony itself. In the ceremony 
under consideration, ten men fasted and danced in accordance with 
the prescribed forms, and so far as I have been able to learn, all sub- 
mitted to the ordeal in fulfillment of a vow made during sickness, 
either of the individual or of some member of his family. 

It may be noted, finally, in connection with the ceremony itself, 
that it may not be considered a healing ceremony; nor is sickness 
believed to be cured by the performance of the ceremony as is the 
case with the more extended Navaho ceremonies. The healing of the 
sick, therefore, does not enter into the consideration of the mind of 
the individual making the vow, and so far as I am able to learn, even 
though the vow has been made in the direct form of a promise to per- 
form the ceremony if the afflicted regains health, the performance of 
the ceremony is carried on just the same, even though the individual 
should not recccer. I have been informed, however, that on two or 
three occasions the individual had died after the pledge; no other 
person making a pledge for the year, the ceremony was not performed. 

I II.— Interval Between the Vow and the 

Hdwkan was emphatic in his statement that there were no special 
rules of conduct governing the movements of the one making the 
vow, who for convenience may hereafter be called the Lodge-Maker, 
of the Sun Dance ceremony, during the interval between the vow itself 
and the actual performance. It is possible, of course, that formerly 
rules were observed at this time similar to those among the Sioux, as 
described by Bushotter. Hdwkan maintained, however, that after the 
vow has been taken, it is usual for the Lodge-Maker to continue his 
life as before, living with his wife and attending to his routine duties; 
nor does he hesitate to engage in any kind of work or to enjoy him- 
self with his people. Should he desire, he invites the head men of his 
own society, at which time he asks the co-operation ot the members 
to feel in accordance with him, and during the meeting approaches 
them one by one, placing his hand on the head, weeps, and endeavors 
to obtain their sympathy and support. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. ii 

As the time draws near, the head men of the different societies 
invite their organizations to meet at some locality, where a feast has 
been prepared, and the men are asked to prepare their clothing and 
get their ponies in good condition. The head men also tell the young 
men to behave themselves during the interval, warning them particu- 
larly not to violate any of the Agency regulations. 

Shortly after Thihduchhdwkan's return to reason, in July, as has 
already been noted, he began asking the people to aid him in his 
efforts toward preparation for the coming ceremony, and especially 
he went to his friends for advice as to how the permission of the Agent 
should be secured, and for advice concerning the direction of the cere- 
mony itself. He was finally advised by some of his friends that it 
would be better for him to leave the Arapaho country for a short time, 
that the change would do him good, and that in the mean time prepa- 
rations for the ceremony would be undertaken by them. Thihduch- 
hdwkan consequently left Oklahoma and made a visit to the Ute, 
returning in October. 

As a result of his stay among the Ute, he brought home with him 
a pony and a few things presented to him by friends in that tribe. 
His mental condition had greatly improved. He now made a feast 
and formally invited the Arapaho and the Cheyenne (for the two tribes 
are intimately affiliated), at which time he stated that he was anxious 
to set the time for the erection of the lodge. There was nothing now 
to interfere with the ceremony taking place at this time; treaty pay- 
ment, however, was soon to be made, at which time the entire Arapaho 
tribe would visit the Agency, and as the reservation covers a large 
area, it was decided to postpone the ceremony until immediately after 
the treaty payment, which would thus obviate the necessity of two 

The head men of the Star and Thunderbird societies now went to 
Hdwkan, who as will be shown later on, has officiated in many Sun 
Dances, and asked him to pity the Lodge-Maker and to see to it that 
there was no unnecessary delay. They then went to Bech^aye 
(Hairy-Face, wife of Old-Sun, owner of the straight pipe); to Yahiise 
(Hiding-Woman), or Charlie Campbell, who was in charge of the 
Wheel; to H6cheni (Old-Crow), one of two sole surviving members of 
the Chinachine society; and to Chedthea (Broken-Down-Woman), the 
Peace-Keeper and of all these they asked assistance. Thihduchhawkan 
now searched the plains for the skull of a buffalo, while one of his 
friends undertook to secure a buffalo hide. The Lodge-Maker also 
visited a number of the camps of the Arapaho, taking with him a pipe, 
which he smoked with the chiefs of each camp, and asking their 

12 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

co-operation. Couriers of the Star society also went from place to 
place announcing the ceremony, and asking the co-operation of all. 
The Lodge-Maker on several occasions went to the lodges of Hdwkan, 
Hdcheni, and other leading priests, and smoked with them. 

On about the fifteenth of November, a meeting was -held in the 
lodge of Red-Wolf, one of the head men of the Star society, at which 
time the Lodge-Maker was present, together with Hawkan, Bech^aye, 
Watangaa (Black-Coyote), and other chiefs. A feast had been pro- 
vided by Red-Wolf for Thihduchhdwkan and the assembled guests. 
Concerning the carrying on of the ceremony, the chiefs conferred 
together, and addressed the head men of the Star society, telling them 
their duties in the matter, and that they should do everything to assist 
their brother, the Lodge-Maker. The reason for this, of course, was 
the fact that Thihduchhawakan was a member of the Star society. 
Hdwkan then related stories of former ceremonies; told them that he 
felt sympathy for the Star society and its bereaved brother, that he 
would do everything in his power to assist. Then, turning to one of 
the head men of the Star society, he told him to visit the Keeper of 
the Wheel, see that it was in good condition, and see if the Keeper 
of the Wheel still had in his possession the belt. He told other mem- 
bers of the Star society, assembled by him, to look after other pieces 
of paraphernalia which would be required in the ceremony. This 
concluded the work of the evening, and the gathering broke up, with 
all in a happy frame of mind. 

IV.— The Sacred Wheel. 

This object, next to the great tribal medicine, the flat pipe, in the 
keeping of the Northern Arapaho, is the most sacred possession in the 
tribe. Inasmuch as it plays an important part in the Sun Dance cere- 
mony and as it is used in other ceremonies as well, a detailed descrip- 
tion of it may not be out of place at this point: 


The object (hehotti) is about eighteen inches in diameter (see 
Plate I.). It is made of a rectangular piece of wood, one end of which 
tapers like the tail of a serpent, the other being rudely fashioned to 
represent a serpent's head. Near the head of the serpent are several 
wrappings of blue beads, which have replaced small red berries which 
formerly occupied this place. At four opposite sides of the Wheel are 
incised designs, two of them being in the form of crosses, the other 

Pl. I, The Wheel. 

The view represents the Wheel in its usual position in the Rabbit-tipi, rest- 
ing upon a bunch of sage in a forked upright stick. Just behind the Wheel is 
Wcitanah; to the left, Hdwkan. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 13 

two resembling the conventionalized Thunderbird. These designs 
are similar to those found on gaming wheels, used by the Arapaho and 
other Plains tribes. Attached by means of short buckskin thongs are 
also four complete sets of the tail feathers of an eagle. The spacing 
of these feathers is not now uniform, but according to Hdwkan, they 
should have been grouped in equal numbers near the four incised mark- 
ings on the Wheel. As an eagle tail has twelve feathers, there would thus 
be, in all, forty-eight feathers on the Wheel. At times, however, the 
Wheel does not possess such a large number of eagle tail feathers, but 
a single tail is divided into four, and there are thus three feathers for 
each marking. It may be noticed in Plate XCVII., where the Wheel 
is being used by the Lodge-Maker of the ceremony, that the feathers 
seem to be confined to the lower side of the Wheel. This is due to 
the fact that they have settled down, owing to the shaking of the 
Wheel in the hands of the Lodge-Maker. The feathers on the Wheel 
at the present time number twenty-four, there being, thus, two eagle 
tails represented with six feathers to each marking. The inside of the 
Wheel is painted red, while the outer periphery is stained black. 


Concerning the symbolism of the Wheel a considerable amount of 
information was obtained, which, however, may not be regarded as 
complete, or as entirely satisfactory. According to Hawkan and one 
or two other authorities, the disc itself represents the sun, while the 
actual band of wood represents a tiny water-snake, called "henigS," 
and which is said to be found in rivers, in lakes, near ponds, and in 
buffalo-wallows. Later in the ceremony, this lake or pool of sweet 
water is represented, while near by on a forked stick, is the owner of 
the pool, a little bird. Then it is that Young-Bull drinks of the water. 

This serpent is said to be the most harmless of all snakes. The 
Wheel thus, representing this snake, has a derived meaning, and 
represents the water which surrounds the earth. The additional idea 
was also put forth that while the Wheel represents a harmless snake, 
all snakes are powerful to charm, and hence the Wheel is a sign of 
gentleness and meekness. The blue beads around the neck of the 
snake represent the sky or the heavens, which are clean and without 
blemish ; the color blue among the Arapaho is also typical of friendship. 


The four inside markings (hltanni) on the Wheel represent the 
Four-Old-Men who are frequently addressed during the ceremony, and 

14 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV, 

who stand watching and guarding the inhabitants of this world. The 
Four-Old-Men may also be called the gods of the four world quarters, 
and to them the Sun Dance priest often makes supplication that they 
may live to a great age. The Four-Old-Men are also spoken of as the 
Thunderbird, having power to watch the inhabitants, and in their 
keeping is the direction of the winds of the earth. They therefore 
represent the living element of all people. If the wind blows from the 
north, it is said to come from the Old-Man-of-the-North, who controls 
the wind of that end or quarter of the world. Another priest states 
more definitely that the Four-Old-Men are Summer, Winter, Day, and 
Night, who though they travel in single file, yet are considered as 
occupying the four cardinal points. Thus, according to direction and 
the Arapaho color scheme. Day and Summer are the Southeast and 
Southwest, respectively, and are black in color, while Winter and Night 
are the Northwest and Northeast, respectively, and are red in "color. 
Inasmuch as Sun is regarded as the grandfather of the Four-Old-Men, 
it is more than likely that the Wheel may be regarded as the emblem 
of the Sun. The Four-Old-Men, are considered as ever-present, ever- 
watching sentinels, always alert to guard the people from harm and 
injury. The same word, hitanni, is also applied to certain markings 
used in the Old-Woman's lodge, the meaning of which is given vari- 
ously as the four elements of life, the four courses, the four divides. 
Thus it is said that when one traveling the trail of life' gets over the 
fourth divide he has reached the winter of old age. The Morning 
Star is the messenger of the Four-Old-Men, as are also the young men 
during ceremonies. 

The four clusters of feathers also represent the Four-Old-Men. 
The feathers collectively represent the Thunderbird, which gives rain, 
ana they therefore represent a prayer for rain, consequently for 

Concerning the symbolism of the red and black painting of the 
Wheel it will suffice here to say that the red is typical of the Arapaho, 
while the black symbolizes the earth. As these two colors enter 
prominently into the symbolism of the altar and of the lodge itself, 
they will be considered at greater length in other places. 

The Wheel, as a whole, then, may be said to be symbolic of the 
Creation of the world, for it represents the sun, earth, the sky, the 
water, and the wind. In the great Sun Dance dramatization the Wheel 
itself is represented in the person of the grandfather of the Lodge- 
Maker, or the "Transferrer" as he is called. 

Ordinarily, the Wheel, enveloped in many wrappings of calico, 
buckskin, etc., is suspended upon a pole or tripod at the back of the 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 15 

lodge of the owner or Keeper, who at the present time is Yahiise. It 
is his duty to preserve the Wheel inviolably sacred, protecting it from 
all harm and violence. The Wheel under certain circumstances may 
be unwrapped from time to time by the Keeper. This is usually done 
at the instance of some individual who has made a vow, that if the 
Man-Above will grant him his desire in some particular respect, he 
will "wrap the Wheel." These vows made to this Wheel differ in no 
essential respect from those made for fasting in the Sun Dance cere- 
mony. Many prefer to make the vow, however, to the Wheel, as the 
Wheel may be wrapped at any time of the year, and as it involves no 
personal suffering on the part of the one making the vow. 

At the time of the ceremony of wrapping the Wheel the large 
bundle is brought inside the tipi, where after appropriate performances 
and songs, the bundle is opened, exposing the Wheel, when prayers 
and supplications are addressed to it. Before the Wheel is wrapped, 
a new envelope must be provided, which is placed next to the Wheel. 
This new wrapper must be furnished by the one making the vow, 
hence the term, "wrap the Wheel." In keeping of the Keeper of the 
sacred bundle containing the Wheel, but having no intrinsic relation 
with the Wheel itself, is a belt, already mentioned, and which was to 
be required during the Sun Dance ceremony. This belt, though held 
in high veneration, is not as sacred as the Wheel, and hence may be 
mislaid or destroyed. Hence the suggestion made by Hdwkan to one 
of the men of the Star society, as related in the, previous section, to 
inquire into this matter and see if the belt was in proper condition. 
Opportunity was afforded for this inquiry on the night following the 
night just described, when the Wheel was unwrapped by an Arapaho 
named Pawnee, whose wife had been sick, at which time he had 
pledged himself to wrap the Wheel. This ceremony was performed 
on this night in the lodge of Pawnee, whq had furnished the cloth for 
the wrapping of the Wheel and the food for the feast accompanying 
the ceremony. It was then found that the belt was gone, and one of 
the head men of the Star society was detailed to provide another. 


During the 1902 performance, opportunity, not heretofore offered, 
was given for observing the method of "wrapping the Wheel," a 
description of which may not be out of place at this point. This 
ceremony was performed no less than four times after the erection of 
the Rabbit-tipi. 

On the evening previous, the Wheel, along with other sacred para- 

i6 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

phernalia, had been carried into the Rabbit-tipi where the Wheel had 
been unwrapped, and suspended upon a forked stick which stood just 
back of the buffalo skull, on the west side of the tipi. The occasions 
for wrapping the Wheel this day, differed in each instance, two per- 
forming the ceremony in accordance with a vow made in connection 
with a sick child; another as a supplication that he might wear the 
Lodge-Maker's paint during the ceremony; while the fourth occasion 
was on account of a family trouble. 

As a description of a single wrapping'will suffice, we will take this 
fourth instance, when the ceremony was performed in behalf of 
Watdngaa and his wife. The daughter of this famous Messiah leader 
of the Arapaho had been married for over a year to a son of the 
equally famous Hocheni, of the Arapaho. Trouble had grown up 
between the two families on account of the separation of the young 
couple, and Watdngaa and his wife wished to have removed from them 
whatever discredit might attach to them for their share in the dispute 
between the two families. Having given notice to Hawkan, therefore, 
that he wished to perform the ceremony, he was seen, at about ten 
o'clock in the morning, to proceed to the Rabbit-tipi from his own 
tipi, being followed across the camp-circle by a number of women, 
friends of his wife, bearing vessels of food. Watdngaa and his wife 
entered the lodge, having first removed their moccasins, and took a 
seat next to the door on the north side. Food was then passed in by 
the women outside, the first vessel being placed on the ground at the 
southwest of the fireplace, the second in a northwest position, the third 
in the northeast, the fourth in the southeast, and the fifth in the east 
position. Additional vessels of food were grouped indiscriminately 
about these five. There were already assembled in the lodge, Hdwkan, 
Hocheni, and other Sun Dance priests, together with the Lodge-Maker 
and others who were to play an important part during the ceremony. 

On entering, Watdngaa had a pipe and a piece of calico, about a 
yard in length, loosely tied at one corner to a small stick, which was 
placed by Debithe (Cut-Nose), just south of the skull, and by the side 
of the other wrappings of the Wheel. Immediately on entering, 
Watdngaa handed the pipe, which he had previously filled in his own 
tipi, to Debithe, who placed it in a vacant space just in front of the 
buffalo skull and to the west of the fireplace. The pipe was so placed 
that the bowl projected upwards, while the stem pointed to the sout^i. 
The wife of Watdngaa now handed a bowl of meat from the southeast 
corner of the fireplace to Chanitoe (Striking-Back), who took up the 
bowl of meat and placed it in front of Debithe. 

Debithe touched the forefinger of his right hand to the ground, 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsev. 17 

and then to the tip of his tongue. He then bit off a small portion of 
root, upon which he chewed for a few moments. Then, holding the 
palms of his two hands together in front of him, he spat five times, 
first at the base of the thumb of his right hand, then at the base of the 
thumb uf his left hand, then in the upper and outer corner of his right 
and of his left hand, and at the junction of the base of the two little 
fingers. This action of ejecting spittle into the hands, which is to be 
mentioned many times during the following pages of this paper, is said 
to be in imitation of the movements of a skiink while charging a bear. 
He then rubbed the palms of his hands together, drew them down 
each side of his head and body and over his body. He then spat 
toward the food bowl four times. He then took up a piece of meat, 
first motioning toward the bowl five times, which he cut into five 

Watdngaa now arose from his position and received the pieces 
from the hands of Debithe, and standing in the southeast corner of 
the lodge, he lifted one piece aloof with his right hand and then 
deposited it on the ground at his feet. This was repeated at the 
bouthwest, northwest, and northeast corners of the lodge, and then, 
passing on arOund the fireplace, in a sunwise circuit, he stepped in 
front of the buffalo skull and Wheel and. rubbed the remaining pieCe 
between the palms of his hands, which he now passed up over the 
skull, toward the Wheel, four times, and then deposited the offering 
under the jaw of the skull. He then resumed his position by the door. 

Bech^aye divided the food into as many portions as there were 
persons present, and passed it to them. In doing this, she was care- 
ful to follow the sun circle, beginning with the individual next the 
door on the south and terminating with the individual seated just back 
of the Wheel. As it was not allowable to pass food in front of the 
skull, and as it would have been inconvenient to have passed food 
behind the skull to those sitting on the north side of the tipi, she passed 
food for the remainder, across the door, first, however, giving the 
vessel a circular motion from right to left, thus imitating the sun 
circle. The remainder of the feast, together with the empty vessels, 
was now passed to the attendants awaiting on the outside of the lodge. 

Debithe now took up the pipe, which had been brought in by 
Watangaa, and gave it to Nishchanakati (White-Eye-Antelope). The 
latter, holding the pipe in his left hand, touched the tip of the first 
finger of his right hand to the ground and then to his mouth ; then, 
with the thumb and first finger of this hand, he sacrificed a pinch of 
the tobacco upon the ground in front of him. He now held the pipe 
in both hands, so that the bowl was uppermost, and pointed the stem 

i8 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

of the pipe toward the southeast, the southwest, the northwest, and 
the northeast; then, reversing the pipe so that the stem was upper- 
most, he pointed the stem above, and then to the ground. 

Watingaa now arose, went over and knelt in front of Nishchdna- 
kati. With his right hand he made four passes toward the right hand 
of Nishchanakati, who held the pipe in front, the tip of the stem rest- 
ing on the ground. With the fifth motion, Watdngaa placed his hand 
over Nishchdnakati's hand. His left hand he placed on Nishchdna- 
kati's head. In this position, the latter slowly motioned the pipe 
toward Watdngaa four times, whereupon, Watdngaa slowly withdrew 
the pipe from Nishchdnakati's hand. Watdngaa lighted the pipe with 
a coal by the side of the fireplace, and returned the pipe to Nishchdna- 
kati, who gave one puff to each of the southeast, southwest, north- 
west, and northeast points, to the above and to the below, and then 
passed the pipe to the man on his right, who in turn passed it without 
smoking, to the man next to the door, on the south side. This man 
now puffed on the pipe several times, whereupon it traveled entirely 
around the circuit, until it reached Watdngaa, who was sitting on the 
north side of the door, whereupon it was passed back unsmoked, to 
the man on the south side of the door, when it again made the circuit 
to the north entrance, being smoked by each individual. This per- 
formance was repeated in all four times, whereupon the pipe was 
passed* back, unsmoked, to Nishchdnakati, who holding it in his left 
hand, made four passes with the tamper toward the bowl, then tamped 
inside the southeast corner of the bowl, then, without further empty- 
ing, he tamped on the southwest, then northwest, and then northeast 
corners, and then in the middle. The loosened ashes were then 
removed, whereupon he again tamped the pipe, but without making 
the passes as before. The pipe was tamped and emptied twice again 
— four times in all. Then he held the pipe in his left hand, with the 
point of the stem resting upon the ashes, and with his right hand he 
rubbed down the pipe from the bowl to the ashes. This operation was 
repeated three additional times, the pipe being transferred from one 
hand to the other each time. The pipe was now held horizontally in 
front of him, with bowl <)ut in front, and was rubbed as before four 
times, twice with each hand. Then he stood the pipe in front of him 
with the stem upon the ashes, whereupon it was received by Watdngaa, 
who finished cleaning the pipe. 

Watdngaa now arose from his position as before, and sat down 
just to the south of the skull and the wheel, facing the east. Debithe 
left his position in the circle, and stepping behind Watdngaa, lifted the 
Wheel, together with the bunch of sage upon which the Wheel rested, 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 19 

and which protected it from the fork of its support, and holding it in 
his right hand, he slowly passed it up the right side of Watdngaa's 
body, beginning with his right foot, and ending with his head, when 
he held it out in front of him at arms' length and gave it an outward, 
jerking motion, as though he were endeavoring to cast off something 
from the feathers of the Wheel. He then passed the Wheel behind 
him to his left hand and went through the same performance, drawing 
the feather appendages of the Wheel up the left side of Watdngaa's 
body, and again cleansing the feathers. The same operation was 
again repeated for the right side, and again for the left, passing the 
Wheel behind his body as before, in transferring it from his right to 
his left hand. The Wheel was then transferred from the left to the 
right hand, passing it behind him, and was placed under the arm of 
Watdngaa, who gathered the feathers up under his arm and pressed 
them to his body. Debithe then passed the Wheel behind him to his 
left hand and placed it under Watdngaa's left arm. This operation 
was also repeated again under the right arm, and then under the left. 
Debithe then passed the Wheel back to his right hand, and holding it 
aloft, made a circular sunwise motion over Watdngaa's head four 
times, and then placed the Wheel down over the latter's head, the 
feathers hanging down over his breast. Watdngaa then clasped the 
Wheel with both arms and prayed for several minutes. Debithe then 
removed the Wheel from his head, held it to Watdngaa's mouth, who 
placed his lips upon the beaded part four times. Watdngaa now 
returned to his original position at the north of the door, passing, as 
he did so, behind all those on the north side of the circle. 

Watdngaa's wife then took up a position similar to that occupied 
recently by her husband at the south of the Wheel, when Debithe 
performed the same movements over her. It is to be noted, however, 
that in making the two passes over each side of her body, the move- 
ment began at the head and terminated at the feet, instead of begin- 
ning at the feet and terminating at the head, as in the case of Watdngaa 

Pipes were smoked on the north and south of the lodge, the pipe 
on the south side starting at the east, and the pipe on the north side 
of the lodge starting at the west, each pipe, while being smoked, 
traveling in a sunwise circuit. The pipes made the circuit four times. 
This ended the purification ceremony of Watdngaa and his wife. 

A man by the name of Nishnat^yana (Two-Babies), grandfather 
of the Lodge-Maker of the present year, now entered the lodge with 
his wife, Thiyeh (Shave-Head), bearing in his arms a sick child and 
carrying in his hand a filled pipe and a piece of calico, similar to the 

20 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

one brought in by Watdngaa, attached to a slender stick; women 
friends also brought food. Stepping in front of Hdwkan and facing 
west, he lifted his right hand upward and prayed, whereupon he passed 
the pipe and calico to Hawkan. The pipe was placed in front of the 
skull in the same position occupied by the pipe of Watdngaa, while the 
calico was placed just at the south of the bundle of wrappings of 
the Wheel. 

After the usual offering of food, the partaking of the feast, and 
the smoking of the pipe, the lighting of which at this time was done 
by H6cheni, Nishnat^yana, holding his child in his arms, sat south of 
the skull and the movements of the Wheel were made over him, now, 
however, by Hawkan. His place was then taken by his wife, and 
similar movements were made over her. 

Hawkan then untied the two pieces of calico from the two sticks 
and held them together at arms' length in his two hands. The Wheel 
had in the mean time been placed in position upon its support. 
Watangaa and his wife and Nishnat^yana, with his wife and child, 
now formed in line behind the Wheel and the calicoes were passed in 
front of them by Hdwkan, each grasping with his or her right hand 
the upper edge of the calicoes. They then in unison held the calicoes 
over the Wheel, and each uttered a prayer in a low voice. They now 
placed the calicoes upon and around the Wheel — hence the expression, 
''wrapping the Wheel, " 


In connection with the veneration of the Arapaho for this Wheel 
the following two short tales, obtained from Watanah (Black-Horse), 
will prove interesting: 

"At one time a man had by right (of inheritance) this Sun Dance 
Wheel. He was taken sick and died. The people were still on the 
hunt when this man died. When the camp broke up to change its 
location, the people tied this big Wheel to a tipi pole and staked it in 
the ground over the grave. 

"A party of young men happened to pass by the grave; they saw 
the pole still standing, but the Wheel was gone. They went to the 
pole, and below it, on the ground, were bunches of blue beads and four 
bunches of eagle feathers, all lying in the shape of the Wheel. The 
stick representing the snake was gone. This stick had crawled out of 
its attachments of feathers and beads and left them on the ground in 
their proper positions, the same as you would see the scales left on the 
ground by a snake. This stick does not represent a poisonous reptile. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 21 

but it stands for those little snakes which are found by the edge of 
the water in ponds. The circumference stick stands for the sun ; the 
eagle feathers are those of the Thunderbird ; the blue beads stand for 
the sky or heaven; and the marks on four places typify the Four-Old- 
Men, being wind; they are the sentinels over the people and animals. 

"At another time, a man who had the Wheel by right, died. 
When he was buried, the Wheel was hung over his grave one day. 
After the people had gone away from it and were moving their camp, 
this Wheel was seen flying by the people, and it lighted in front of 
them. Il changed to an eagle. This occurrence made them think 
more of the Wheel than ever, and they reverenced it." 

The following brief statement concerning the Wheel among the 
northern Arapaho is also not without interest. 

It is said that the Wheel escaped from the people by flight. After 
it was gone for some time an Offerings-lodge was pledged for, but it 
could not be carried out, so the people, old and young, congregated 
to see if it could be made like the original. There was nobody that 
could tell how it was made, until finally a young boy moved before the 
crowd and directed the making of it. 

About seven years ago, one of Weasel-Bear's daughters went out 
of the tipi during a wind storm to brace a pole bearing the Wheel 
against the back of the tipi. As she was lifting the pole the wind 
came and took the pole and Wheel down to the ground, breaking it 
slightly across the center. So Weasel-Bear, before another Sun Dance 
was pledged for, invited all the old men and <51d women to gather 
together to renew it. The Wheel being an important factor, the people 
gathered, provided the necessary food and brought various kinds of 
young standing bushes. 

For a day or two, the men could not bend the stick of wood into 
a perfect circle. Most of the sticks would break, but men kept on 
trying to shape the bow for the Wheel, Finally, a young man brought 
in a long stick of a kind of wood which had a dark red, slippery back, 
and grows very tall, standing near the river banks. The Indians cut 
the bushes and made breastpins, and stake-pins for the tipi, and bent 
it into a perfect circle. The men who were present expressed their 
gratitude to the young man for his luck and therefore asked more food 
to be brought in for him. 

While this man was making or carving the symbolic features of 
the Four-Old-Men, a little spider, descending, lighted on one of the 
markings (monuments of the old men), but the man kept himself busy 
at the work, at the same time offering a prayer of thanksgiving to the 

23 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

v.— Time of the Ceremony. 

So far as I have been able to learn, there is no set time for the 
Sun Dance ceremony among the Arapaho. Hdwlcan, my, chief inform- 
ant, was emphatic in his statement that the actual time was determined 
largely by convenience, and not by the condition of the moon, or by 
the condition of vegetation. The usual time is in the spring, but not 
until after the grass and sage have reached their full growth. The 
ceremony may, however, be performed in the fall, or as late even as 
jearly December, as was the case in the ceremony here described. 
Apart from the considerations of convenience, the actual time of the 
formation of the camp-circle is determined, usually, by the head men 
of the company, or warrior society to which the Lodge-Maker belongs. 
This general statement in the time agrees in the main with the state- 
ment of Dorsey and Miss Fletcher. 

During the ceremony of 1902, certain interesting events were 
noted which seemed to be more or less directly concerned with the 
moon. Further inquiry was then made as to the proper time of the 
beginning of the ceremony and the information was volunteered by 
one of the priests that "the proper time of the beginning of the cere- 
mony was from seven to ten days after new moon and hence an equal 
number of days after the menstrual period. The Rabbit-tipi priests 
set this time, for the menses are unclean and a source of bodily injury 
to the people, and the Sun Dance-lodge and the Rabbit-tipi must be 
kept clean from all impurities." 

VI. — Assemblage and Formation of the 

As the time agreed upon for the formation of the circle draws 
nigh, couriers are sent, as has been noted, to the various bands, and 
the tribe begins to arrive at a certain spot which has already been 
agreed upon by the* head men of the Star society, i. e., the society of 
the Lodge-Maker. These head men have not only selected the loca- 
tion of the camping circle, but have roughly staked out the circle, so 
that the bands, as they enter the plain, proceed to the erection of their 
lodges without delay. As each band arrives at the site of the circle 
they are met by those already on the spot, with singing and rejoicing, 
and the new arrivals before settling down, go around the circle, on the 
inside first, and then on the outside, each time in a dextral or sunwise 

PL. II. Cheyenne Tipis. 

These tipis show typical Cheyenne ornamentation. The tip! on the left is of 
additional interest on account of the door, embroidered in parallel colored bands 
with porcupine quills. 

PL. III. Ghost Dance Tipis. 

Fig. I. Tipi of Mixed-Hair ; the symbolism comprises the turtle, horse, 
buffalo, morning star, lightning, and cedar trees. 

Fig. 2. Tipi of His^haseh, son-in-law of Watdngaa. 

.3! >lT 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 23 

circuit. The reason of this is to announce their presence to their 
friends, who may have already arrived, and receive their greeting. 

The site chosen by the Arapaho for the ceremony of 1901 was a 
comparatively level, low-lying plain just north of the North Fork of 
the Canadian River, about six miles northeast of the town of Geary. 
Between the site of the camping circle and the river was a beautiful 
grove of Cottonwood and willow, while the neighboring hills furnished 
an abundant pasturage for the horses. 

After the great circle, three-quarters of a mile in diameter, has 
been partially occupied it made a very pleasing sight, to which incom- 
ing bands make their passage inside and outside the circle, being 
greeted by shouts of joy and welcome by their friends all along the 
line. The first band to put in an appearance was that from Red Hills, 
near by, who reached the plain on November twenty-ninth. By noon 
of December third the circle was complete. Just outside the circle 
were the tipis of a large number of Cheyenne, and other tipis, less in 
number of course, of the other tribes which had been invited to the 
ceremony. Formerly, these visitors were an important feature in the 
Sun Dance; for it was the custom of the different tribes to visit each 
other in large numbers at this time, when they were always made 
welcome, and when many exchanges of friendship were made. Owing 
to the long intimacy of the Cheyenne and Arapaho, it is always the 
custom for those of one tribe to attend the ceremony of the other. 
Furthermore, each tribe invites the other tribe as a whole, and vice 
versa (see Plate II.). Members of other tribes, however, are usually 
present only on the special invitation of individuals of the tribe. Other 
tribes represented at the time of the present ceremony were the Sioux 
and Ponca. A certain amount of color was noticeable, owing to the 
presence of several decorated ghost-dance tipis (see Plate III.). 

The statement has been made that as the bands come together on 
the plain they pitch their tipis in the form of a circle. This is the 
traditional camping circle, a venerable institution of nearly all the 
tribes of the Plains. On the east side of the circle is an opening about 
one hundred yards in width, where no tipi is ever permitted to stand. 
The arrangement of these circles among a number of the Plains tribes 
is usually in accordance with gens. Mr. Moon6y has represented such 
circles for the Kiowa and for the Cheyenne.* That of the Cheyenne, 
for instance, consists of nine distinct gens, while that of the Kiowa 
numbers four gens. I was not able to learn, however, of any similar 
divisions among the Arapaho, although we should naturally expect 
such tribal divisions. The basis of the grouping in the circle appar- 

*Fourth Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, 1892-1893, p. 26. 

24 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

ently was that by bands, the name of each one being usually an issue 
station or sub-agency, or some other similar term ; but that there was 
any connection between these bands from the different localities of 
the reservation and a genetic system, could not be learned. 

On the night of the completion of this circle, Watangaa placed at 
the disposition of the Star society his tipi, one of the largest of the 
camp-circle, and invited the Dog-soldiers to meet there at a feast (see 
Plate IV.). The reason for this invitation of the Dog-soldiers, as will 
be seen later on, was largely due to the fact that to this society falls 
much of the detailed work in the erection of the lodge. The approach- 
ing performance was discussed that evening, and the head men of the 
Star society, after considering the matter themselves, finally decided 
to ask Hocheni and the other head men to begin the actual ceremony. 
The evening was made a time of good fellowship and rejoicing and the 
utmost good feeling prevailed between the members of the two societies. 

VII.— Participants in the Ceremony. 

Before beginning the discussion of the erection of the lodge and 
of the attendant rites, it is necessary to consider in some detail the 
more prominent characters who are to play such an important part on 
the following days. At the first it may be stated, as has already been 
intimated, that the ceremony, although it is the direct outgrowth of 
the vow of a single individual, is an affair which concerns the entire 
tribe; consequently we may say that participating in the ceremony 
was the Arapaho nation. It falls to the lot, however, of certain indi- 
viduals to conduct the actual performance itself. These active partici- 
pants were as follows: 

Group i. 

H6cheni (Old-Crow); chief priest; personates Sun. 
Cheathea (Broken-Down- Woman) ; Peace-Keeper; personates 

Bech^aye (Hairy-Face, wife of Old-Sun); formerly Peace-Keeper. 
Hisethe (Good-Woman, wife of Hohdkaki). 

Group 2. 

Hdwkan (Crazy); director; personates Arapaho tribe. 
Waakat'ani (Spotted-Bear) ; assistant director. 
Chaiii (Lump-Forehead) ; woman director. 
Watdngaa (Black-Coyote) ; pupil. 

roer v: 

Pu IV. Watanqaa's Tipi, Loaned to the Star Society on the Night of the 
Completion of the Camp-circle. First Day, 1901. 

Fig, I. Watdngaa, a renowned Ghost dancer, standing in front of his tipi. 
Fig. 2. Watdngaa's wife, wearing an elaborately decorated Ghost dance 
dress of buckskin. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 25 

Hisenibe (Singing- Woman, wife of Watangaa) ; pupil. 
Chanitoe (Striking- Back): pupil. 
S6soni (Shoshoni-Woman, wife of Lizard); pupil. 
Waanibe (Grass-Singing, wife of Hdwkan); pupil. 

Group 3. 

Thihauchhdwkan (Straight-Crazy) ; J.odge-Maker of the Sun 

Biba (Curly-Hair, wife of Thihduchhdwkan) ; personates the Maid. 

Debithe (Cut-Nose) ; grandfather of Thihduchhdwkan ; personates 
the Sacred-Wheel. 

NIsah (Twins); grandmother of Biba; personates Mother-Earth. 

Group 4. 

Bihata (Black-Hat), or George. 

Henienit (Famous), or Arnold Walworth. 

Waatannak (Black-Bear). 

Waatu (Warrior), or Daniel Dyer. 

Chaiii (Lump-Forehead), or Daniel Webster. 

Hisehaseh (Sun-Ray), or George Hocheni. 

Hitantuh (Strikes-First), or Hardley Ridge-Bear. 

Hebethenen (Big-Nose), or Walter Finley. 

Niehhinitu (Howling-Bird), or Charley Old-Horse. 

We may now consider some of the more important of this list of 
participants, with the idea of inquiring into the cause of their presence 
and the personages they are to represent in the coming drama. 

Hocheni is the most important participant to be mentioned, and 
holds a position, in activity, second only to that of Hdwkan. He may 
be regarded as the chief priest, or perhaps, rather as referee; for to 
him are submitted all matters of doubt, and to him falls the duty of 
overseeing the general trend of the ceremony. It is his duty to offer 
prayer at times, to light the sacred pipe, and in general, to see that 
the ceremony is conducted with reverence and with proper decorum. 
Hdcheni takes his place owing to the fact that he has reached the 
seventh and highest of the Arapaho societies, Chinachinena, Water- 
Pouring-Old-Men, or the Sweat-lodge society, as it is often called. 
Heichebiaw (Tall-Bear), the only other surviving member of the society, 
should, according to precedent, have taken a place with Hocheni as 
general overseer or high priest in the ceremony; but he, on account 
of his great age, refused to take an active part. In the drama of the 
Sun Dance, Hocheni plays the part of the Sun. 

a6 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

A position similar to that of H6cheni was that held by Chedthea. 
Her title in this position is Hathabesi (Upright-One). She has held 
this office, during many previous ceremonies, and was chosen by the 
old men of the Sweat-lodge society many years ago. It is her duty, 
when called, to offer prayer, and especially to indicate that all is ready 
for the next step. Thus, she says from time to time: "You shall do 
well. Your Father will look upon you. Go ahead!" She is also 
spoken of as Peace-Keeper. Her word is said to be good at all times, 
and she never says anything unpleasant. She is also called Old- 
Woman-Night, and she is supposed to see everything that moves in 
the night, and is said to have, consequently, the ways of the Moon. 
As H6cheni sees everything in the daytime and represents the Sun, so, 
Chedthea, in the great drama, represents the Moon. 

In connection with Chedthea should be mentioned Bech^aye, the 
wife of an Arapaho now dead, who when living, was a member, like 
Hdcheni, of the Sweat-lodge society. Her husband was keeper of the* 
straight-pipe, and on his death, gave it to her, asking her to preserve 
it. Bech^aye formerly occupied the office of Chedthea. Her active 
participation in the ceremony now is of course exceedingly slight, 
being confined to the offering of prayer, from time to time. Also to 
be mentioned in this group is Hisdthe (Good-Woman), widow of a 
member of the Sweat-lodge society, and consequently present through- 
out the ceremony. 

Second only to Hdcheni in importance among the participants is 
Hdwkan. He may be regarded as the actual director of the ceremony. 
He participated in two other ceremonies, as director, once with 
Wdtanah, and the second time with Waakatani (Spotted-Bear); had he 
been sick or absent on the occasion of the ceremony, Wdtanah or 
Waakatani would have acted in his place. During the ceremony, 
Hdwkan, in all his prayers and in his general attitude toward the cere- 
mony, represents the entire Arapaho tribe, and is called Haseh^beiye 
(Praying- or Offering-Old-Man). As his assistant during the cere- 
mony, he had Waakatani, who performed numerous offices, generally 
representing Hdwkan, but at no time taking the initiative. To be 
mentioned also with Hdwkan and Waakatani are five individuals who 
performed during the ceremony in virtue of the fact that they were 
engaged in learning the actual routine of the performance, in order 
that they might fit themselves for the position of director in future 
ceremonies. These pupils were Watdngaa and his wife, Chanltoe, 
Sdsoni, and Wadnibe (Grass-Singing). 

As Hdwkan is the general director of the ceremony, guiding the 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey! 27 

movements both of his assistants and of the pupils and of the dancers 
themselves, so the ceremony requires the presence of a woman to 
direct a certain few rites where a man may not properly perform. 
This was done by a woman named Chaiii (Lump-Forehead). In previ- 
ous ceremonies, in which she fulfilled this office, she cut the so-called 
"ditch," an important element of the altar. In the ceremony under 
consideration, she directed Sosoni, His^nibe (Singing-Woman), and 
Wadnibe in this rite. The reason why this so-called "ditch" is cut 
by women, is because the woman who ascended to the Heavens and 
became the wife of Sun-Boy, dug a similar hole at the time that she 
rediscovered this earth. 

In the next group of participants is the Lodge-Maker, his wife, 
and the sponsors of these two. The reason for the presence of the 
Lodge-Maker in the ceremony is of course obvious. During the secret 
rites previous to the beginning of the dance in the great lodge, as well 
as during the days of feasting, he is accompanied by his wife Biba 
(Curly-Hair). Inasmuch as these two individuals require constant 
instruction as to particular duties which they are to perform, they, as 
well as the remaining men who are to fast during the ceremony, have 
recourse to the services of men known as "grandfathers" ("he touches 
me"). The grandfather of the Lodge-Maker of each Sun Dance is, 
in the regular course of events, the Lodge-Maker of the preceding Sun 
Dance. Inasmuch as the Lodge-Maker of the last Sun Dance, how- 
ever, was no longer alive, Thihauchhdwkan, the Lodge-Maker of the 
present Sun Dance went to Sosoni, who had taken an active part in 
several previous Sun Dances, to obtain her consent to act as grand- 
mother to his wife. Sosoni *s present husband. Lizard, had never 
taken part in the Sun Dance, consequently, Thihauchhawkan asked 
Nisah (Twins) to be grandmother. Old-Camp, now dead, as stated 
above, was Lodge-Maker in the preceding Sun Dance; but on account 
of paralysis at the time, a man by the name of Debithe had represented 
him in the ceremony; consequently, Debithe became grandfather of 
Thihduchhdwkan, while Nisah acted as grandmother of Blba. That in 
the ceremony itself, or in the great dramatization, as we must regard 
the ceremony, Debithe, as grandmother, takes the part of an important 
personage, there can be no doubt; as the representative of the preceding 
ceremony he is spoken of as "Hetuhenait" (Transferrer). Nisah, 
during the ceremony, not only assisted and acted as adviser to Blba, 
hut during one of the final performances, placed the Wheel on the 
head of Biba, and throughout the drama, played the part of Mother- 

28 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

Comprised also within this fourth group are all those who, in addi- 
tion to the Lodge-Maker, fast and dance during the ceremony. The 
names of these, with their grandfathers, have already been given in 
the list of participants, and do not require further comment. 


With a few slight changes, the priestly participants on this year 
were the same as those on the preceding year: the dancers naturally 
were not the same. H6cheni and Hdwkan played the same important 
parts as on the previous year. The Lodge-Maker this year was Niwaat 
(Good-Warrior). Owing to the fact, however, that he was both 
unmarried and deaf, it was necessary to secure a substitute Lodge- 
Maker. Wadtanakashi (Black-Lodge), volunteered for this part, and 
with his wife, Nden (Round), played an important part in the cere- 
mony. The grandfather to the two Lodge-Makers was Nishnat^yana, 
while his wife, Thiyeh, acted as adviser to the wife of the substitute 
Lodge-Maker, and in other ways assisted in the ceremony. 

The names of the dancers, with their grandfathers, are given in 
the following list: 


1. Niwaat (Good-Warrior). 

2. Waatanakashi (Black-Lodge), . . 

3. Yahiise (Hiding- Woman), or Char- 

lie Campbell. 

4. D^tenin (Short-Man). 

5. Ndka (White-Tail), or James Mon- 


6. Hathaniseh (Lone-Star), or Cecil 


7. Hin^nwatani (Black-Man), or 

Noble Prentis.. 

8. Niehhfnitu (Howling-Bird), or 

Charley Old-Horse. 

9. Wahiisa (Young-Bear). 

10. .Hin^nbai (Red-Man). 

11. BesseS (Wood). 


Nishnat^yana (Two-Babies). 
Nishnat^yana (Two-Babies). 

Nishnat^yana (Two-Babies). 
Kakatdyahiwani (Spotted- 

Kakatdyahiwani (Spotted- 

Kakatdyahiwani (Spotted- 

Kakatdyahiwani (Spotted- 

Waawiitha (Hail). 
Waawutha (Hail). 
Waawiitha (Hail). 
Waawiitha (Hail). 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 29 

12. Chaatani (Swapping-Back). Waatannihinin (Black-Man). 

13. Hochoawa (Running-Crow), or 

Dan Wheeler. Waatannihinin (Black-Man). 

14. Wahdbahu (Bear-Track). Hanakenakuwu(White-Buffalo). 

15. NehShSih. Hanakenakuwu(White-Buffalo). 

16. WatawateSh (Come-up-Hill). Hanakenaku\vu(White-Buffalo). 

17. Watangaa (Black-Coyote), or 

Ben Franklin. Hanakenakuwu(White-Buffalo). 

18. Kakiiyanake (Scabby-Bull). Nishchanakati (White-Eye-An- 


19. Heniait (Long-Hair). Hawkan (Crazy). 

20. His^haseh (Sun-Ray), or George 

Hocheni. Hawkan (Crazy). 

21. Tgpeish (Cut-Hair). Hdwkan (Crazy). 

22. Hit^huu (Little-Crane), or Dan 

Brooks, Nakwahthay (Killing-with- 


23. Hindnibe (Singing-Man). Nakwahthay (Killing-with- 


24. Hindnnitu (Howling-Man), or Jay 

Gould. Nakwahthay (Killing-with- 


25. Bikadnichu (Smoking-at-Night), 

or Francis Lee. Nakwahthay (Killing-with- 

In the following list are the names of the personal advisers of the 
dancers, who painted them under the direction of the grandfather. 
The numbers given in this list correspond to those of the dancers in 
the preceding list. 


1. Watanah (Black-Horse). 11. Nakadsh ( Sage), or Sage. 

2. Nishnat^yana (Two-Babies). 12. Debbithathat (Cut-Finger). 

3. Nakaash (Sage), or Henry 13. Hishitari (Fire). 

WddksSnna (Bear's-Lariat). 
Wdshieh (Ugly). 

Nishchdnakati (White-Eye- An- 

Chanitoe (Striking-Back). 




Nakichawaah (Rabbit-Run). 



Watanati (Ute). 



Nakubathay (White-Owl.) 



Hohdkaki (Little-Raven, Jr.) 



Kahiiye (Lizard). 


Waawutha (Hail). 



Kakiiyi (Gun). 

30 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

20. Batandwhosati (Medicine-Dis- 23. Not ascertained. 

mounting). 24. Not ascertained. 

21. Hdnibit (Long-Nose). 25. Not ascertained. 

22. Not ascertained. 


For convenience there is here given a full list of the names of all 
those mentioned in the pages of this paper, who participated in the 
ceremonies of either 1901 or 1902. 

Ahwaka (Slaughter), or Omaha. 

Baihoh (Old-Bear), or Blindy; Dog-soldier. 

Batai)awhosati (Medicine-Dismounting); assistant to Hdwkan, 

Bech^aye (Hairy-Face, wife of Old-Sun); Peace-Keeper. 

Bessee (Wood); dancer, 1902. 

Biba (Curly-Hair, wife of Thihauchhawkan) ; wife of Lodge-Maker, 

Bihata (Black-Hat), or George; dancer, 1901. 

Bikadnichu (Smoking-at-Night), or Francis Lee; dancer, 1902. 

Chadtani (Swapping-Back) ; dancer, 1902. 

Chanitoe (Striking-Back); pupil and assistant to Hawkan, 1902. 

Chaiii (Lump-Forehead), or Daniel Webster; dancer, 1902. 

Chaiii (Lump-Forehead); assistant to Hdwkan, 1901. 

Chedthea (Broken-Down-Woman); Peace-Keeper. 

Debbithathat (Cut-Finger). 

Debithe (Cut-Nose); grandfather of Thihduchhdwkan, 1901. 

D^tenin (Short-Man); dancer, 1902. 

Hddnl (Mountain). 

Hdgo (Rat). 

Hanatchawdtan! (Black-Bull) ; Dog-soldier. 

Hdnakebaah (Bull-Thunder). 

Hdndkenakuwu (White-Buffalo). 

Handkewak (Bull-Bear). 

Hdnebit (Long-Nose). 

Hanfit (Long-Hair). 

Hathdniseh (Lone-Star), or Cecil Gray; dancer, 1902. 

Hdwkan (Crazy); priest; director of the Sun Dance ceremony. 

HSbdthSn&n (Big-Nose), or Walter Dinley; dancer, 1901. 

Henidit (Long-Hair) ; dancer, 1902. 

Henignit (Famous), or Arnold Walworth; dancer, 1902. 

Heich^biwa (Tall-Bear); priest, Water- Pouring-Old-Man. 

Hin^nbai (Red-Man); dancer, 1902. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 31 

Hinenibe (Singing-Man); dancer, 1902. 

Hin^nnitu (Howling-Man), or Jay Gould; dancer, 1902. 

Hinenwatani (Black-Man), or Noble Prentis; dancer, 1902. 

Hin^nwatani (Black-Man); grandfather, 1902. 

Hisehaseh (Sun-Ray), or George Hocheni; dancer, 1901 and 1902. 

His^nibe (Singing-Woman, wife of Watangaa) ; pupil. 

His^the (Good-Woman); wife of Hokakaki, a Water-Pouring- 

Hishitari (Fire); grandfather, 1902. 

Hiss^hnihani (Yellow-Woman); wife of HanSkawaahtannl. 

Hitantuh (Strikes-First), or Hardley Ridge-Bear; dancer, 1901. 

Hitehuu (Little-Crane), or Dan Brooks; dancer, 1902. 

Hocheni (Old-Crow) ; priest; Water-Pouring-Old-Man. 

Hochoawa (Running-Crow), or Dan Wheeler; dancer, 1902. 

Hohakaki (Little-Raven, Jr.); assistant to Kakatayahiwani, 1902. 

Kahiiye (Lizard); assistant to Waawiitha, 1902. 

Kakatayahiwani (Spotted-Bean); grandfather, 1902. 

Kakiiyanake (Scabby-Bull) ; dancer, 1902. 

Kakilyi (Gun); assistant to Waawiitha, 1902. 

KSna'thekahade (Coming-on-Horseback). 

Nadseh (Walking-Around), or Grant Left Hand, 

Nden (Round); wife of the associate Lodge-Maker. 

Naka (White-Tail), or James Monroe; dancer, 1902. 

Nakadsh (Sage), or Henry Sage; assistant to Nishnateyana, 1902. 

Nakaash (Sage), or Sage; assistant to Waawdtha, 1902. 

Nakichawaah (Rabbit-Run) ; assistant to Kakatayahiwani, 1902, 

Nakiibathay (White-Owl); assistant to Kakatdyahiwani, 1902. 

Nakwathay (Killing-with Stick). 

Ndwaht(Left-Hand); chief. 

Nehe'heih (Little-Bird). 

Niehhinitu (Howling-Bird), or Charley Old-Horse; dancer, 1901 
and 1902. 

Niekdhochithinaahnie (Running-in-Circle). 

Nihdnisabad (Yellow-Horse). 

Nisah (Twins, wife of Wadii, former Lodge-Maker) ; grandmother 
of Biba, 1901. 

Nishchdnakati (White-Eye-Antelope) ; priest; Water- Pouring-Old- 

Nishikanawke (White-Antelope). 

Nishnateyana (Two-Babies) ; grandfather of Niwaat, 1902. 

Niwaat (Good-Warrior); Lodge-Maker, 1902. 

Sdsoni (Shoshone-Woman, wife of Lizard); pupil. 

32 Field Columbian Museum— Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

TS'peish (Cut-Hair); dancer, 1902. 
Thihduchhawkan (Straight-Crazy) ; Lodge-Maker, 1901. 
Thiyeh (Shave-Head, wife ot Nishnat^yana); wife of grandfather, 

Wadnibe (Grass-Singing, wife of Hawkan); pupil. 

WadsanShi (Charcoal). 

Waakat'ani (Spotted-Bear); assistant to Hawkan. 

WddksSnna (Bear's-Lariat) ; assistant to HanS,kenakuwu. 

Wadtanakashi (Black-Lodge); associate Lodge-Maker, 1902. 

Wadtannak (Black-Bear), 

Wadtannihindn (Black-Man). 

Waatu (Warrior), or Daniel Dyer; dancer, 1901. 

Waawiitha (Hail). 

Wadii (Old-Camp). 

Wahiibahu (Bear-Track) ; dancer, 1902. 

Wahiisa (Young-Bear) ; dancer, 1902. 

Wandkdyl (Row-of-Lodges). 

Wasas (Osage); relative of Niwaat. 

Wdshieh (Ugly, wife of Kakatayahiwani) ; cut center-pole. 

Wdtanah (Black-Horse); grandfather, 1902. 1 

Watdnati (Ute) ; assistant to Kakatdyahiwani, 1902. 

Watdngaa (Black-Coyote), or Ben Franklin; dancer, 1902. 

WatdwateSh (Come-up-Hill) ; dancer, 1902. 

Yahiise (Hiding- Woman), or Charley Campbell; dancer, 1901. 


Before dismissing the subject of the participants in the ceremony, 
it may not be out of place at this point to give a brief statement of the 
various warrior societies, inasmuch as these have already been and 
will be referred to from time to time. These societies are graded in 
rank and power, and are, according 1;o Mooney, seven in number: 
(i) the Nuhinena, or the Kit-Fox society — this order is composed of 
young men in the tribe and has no special duties to perform; (2) the 
Hauthahiiha, or Star society, comprising the young warriors of the 
tribe; (3) the Hichaaquthi, or Club-Board society, so called because 
the four head men of this society carried in battle, wooden clubs — this 
society is made up entirely of men in the prime of life and was form- 
erly a powerful warrior organization; (4) the Bittahinena, or Spear 
society — the chief duties of this order were the proper policing of the 
camp, they also saw that the orders of head men of the camp were 
executed; (5) the Ahakanena, or Lime-Crazy society, made up of men 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey, ;^;^ 

who had passed through the lower orders — the members of this society 
occasionally performed a ceremony of four days' duration, known as 
the "crazy dance"; (6) the HethShinena, or Dog-soldier society, per- 
haps the most important warrior order among the Arapaho, occupying 
an especially prominent position in times of warfare; and (7) the 
Chinachinfina, or Sweat-lodge society. The members of this society 
were limited to seven in number, one or more of whom acted in the 
capacity of high priest in the performance of important ceremonies. 
They also gave instruction to the members of other orders. The rites 
of this order have never been described. 


To obtain a position such as that held by Hoheni or Nishchdnakati 
does not so much imply a knowledge of the rites of the ceremony, as 
it requires membership in the highest of the Arapaho societies, the 
"Water-Pouring" or "Sweat-lodge," which presupposes membership 
in all the minor societies. To be able to assume the responsible 
position of director or chief priest, such as that held by Hdwkan, one 
need not necessarily have been a Sun Dance Lodge-Maker several 
times. He may obtain the office by participating in the ceremony, 
especially by painting the poles and the center fork several times. 
Hdwkan began by obtaining the privilege of painting the poles and 
the center fork, then entered the Rabbit-tipi, where he offered his 
services in the making and painting of the altar paraphernalia, etc., 
making payment each year, the amount being regulated by the nature 
of the service he was permitted to perform. 

VIII.— Characterization of the Eight 
Ceremonial Days. 

In order that the sequence of the rites in the ceremony may be 
better followed, the main events of the performance on each day of 
the ceremony are herewith summarily given. It should be stated first, 
however, that while the ceremony of 1901 was hurried, and conse- 
quently lasted only seven days, that of 1902 was given in full, and 
consequently lasted eight days. In comparing the events of the cere- 
mony of the two years, it may be stated that the first day of the 1901 
ceremony corresponds to the first day of the 1902 ceremony; while the 
events of the second day of the 1901 performance were divided between 
the second and third days of the 1902 performance. The third, fourth. 

34 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

fifth, sixth, and seventh days of 1901 correspond respectively to the 
fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth days of the 1902 performance. 

Owing to the fact that few or many days may be consumed in the 
formation. of the camp-circle, the ceremony proper may be said to 
begin on the morning of the announcement, although it is to be under- 
stood that the camp-circle has already been formed. 

First Day: — Formal announcement, in the forenoon, of the begin- 
ning of the ceremony, by the Crier; erection of the Rabbit- tipi in the 

Second Day: — Secret ceremonies in the Rabbit-.tipi : — The prep- 
aration of the Lodge-Maker's robe; the filling of the sacred pipe; 
the cutting of the rawhide for the center-pole; the formation of the 
temporary altar; the rehearsal of Sun Dance songs. Events out- 
side of the Rabbit-tipi: — The killing of the buffalo; the searching for 
the ordinary timbers for the great lodge by the different warrior soci- 
eties; and, near midnight, the ceremony of the grandfather and the 
wife of the Lodge-Maker. 

Third Day: — Secret ceremonies within the Rabbit-tipi: — The 
painting of the robe for the center-pole; the painting of the buffalo 
skull; preparation of the digging-stick; the painting of the belt; the 
painting of the Lodge-Maker. Events outside the Rabbit-tipi: — The 
solicitation about the camp-circle by the Lodge-Maker for presents; the 
bringing to the Rabbit-tipi of the cedar-tree; the laying out of the 
Offerings-lodge; the digging of the holes for the lodge by the Lime- 
Crazy society; the erection of and ceremonial performance within the 
Sweat-lodge; rehearsal in the Rabbit-tipi during the night. 

Fourth Day: — Secret ceremonies within the Rabbit-tipi: — Such 
preparations as have not already been made are completed ; in the after- 
noon the Lodge-Maker and his associates are painted; preparation is 
made for the abandonment of the Rabbit-tipi, which takes place on the 
completion of the Offerings-lodge. Outside the Rabbit-tipi : — The cap- 
ture and bringing in of the center-pole ; the painting of the four poles 
and the center-pole ; the completion of the Offerings-lodge ; the war and 
scalp dance inside the Offerings-lodge; after the evening meal the 
Lodge-Maker and those who are to fast during the ceremony enter the 
lodge; bearing the first paint; singing sacred songs in the Offerings- 
lodge; outside, near midnight, the ceremony between the grand- 
father and the wife of the Lodge-Maker; the formal beginning of 
the Sun Dance. 

Fifth Day: — At daybreak occurs the dance to the Sun; the dancers 
then remain inactive until the completion of the altar; the priests go 
outside to cut the sods which are brought within the Offerings-lodge, 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 35 

while the buffalo skull and other paraphernalia have been brought in 
before; the building of the altar; the distribution of the goods by the 
grandfather on behalf of the Lodge-Maker; the ceremonial washing 
of the bodies of the dancers, followed by the second painting. (The 
dance is continued at intervals throughout the night.) 

Sixth Day: — Dance to the rising Sun; the dance is continued at 
intervals throughout the day ; removal of the paint of the second day, 
followed by the third paint; medicine or courting night. 

Seventh Day: — Removal of the paint of the preceding day, fol- 
lowed by the fourth paint; preparation of the medicine water outside 
the Offerings-lodge; the final dance to the setting Sun; the emetic; 
drinking the holy water, followed by the termination of the fast with 
an elaborate feast. 

Eighth Day: — Dance out to the Sun, with purification rites; smok- 
ing the straight-pipe by the priests and dancers; the sacrifice of cast- 
off clothing at the altar and center-pole of the Offerings-lodge. 

IX.— The Sun Dance Ceremony. 

While the various scenes and incidents which have already been 
noted form a necessary and more or less intrinsic part of the great Sun 
Dance ceremony, yet they must be considered as preliminary to the 
ceremony itself. On the completion of the camp-circle, and with the 
meeting on the night of the day of its completion, when it is decided 
that the "announcement" is to be made on the following morning, the 
time of the preliminary period is at an end; for with the announce- 
ment on the next day, the ceremony proper of the Sun Dance may be 
said to begin. 

FIRST DAY, 1901 AND 1902. 

Early in the afternoon of this day, some of the leading men of the 
Star society repaired to the lodge of Debithe, the grandfather, and a 
head man of the Star society, taking with them food for the feast. 
They then sent for Hdcheni, Hdwkan, Bech^aye, Cheathea, and some 
old men of the Dog-soldier society. After an informal discussion 
regarding the routine work about to be performed in connection with 
the ceremony, and after partaking of food, H6cheni prayed: 

36 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV, 

HdcHENi's Prayer before Star Society. 

"My Grandfather, Light of the World; Old-Woman-Night, my 
Grandmother, — I stand here before this people, old and young. May 
whatever they undertake to do in this ceremony, and may their desires 
and wishes and anxieties in their every-day life, meet with your 
approval; may the growing corn not fail them and may everything 
that they put in the ground mature, in order that they may have food 
and nourishment for their children and friends. May whatever light 
comes from above, and also the rain, be strengthening to them, that 
they may live on the earth under your protection. May they make 
friends with the neighboring tribes, and especially with the white 
people. May the tribe be free from all wrong, from all crimes, and 
may they be good people." 


Hocheni was now seen to leave the lodge and pass directly to the 
northeast side of the great camping circle. He carried in one hand a 
beautifully carved black pipe, and in the other hand the tail of a 
buffalo. He wore leggings and moccasins of buckskin and a cotton 
shirt, over which he had placed a white sheet, which he wore as a 
blanket. He was painted red, even including his blanket and the 
other portions of his costume. He walked slowly, and it was noticed 
that no one passed him as he proceeded. Having reached the line of 
the lodges, he cried out in a loud voice: "All you people, old and 
young, listen to me! Man-Above, my Grandfather, Old-Woman-Night, 
my Grandmother, Dog-soldiers, Lime-Crazy-Men, Club-Board-Men, 
— may all the people increase day and night, be free from all sickness 
and distress! May peace and happiness exist! Thihduchhdwkan is 
ready. So says Thihduchhdwkan to you all." 

At the end of the announcement, Hocheni uttered a long hklloo, 
and all within the sound of his voice are supposed to say, "Thanks," 
while the parents in each tipi pray: "My child, may you grow up a 
man." Hdcheni then passed to that side of the camp-circle toward 
the southwest, then to the southeast, and then toward the northeast, 
halting at each of these three points, where he uttered the same 
announcement, whereupon he returned to the lodge of Debithe. 
Hdcheni and Hdwkan now instructed some of the Star society, while 
they were still in Debithe's tent, to search the camp-circle for a com- 
plete buffalo hide, and take it out on one of the hills near the camp- 
circle and make a frame for it and erect it in the form of a buffalo. 



PL. V. The Rabbit-tipi. 

The secret tipi of preparation, which stood at the west of the center of the 
camp-circle. Photograph made on third day, after cedar tree had been placed 
behind tipi. The decoration of the tipi has nothing to do with the Sun Dance 
ceremony, it being one of the Ghost dance tipis. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 37 

In former times, of course, this episode in the ceremony consisted in 
the location of a living buffalo. Those who have been mentioned as 
having gathered there for the announcement now took up what food 
there was left over from the feast and departed with it for their homes. 
Hdcheni remaining for a few moments to smoke. 


The members of the Star society, shortly afterwards began to 
congregate in the center of the camp-circle, having been called by the 
head man of the Star society, through Hocheni. Having assembled, 
they were told by their leader to go over and get the tipi of Wahuayni- 
howni (Yellow-Magpie), which was one of the largest in the camp- 
circle. They went after the tipi, and were about to lift it up, when 
the wife of Yellow-Magpie made strenuous objections, saying that they 
had a big family and needed shelter. They then selected another tipi, 
and it also was refused. The third tipi selected belonged to a member 
of the Star society, and permission was given to take it. First they 
pulled out the pegs which fastened the tipi to the ground, then took 
ofif the door and loosened the ropes for the smoke flaps. The mem- 
bers then surrounded the lodge, and each man took hold of a lodge 
pole. At a signal, they lifted the poles simultaneously, and thus 
moved the tipi bodily to a spot a short distance west of the center of 
the camp-circle. Here they were met by their wives, who firmly 
adjusted the tipi and replaced the pegs. The opening of the tipi, of 
course, faced the east (see Plate V). This tipi is called by the Chey- 
enne, "The First lodge," while among the Arapaho it is known as the 
"Nakshawu," or White-Rabbit-tipi. The origin of the name is due 
to the myth in which male and female rabbits conducted the secret 
ceremonies of the Offerings-lodge. The men who still perform such 
rites are known as Rabbit-men. 


No one ever enters the Rabbit-tipi with moccasins or any kind of 
covering on the feet. Moccasins were removed outside and were 
deposited at one side or the other of the door. In explanation of this 
the following was obtained: "In the evening, when the bats are flying 
around near a tipi, a person throws up pairs of moccasins in the air, 
until the bat flies into the moccasin. In this way the bat is caught 
and killed ; otherwise, the bat, representing the evil spirit, may work 
sickness upon an innocent person. Because the home of the bat (the 
evil spirit) is in the moccasin, the Rabbit-tipi people, before entering 
the Rabbit-tipi, take off their moccasins, thus showing reverence." 

38 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

It is required also that all enter and leave the Rabbit-tipi by way 
of the south, west, and north, in other words, in a sunwise circuit. In 
this manner they travel along with the sun and are therefore protected. 
Hence also no one may pass in front of the altar with the sacred 
Wheel and buffalo skull ; a clear path must be preserved between these 
and the door, so that the blessing of the Sun-ray may take effect. 

There is no restriction as to the nature of the food used in the 
Rabbit-tipi, the quantity and amount depending upon the means of 
the family who is making the feast. 


The boys of the Star society now began gathering wood, first 
near Watangaa's lodge on the north side of the circle, and then con- 
tinuing the circuit, taking one or two sticks from each lodge, until 
they could carry no more, when they would take their load to the left 
and the front of the Rabbit-tipi. 

They then returned to that part of the circle where they had left 
off, and continued gathering wood until they had completed the circuit 
of the camp; consequently, each wood-pile had yielded its contribution. 


Debithe, accompanied by two members of the Star society, now 
went to the home of Yahiise, taking with him calico, to obtain the 
Wheel. Having arrived at his tipi, they entered, gave him the calico, 
and explained their mission. They all went outside to the rear of the 
tipi, where the bundle containing the Wheel was suspended on a tripod. 
A prayer was now uttered by one of the men, whereupon Yahiise took 
the bundle from the tripod and gave it to Debfthe, who returned with 
it to the Rabbit-tipi. 


Another member of the Star society, just before that time, 
entered the Rabbit-tipi with a double-edged knife. Hocheni had also 
directed one of the members of the Star society to bring into the lodge 
a piece of buffalo hide, which had been obtained from Big-Belly, and a 
piece of rawhide, while Debithe brought in a badger skin. As these 
were brought in they were passed to Hdwkan, who, in a low voice, 
uttered a prayer: 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 39 

Hawkan's Prayer in Rabbit-Tipi. 

"My Father, Man-Above, the Creator, the Giver-of-Food, listen! 
Be near to us poor beings who need spiritual and bodily blessings! 
May the people gathered in this tipi, also the people of the entire 
camp-circle, be blest hereafter! My Grandmother, Old-Woman- 
Night, make a good night for us! My Grandfather, Sun, may your 
day bring good for us all ! Hear us as we pray and give thanks during 
this ceremony, which we have learned of our fathers and of the Four- 
Old-Men! Thy help and presence we expect." By this time it was 
quite dark. 


Wadnibe (Grass Singing, the wife of Hawkan), and Nisah (Twins, 
wife of Wadil), now prepared to make a fire in the center of the lodge. 
First, Nisah made with a pipe-stem (for it contains a protective anti- 
dote), a pass at the earth four times in four different places, near the 
center of the lodge, forming an imaginary square. She then made 
four passes in the center of this space. Wadnibe then went through 
the same motions with a hoe. The latter then cleared away the grass 
from a space about two feet square and both joined to make a slight 
excavation in the center for the fire. The dirt, grass, and roots were 
then placed upon a black blanket, carried outside, and deposited in 
the form of a small mound about thirty feet away, in front of the tipi. 


Debithe then left the Rabbit-tipi and returned with a bundle of 
sage. He went at once to the southeast corner of the tipi, where he 
selected a few stems from the bundle and waved them toward the 
southeast four times, and laid the small bunch on the ground. He 
then went to the southwest corner, the northwest corner, and the 
northeast corner, repeated this performance at each place, and deposited 
a small bunch of sage. He then gave the remainder of the sage to 
the two women, who spread it around the lodge in the form of a circle. 
Quilts and blankets were now spread over the sage, and all present 
sat down. 


Little-Chief, the head man of the Star society, now entered with 
a few sticks of wood in his arm. Standing at the southeast corner, he 
told his war story and then made a fire in the center of the tipi. 

The story of a warrior must be good and known as to its particu- 

4© Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

lars by two or more witnesses. If the teller of the story exaggerates, 
the fire does not burn well. The sticks of wood thrown into the fire 
as fuel personify the victims struck or killed. Since they use their 
victims as fuel to give light in the Rabbit-tipi and the Offerings-lodge, 
the whole tribe is protected from all injury. This kindly protection 
comes from Sun and Moon, or rather from the hearts of these two 
deities. The fire is the Sun, for, after finishing the big lodge for the 
snake, he gave his heart for light. 

Unless the fire is made in the Rabbit-tipi, as well as, later on, in 
the Offerings-lodge, the ceremony cannot be carried on. The war 
story itself is symbolic of victory for the tribe over famine and all 
kinds of plagues. 


Owing to purely accidental circumstances, the preparation of the 
Badger-pack was not observed during either of the ceremonies of 1901 
or 1902. It is known, however, that it was prepared on the afternoon 
of the first day of the erection of the Rabbit-tipi. I assume from the 
fact that the badger-skin, when the pack was unwrapped at the termi- 
nation of the ceremony, was taken care of by Watangaa, that the skin 
belongs to him, and was furnished by him on each occasion. The 
same reasoning leads me to believe that the wrapper of the pack was 
furnished by Hocheni. 

It was known that the badger-skin was painted, the anterior half 
being in red and the posterior half in black. After the painting, it 
was wrapped in an old piece of buffalo hide about three feet square, 
which was then made into a compact bundle by means of a long buffalo- 
hide rope. The wrapping was painted as had been the badger-skin, 
the front half being red, the second half black, but whether the paint- 
ing was done before the badger-skin was enveloped, or afterwards, is 
not known ; nor is it known what rites, if any, were performed during 
the preparation of the pack. In its finished condition, the badger- 
skin had been so placed that the head, up to and including the ears, 
projected beyond the end of the pack. When not in use, for purposes 
to be described in proper places, the Badger-pack, both in the Rabbit- 
tipi and in the Offerings-lodge, occupied a place to the south of the 
skull, the badger looking toward the east. 


Debithe again left the tipi and soon returned, bringing in a buffalo 
skull which had been lying in Thihduchhdwkan's tipi, and which had 
been brought to the camp-circle by VVatdngaa, who owned the skull. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey, 41 



Thihduchhdwkan, the Lodge-Maker, and his wife now entered the 
lodge. Thihauchhawkan was painted from head to foot with white 
earth. Around his neck was suspended a bone whistle, and his dress 
consisted of a buckskin kilt, while over his shoulders was a buffalo 
robe. In one hand he carried a pipe filled with tobacco, which he 
offered to Debithe, his grandfather. Hdcheni now took from a 
small buckskin bag a piece of root, which he placed in his mouth, then 
spat upon his hands and rubbed" himself. Pieces of root were passed 
to the others, who did the same. 


Food was now brought in by the friends of Thihauchhawkan, and 
then Cheathea, Becheaye, Sosoni (Shoshoni-Woman, wife of Lizard), 
Waatannak (Black-Bear), and the head men of the Star society entered. 
Thihduchhawkan now took up the bowl of rice soup and placed it in 
front of Hocheni, who took a piece of sage and made a single pass 
toward each corner of the bowl, and then dipped it in the center and 
handed it to Thihduchhawkan, who went to the southeast corner of 
the lodge and made an offering or sacrifice of food to the tipi-pole at 
that point; then to the southwest tipi-pole. He then touched the 
earth with the sage near the fireplace on the north side, and then sacri- 
ficed food to the northwest lodge-pole, and then to the northeast. He 
now returned in a dextral or sunwise circuit to the west side of the 
fireplace, where the buffalo skull had been deposited, and placed the 
sage in front of the skull. All said, "Thanks," which was the signal 
to begin eating. 


During the days of the Rabbit-tipi, and later, within the Offerings- 
lodge, the priests and others indulged in much smoking. With this 
smoking are many rites, which will be described in their proper places. 
But in connection with practically all of the smoking, offerings of 
smoke are made to certain deities. First the stem is pointed toward 
the southeast, then the southwest, the northwest, and the northeast, 
thus recognizing the Four-Old-Men; then to the zenith, in honor of 
the Father or Man-Above ; then to the earth, in honor of the Super- 
natural-Beings. These Supernatural-Beings, or lesser gods of the 
earth, are fishes, trees, rocks, winds, etc. They are also spoken of as 
false people, whose evil influence is to be guarded against. To all 

42 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

these beings, and to all gods is thus transmitted a general prayer that 
they may extend their tender mercy and sympathy upon the entire 


This is an important Rabbit-tipi rite and is also performed on a 
few occasions in the Offerings-lodge. For this purpose either spruce 
or cedar leaves are used. Spruce leaves are more highly thought 
of, for they produce a greater volume of smoke and a more intense 
odor. Sometimes the Southern Arapaho use cedar when the rite calls 
for spruce, as spruce is not easily obtained in Oklahoma. 

In bathing any object in incense, the smoke is supposed first to 
be received by the Four-Old-Men, who in turn extend such sympathy 
as they can give; then the smoke is received by the Sun, "who walks 
in the center of the earth." The object passed over the incense is 


During the singing in the Rabbit-tipi and in the Offerings-lodge a 
rattle or drum is used. The rattle is that of a medicine-man, is 
scrotum-shaped, and had its origin from the Pleaides (the seven 
brothers and their daughter, Splinter-Foot Girl), who are supposed to 
be within the rattle, and who contain all of the ceremonial songs. It is 
said that when the Man-Above was awaiting a selection by the people, 
Prairie-Chicken offered his body for a rattle. The body is reversed, 
the head being the handle. His body contains also the Four-Old-Men, 
Sun, and Moon. These birds dance early in the morning, sing songs, 
and scatter them, as if to dust themselves. 

The large drum used in the rehearsal, and during the singing in 
the Offerings-lodge is spoken of as water and is said to come from the 
rain clouds. By another informant it is said the drum is the earth, 
which is the badger, and the drum-stick is the pipe-stem. The earth 
represents the female element and the pipe-stem the male element; in 
other words, the connection of the people, outside of the Rabbit-tipi. 

The parfleche or rawhide, the use of which will be explained later, 
represents ill luck or famine and follows everything in the ceremony. 
It is purified over incense and then thrown among the Dog-soldiers, 
who beat it with sticks, thus killing it, and so occasioning joy and good 
feeling among all, and a victory for the Lodge-Maker. As it also 
personifies a distressed person, it is raw, plain, not adorned. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 43 


The pipe-stem is used, both in Rabbit-tipi and Offerings-lodge, to 
discharm with — its poison or antidote (wahttu, root) comes from the 
flat pipe. By touching objects about to be altered with the pipe-stem, 
the workers are rendered immune from the power to do evil which is 
inherent in every animate object (called in prayer as supernatural 
being), and which ordinarily would resent being altered. Were the 
pipe-stem not used, the worker would suffer injury, misfortune, or 
even loss of life. 

The belief in the protective" power of the flat or tribal medicine 
pipe is so great that the stem is spoken of as the head or mind of the 
Father who leads the way and conquers the enemy. 


This rite, so often made use of in both Rabbit-tipi and Offerings- 
lodge is a preparatory rite before certain actions. It is symbolic of 
the information given by the Man-Above to the Four-Old-Men. It 
also symbolizes the breath of a person, or in other words, life; it is 
also a cleansing rite. The ejecting of spittle after taking a piece of 
root into the mouth imitates the motion of scattering clay to the four 
directions, as it was done when this earth was formed. The fifth time, 
to the center, is for the Flat-Pipe, the Creator, who is located in the 
center of the earth, and preserves a balance or equilibrium. 


After the feast, the utensils and the remaining food were removed 
from the tipi, the priests sang certain songs which are only sung on 
this the first night of the Rabbit-tipi. There was as yet no drum in 
the tipi, and time was kept by beating with a pipe-stem upon the 

After they had been singing tor some time, the Lodge-Maker 
passed his pipe to Debithe, who in turn handed it to Hdcheni, who 
blest it and rubbed it. He then lighted it with a coal from the fire 
and smoked a few puffs, and the pipe was then passed around the 
circle from right to left. On the return of the pipe to Hdcheni, he 
cleaned it in the usual ceremonial fashion. 

Debfthe took a live coal from the fire, and over it deposited some 
spruce-leaves. As the smoke from the spruce began to ascend, the 
Lodge-Maker took a large rawhide which he had brought into the 
lodge with him, folded in the shape of a parfleche, and passed it over 
the incense four times, and then carried it to the southeast corner of 

44 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

the tipi, where two or three men of the Star society were gathered. 
Holding it out in front and at one side of him, he swung it gently 
backward and forward three times, and on the fourth time, threw it 
in front of the seated men, who beat upon it with sticks and shouted. 
This act marks the termination of the fourth of the sacred songs, which 
are only sung in the Rabbit-tipi. 

They now began the rehearsal of Sun Dance songs to be sung 
during the following days of the ceremony. The songs during the 
rehearsal were accompanied by the beating of sticks on the rawhide 
by the singers and by the motion of a rattle held in the hands of 
Hawkan. After singing for some time nearly all left the tipi except 
the Lodge-Maker and his wife, who from this time forth partook of 
no food until the night of the erection of the Offerings-lodge. It was 
now about two hours after midnight. 


For reasons, already given, which hastened the performance, many 
events were crowded into this day, which, in the 1902 ceremony were 
properly extended over two days. This second day, then, may be said 
to correspond to the second and third days of the 1902 celebration. 


It is to be expected that, in a ceremony so important as the Sun 
Dance, the sudatory, as a means of bodily purification, would play a 
prominent part, for rarely is any serious affair undertaken by the 
Arapaho without this bath, accompanied by its attendant rites. 


According to the ordinary method of procedure in the~ Sun Dance 
ceremony, a large Sweat-lodge should have been erected on this morn- 
ing to the north and near the Rabbit-tipi. On account of the fact, 
however, that they were pressed for time, it was decided by the lead- 
ing men to dispense with this part of the ceremony. Certain of the 
more active participants, however, had already gone through this 
purification ceremony, while others were to perform it in the Sweat- 
lodges, near their tipis, on this or the following day. 


With the increased amount of time at the disposition of the priests 
during the 1902 ceremony, opportunity was offered for the erection of 
the Sweat-lodge. This, however, was not done on the morning of the 



PL. VI. Laying out the Sweat-lodge. Third Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Hdwkan choosing the site of the lodge. <. 

Fig. 2. Rabbit-tipi priests beginning to place in position the willows for the ^ 

Sweat-lodge, under Hdwkan's direction. j 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey, 45 

second day, but on the evening of the third day, i. e., after all the 
ceremonial objects to be used later in the Offerings-lodge proper had 
been prepared. Inasmuch, however, as according to my informant, 
the Sweat-lodge belongs properly to the second day, an account of the 
ceremony as witnessed this year, will not be out of place at this point. 


It was about half-past five o'clock, when Hawkan, Watdngaa, and 
Debithe left the Rabbit-tipi and started toward the west, looking for a 
suitable place. This they found at a distance of about fifty feet west 
of the lodge. (See Fig. i, Plate VI.) 

This spot they circled around in single file in a sunwise fashion; 
then Hdwkan touched the first finger of his right hand to the ground, 
then to his mouth, took a bite of root, spat five times, pointing like- 
wise with the pipe-stem, and then marked off the four corners and 
center of a piece of ground about one foot square. The first of the 
tour motions with the pipe-stem, of course, began with the southeast, 
the fifth ending with the center. 

Watdngaa with an axe loosened the grass from the plot of ground 
indicated by Hdwkan with the pipe-stem, removed the grass and placed 
it upon a blanket. Having removed the grass, Watangaa then loosened 
the soil with his axe, until he had finally made a circular excavation 
abput eight inches in depth, with perpendicular sides. In the center 
of this excavation he made a small excavation three inches in diameter, 
and about two inches in depth. The earth from the excavation, 
together with the grass, were taken up in the blanket and deposited in 
the form of a little mound fifteen feet due east. 

Hdwkan sat down on the east side of the excavation with his legs 
at full length in front of him. In this fashion he gained an idea as to 
the required size of the lodge. This done, he took the axe and care- 
fully removed the grass over a surface about a foot in width and about 
four feet long, toward the east. The end of this space was to be at 
the entrance of the lodge, and along this bared way the hot stones 
were to be introduced later on. 

Hdwkan then with his pipe-stem pointed toward the south and 
eastern corner of this cleared space, thus indicating the position of the 
first of the Sweat-lodge poles. Taking one of the small willow poles 
near by, and which had been especially provided for the erection of 
the Sweat-lodge by the members of one of the warrior societies, he 
tnen measured the distance between this point and the eastern rim of 
.the excavation, passed around to the west of the excavation, and meas- 
ured off a similar space in that direction, thus locating the position for 

46 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

the second lodge-pole. The positions of the other poles were now 
located, the third one being on the northeast from the excavation, the 
fourth on the northwest, the fifth on the southeast, while the remainder, 
up to the number of sixteen in all, were indicated by Hdwkan without 
further ceremony, in a sunwise circuit. 


In th6 mean time, Debithe, Watdngaa, VVatanah, and Chanitoe 
had begun inserting some slender willow poles in the ground, the north 
and south poles being first interlaced, then the east and west poles. 
After all the poles which had been inserted in the ground had been 
interlaced, so as to form a dome-shaped structure, a long, slender pole 
was thrust through by VVatangaa, from the west side. Neither the 
base nor the tip of this pole touched the earth. All these poles had 
been denuded of their boughs except at the very tips. (See Fig. 2, 
Plate VI., and Figs, i and 2, Plate VII.) 

While these priests were erecting the lodge, a large quantity of 
bark was brought by some of the boys and deposited to the southeast 
of the lodge. The four messengers had in the mean time also gone 
about the camp-circle collecting pieces of canvas, quilts, blankets, 
etc., with which to cover the lodge when completed. (See ¥\g. i, 
Plate VIII.) One of the priests gathered a bundle of sage, which he 
carried inside and spread entirely around the floor of the lodge, in a 
circular form, the stems of the sage pointing toward the fireplace, 
except for the space lying between the doorway of the lodge and the 
fireplace, which remained barren. 

One of the priests now brought out from the Rabbit-tipi the 
painted buffalo skull, and carrying it slowly and carefully in front of 
him, stooping over as he did so, he placed it upon the little mound 
of earth to the east of the lodge, so that the skull looked directly into 
the lodge. Watdnah then brought out the Wheel, wrapped it in its 
recently offered coverings, and placed it in a flat position on top of 
the skull, so that the feathers extended toward the west and fell down 
over the forward projection of the skull. Watdnah next brought from 
the Rabbit-tipi the rattle and a bag of spruce-leaves, which he 
deposited south of the skull. 

While these preparations were going on, the messengers had 
started a fire over a pile of stones, to which they now added the load 
of bark. (See Plate IX.) Pails of water were also brought and placed 
between the fire and. the door of the lodge, by other messengers. 


Pl. VII. Erecting the Sweat-lodge. Third Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Rabbit-tipi priests and Dog-soldiers constructing the Sweat-lodge. 
Fig. 2. Watdngaa placing in position the final pole of the Sweat-lodge. 



Pl. VIII. Completing the Sweat-lodge. Third Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Rabbit-tipi priests covering framework of Sweat-lodge with blankets. 
Fig. 2. Framework of Sweat-lodge after the ceremony. In the center may 
be seen the pile of heated stones. 




n 1 «C;. m^^Kf^ 


^LrV IKt^af^^^^^B 


FIG. 1. 


gfc-^,. ' ■-■*«*■ 



n^' ^^^ 


B^. ' 


*- "T '^, • 1 



iff '> ■■ -r. 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^E. . 

- ._ <>*• 

1 iB 

PL. IX. Sweat-lodge and Rabbit-tipl Third Day, 1902. 

General view, showing, beginning on the right, the pile of firewood of cotton- 
wood bark, the fireplace, the framework of the Sweat-lodge and the Rabbit-tipi. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 47 

Watdnah now took up the Wheel from the skull, and carrying it 
upon calico coverings, entered the Sweat-lodge with it, and placed it 
to the west of the fireplace, the head of the snake facing the east. 
The rattle and bag of spruce-leaves he then carried in and placed 
south of the Wheel. Nishnat^yana now approached, carrying a filled 
pipe, which he deposited in front of the buffalo skull, the bowl point- 
ing upward and the stem pointing toward the south. Chanltoe now 
approached the lodge, knelt just at the door, lifted up both hands, and 
uttered a prayer. Entering, he sat down at the north of the Wheel, 


One of the messengers now passed within the lodge a live coal, 
whereupon the door of the lodge was closed. Watdnah was heard pray- 
ing, and it is known that just after concluding his prayer, the coal was 
deposited in the little hole in the center of the base of the fireplace, 
and upon which the spruce-leaves were placed, the interpretation of 
this act being, that this act is a purification ceremony and that the 
prayer of Watdnah was answered as soon as the particular god to whom 
the prayer was offered became conscious of the odor of the incense. 
It will be noticed also that this offering of incense was performed 
before any considerable number had entered the lodge. The reason 
of this was because the rite of the offering of the incense in the fire- 
place is unknown to the minor priests of the lodge. 

After a few moments the door of the lodge was opened by one of 
the priests within, and other priests now approached and went inside. 
Each man, as he entered, halted at the door, lifted both hands, and 
uttered a prayer. Each also carried a small branch of cottonwood. 
As the Lodge-Maker, the substitute Lodge-Maker, and his wife came 
up, they drank from one of the pails and vomited before entering the 
lodge. On account of the darkness, the position of those within was 
now made out with some difficulty, but it is believed that they sat 
within the lodge in the following order, beginning on the south side, 
next to the door — Watdngaa, Debithe, with the Lodge-Maker behind 
the Wheel, Chanftoe, Baihoh (Old-Bear), or Blindy, Hin^nwatani 
(Black-Man), and Watdnah. Bech^aye also entered the lodge, but 
where she sat was not known. 

48 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 


Before the covering for the door of the lodge had been put in 
place, Watdngaa, reaching across the fireplace from his position at the 
south door, took up the pipe, which he lighted from a coal now brought 
him by one of the messengers. After puffing on the pipe for a few 
moments to get it thoroughly lighted, he pointed the stem toward the 
east, toward the Wheel, and toward the fireplace, and then smoked. 
The pipe was then passed around the circle to Watanah, north of the 
door, each taking a few whiffs. The pipe was then passed back to 
Watdngaa unsmoked, whereupon, it again made the circuit sunwise, 
being smoked by each individual as before. Thus the pipe made the 
circuit four times, when it was passed out of the lodge and placed on 
the north side of the buffalo skull. 

The stones were now thoroughly heated, and were passed into the 
lodge, one by one, by the messengers. The first five stones passed 
in were deposited, one by one at the door, when they were taken 
up by Watangaa with a fork-shaped stick, and placed on the fire- 
place, the first one being at the southeast corner of the fireplace, 
the second at the southwest corner, the third at the northwest, the 
fourth at the northeast, and the fifth in the center just over the 
smaller and deeper excavation in which, shortly before, the offering 
of spruce-leaves had been made. Other stones, then, to the number of 
about twenty-five, were passed in, and were piled up indiscriminately 
upon these, until the pile was over a foot in height. Blankets, which 
had been worn by those within as they entered the lodge, were now 
passed to the messengers outside. Two buckets of water and a dipper 
were now passed in, and one or two additional men entered. 

Although the door of the lodge still remained open, the heat 
within at this time, was excessive, and the bodies of the men were 
bathed with perspiration. It is probable that the heat registered not 
less than 145°. From the two buckets of water standing just inside 
and near the fireplace a cupful was taken up and passed to each 
member, who on receiving the cup, drank a little and poured the 
remainder on his head and body. The odor of the fresh sage at this 
time was very pungent. 


The two servants outside then thoroughly covered the opening of 
the lodge. Watdnah uttered a prayer, followed by Chanitoe this time, 
the prayer being accompanied by the shaking of the rattle in the hands 
of Watdngaa. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 49 

At the conclusion of this performance, a song was begun, the tune 
being the same as that sung on the previous night in the Rabbit-tipi. 
This song was also accompanied by the shaking of the rattle. The 
singing now continued for about twenty minutes, during which time 
water was gradually poured upon the stones. From time to time, one 
or another of those inside was heard crying or praying, while the 
two messengers outside threw themselves down near the door and 
joined their lamentations with those within. As has been explained 
before, this is spoken of as "weeping for mercy," and may be regarded 
as a form of supplication. Above the singing and lamentation of the 
priests was also to be heard the noise made by the lashing of their 
naked bodies with the cottonwood boughs. 

At the conclusion of the singing, some one inside gave the word 
to the servant to remove the covering from the door. This was not 
only done, but the curtains were lifted on the west side of the lodge. 
In this manner the priests remained within the lodge for a period of 
about fifteen minutes, when the Wheel was passed out to Hdwkan. 
Watdnah then made four motions toward the skull, picked it up, and 
carried it back to the Rabbit-tipi, where it was placed in its usual 
position. Hdwkan followed, carrying the Wheel, which was also 
replaced as before. (See Plate V.) 


The little cleared path between the fireplace and the door of the 
Sweat-lodge is the road. It is cleared because the tribe wish to prosper 
and live in happiness so long as the earth lasts. 

The circular excavation inside the Sweat-lodge, where the heated 
stones are placed, is called "Opened-Brains," reference being made 
to a certain myth. The little hole inside of this excavation, in which 
the incense is placed, is the navel of the mother; it is the place of our 
birth, the sipapu of the Hopi, the earth representing the mother. (See 
Fig. 2, Plate VIII.) The incense which is placed on the "navel" is 
offered to the Four-Old-Men, for the reason that they are constantly 
watching, in winter and summer, and during the day and night. They 
control the wind and cause it to blow according as they feel 

They take a sweat in the lodge because they want to be cleansed 
from former sins, evil desires, and be protected from all kinds of 
plagues, etc. 

The singing inside of the Sweat-lodge, both in tone and in words, 
is similar to that in the Rabbit-tipi. The songs are sung with deep 

50 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

thought and in accordance with the voices of nature. There are 
seven different songs, each with two verses; hence, if the songs are 
repeated twice, it makes twenty-eight in all. 


Concerning this interesting performance no observations were 
made during the performance of 1901, nor was any direct information 
gained from Hawkan. The ceremony took place, in 1902, in the 
morning of the third day. Early in the morning the voice of the 
Crier was heard outside the tipi, calling about the circle for the Rabbit- 
tipi people to hurry to the tipi. When the priests were assembled 
within the tipi, Hdwkan passed to NishnatSyana cups of the lime 
paint, which had been brought in by the sister of the Lodge-Maker, to 
which the latter added water and mixed. After thoroughly mixing 
the cups of paint he placed them in front of Hawkan. One of the 
messengers brought in live coals, which were placed upon the fireplace. 
Wadtanakashi then went to Hocheni, placed his hands upon his head 
and prayed. One of the cups of paint was now passed to Hdcheni. 
Wadtanakashi now sat down in front of Hocheni, with his legs in front 
of him and his knees drawn up towards his chin. Hdwkan took a live 
coal, placed it at one side of Hocheni, and upon it dropped a pinch of 
spruce-leaves. Hocheni then dipped his hands in the cup of paint and 
rubbed them together, smearing the palm of each hand thoroughly 
with the paint. He then with the forefinger of his right hand drew 
two parallel lines lengthwise across the palm of his left hand, and one 
line lengthwise across the palm of his right hand with the forefinger 
of his left. He then held both hands, palms downward, over the rising 
incense, and passed his hands from the toes, up the legs and sides of 
the body, to the head of the man in front of him. This he did four 
times, drawing, however, two lines in the palm of his right hand and 
one in the palm of his left hand before making the second movement 
over the body, and reversing this operation at the third and again at 
the fourth time. Wadtanakashi then turned his back to Hocheni, who 
smeared it with paint, but without regularity or ceremony. Wadtana- 
kashi then arose, took the cup of paint, and going near the door of the 
tipi, proceeded to paint himself from head to foot, including his hair 
and face, giving his entire body a thorough coat of the white paint. 

The Lodge-Maker now took his place in front of Hdcheni, and 
was painted in the manner just described, whereupon he also took the 
cup of paint, went over to the door, and smeared his body with the 
white paint from head to foot. Both stood near the door after paint- 
ing, until they were thoroughly dry. 

Pl. X. NiwAAT, HIS Associate and Grandfather. Third Day, 1902. 

Before making tour of the camp-circle to solicit assistance: On the right, 
Nishnateyana; in the center, Niwaat, the Lodge-Maker; and on the left, 
Watdngaa. The two Lodge-Makers have just received a coat of lime paint. In 
front, and on the ground, are their buffalo robes. 

Pl. XI. The Lodge-Makers on their Return from the Solicitation of Assist- 
ance. Third Day, 1902. 

Occupying the space between the Rabbit-tipi and the two men are the 
bales and trunks of blankets which have been presented to them. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 51 

Food was now passed in and placed in the usual ceremonial position 
about the fireplace, whereupon a bowl containing rice was placed in 
front of Hocheni, who dipped a piece of sage in it and passed it to the 
Lodge-Maker, who now stood in front of him. The Lodge-Maker 
then nade the offering. Beginning in the southeast corner, lifting the 
sage on high, he touched it gently to the ground, then passed to the 
southwest, northwest, and northeast corner, and then contiuning on 
around the lodge in a sunwise circuit, he halted in front of the skull, 
made four passes over it, and deposited the sage under its jaw. 

Both now put on their buffalo robes, went outside the lodge, and 
put on their moccasins. Nishnat^yana now left the lodge and told 
them where to begin, and how they should proceed. (See Plate X.) 
They then started off toward the northwest corner of the camp-circle, 
followed by the four servants. Having arrived at a tipi at this point 
of the circle, they pleaded for assistance with which to compensate 
the priests for their work in the ceremony. From this lodge, they 
went to the next lodge, and so on, around the circle in sunwise man- 
ner. As fast as the large bales of blankets, calico, etc., were collected, 
they were carried by one of the servants and deposited just at the 
southeast side of the Rabbit-tipi. (See Plate XL) 

The time consumed by the Lodge-Maker and his associate in 
making the round of the camp-circle was about two hours. The total 
contributions amounted to four large bales and two trunks of blankets, 
pieces of calico, shawls, and other similar gifts, which were left outside 
the lodge until evening. Within the Rabbit-tipi, during their absence, 
the priests had partaken of their usual morning feast. 


Owing to the lack of time in the 1901 performance, and owing 
more especially to the lack, of necessity, on account of the lateness of 
the season, the cedar tree, which ultimately forms a part of the altar, 
was not secured until required for actual use on the altar. In X902, 
however, owing to the great heat,, and owing to the fact that there 
was ample time for the carrying out of the details of the ceremony, it 
was brought into the camp-circle at the proper time. 

Shortly after the Lodge-Maker and his substitute began making 
the journey around the camp-circle for the collection of presents, 
Two-Crows, a chief of the Arapaho and formerly a servant of the Sun 
Dance priests, entered the tipi, stood facing the west, lifted his hands 
over the altar, and prayed. He then sat down on the north side of the 
lodge, whereupon Hawkan told him how he should secure the tree, 
how high it should be, etc. He then started off after the tree. 

52 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

Returning late in the afternoon, he, with the assistance of two or three 
of the Dog-soldiers, placed the tree, about twenty feet in height, just 
west of the Rabbit-tipi, thus affording much desired protection from 
the afternoon rays of the sun. (See Plates XII. and V.) Later on, 
as will be seen, it formed an essential feature of the altar in the 


The consideration of further events of this day, which also includes 
the supplemental observations made on the second and third days of 
the 1902 performance, may be referred to those which took place 
within the Rabbit-tipi and those which took place without. Although 
certain events had their origin inside this secret lodge and were com- 
pleted outside, yet it is believed that this method contributes to a more 
intelligent understanding of the ceremony. 


Early in the morning, Hawkan returned to the Rabbit-tipi and 
was soon followed by other leaders of the ceremony. After the men 
had indulged in smoking and had partaken of the feast which had 
been brought in by the families of the dancers, Sosoni cut a long strip 
from the rawhide, which as has been mentioned, was brought in the 
night before. This strip was about ten feet long and about three- 
quarters of an inch wide. She handed it to Chanltoe, who passed it 
from end to end over live coals upon which had been placed bits of 
spruce. With the assistance of Waakdtani, Chanitoe now measured 
the strip, and having located its center, they proceeded to paint it, 
coloring one half of it black, the other half red. 

The preparation of the lariat for the tying of the bundle to the 
center-pole, in 1902, was conducted in the following manner: The 
wife of the "grandfather" of the Lodge-Maker, Thiyeh, immediately 
after the buffalo robe to be worn by the Lodge-Maker had been pre- 
pared, brought into the Rabbit-tipi a large rawhide, which he deposited 
in front of Nishchdnakati. She then knelt in front of him, placing her 
hands on his head, and then with the pipe-stem made the five cere- 
monial passes toward the rawhide, spitting each time toward it, as he 
pointed with the stem. Thiyeh then took the robe outside of the 
lodge to cut it, it being more easily handled outside than in, on account 
of the lack of room. (See Plate XIII.) Having cut the rawhide into 
one long continuous strip, she entered the lodge with it, bearing also 
the knife which she had used in cutting it, and the scraps or refuse 
which remained after preparing the strip. The knife and scraps she 

Pl. XII. Chief Two-Crows, Unloading the Cedar Tree by the Rabbit-tipi. i 

Third Day, 1902. j 

Standing by the side of the Rabbit-tipi is Hdwkan; sitting in front of him ^ 

are His^haseh and Nishchandkati. } 

PL. XIII. THfYEH. Second Day, 1902. 

Wife of Nishnat^yana, in front of the Rabbit-tipi preparing the rawhide 
lariat to be used in fastening the bundle of willows to the center-pole. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 53 

put by the side of the paint bags, which were lying to the south side 
of the skull, and handed the rawhide strip to Debithe, who doubled it 
in the middle. 

Debithe took a bag of red paint from the side of the skull, while 
Chanltoe took a bag of black paint, both of which were opened. 
Debithe received from Hawkan a bag of spruce-leaves, a pinch of 
which he placed on a live coal in front of him. Debithe then took a 
bit of red paint which he softened with tallow and rubbed thoroughly 
between the palms of his hands, then held the palms of his hands in 
front of him in a horizontal position over the rising incense. He 
then, maintaining his hands in the same position, held them over the 
incense so that the left hand was uppermost. They were again 
reversed so that the right hand was uppermost, then the left. The 
hands were thus held in this position four times, and at the fifth time, 
they were held so that the palms were in a perpendicular position. 
Chanitoe went through a similar movement with the black paint. 
They then proceeded to paint the strip of rawhide between them, 
Debithe painting one half red, while Chanitoe painted the other half 
black. Having completed painting both sides of the strip, it was 
placed by Hawkan near the wall of the tipi, at the south and west of 
the Lodge-Maker. 


The secret of the symbolic manner of filling the sacred pipe was, 
until this year, known only to Hawkan, and was not witnessed by the 
author in 1901. Hawkan, however, fearing longer to be the sole 
owner of this right, the privilege, together with the manner of filling 
the pipe, were consequently transmitted by him to Watanah. The 
ceremony was performed in the Rabbit-tipi, of course, at about five 
o'clock in the afternoon of the second day of the erection of that 
lodge. In 1901, the pipe was filled earlier in the day, and should have 
been filled in 1902 just after the preparation and decoration of the 
rawhide lariat. 

Seating himself just south of the skull, he picked up a small 
bundle, which, up to this time, had been lying by the side of the paints 
and other paraphernalia south of the skull, which he unwrapped, dis- 
closing a black stone pipe enveloped in a very ancient looking oriole's 
nest, frorn which the pipe was removed and placed upon the nest. 
Hawkan then spread a piece of cloth in front of the pipe, upon which 
he deposited five pinches of tobacco, placing the first one in the south- 
east corner, the second one in the southwest, the third in the north- 
west, the fourth one in the northeast, and the fifth one in the center. 

54 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

To each pile of tobacco, following the same sunwise circuit, he then 
added a small pinch of black paint. Next was added a pinch of red 
paint to each of the piles. He then, with the first finger of his right 
hand, shoved each of the four outlying piles to the central pile, beginning 
with that of the southeast. To the single pile thus formed, he added 
additional tobacco, and thoroughly mixed the tobacco with the paint. 

Touching his forefinger to the ground, and then touching his 
tongue, and taking a bite of root, he spat four times toward the pipe, 
picked it up, added an old straight stem, circular in shape, in ^cross 
section, which iie fastened to the bowl, tying it by means of a cord, 
which, up to this time, had been loosely wrapped around the bowl, and 
then uttered a prayer. He then rested the point of the stem upon 
the ground and held the pipe with both hands, with the bowl up. 
Chanitoe took up a pinch of tobacco, spat toward the bowl, and placed 
the tobacco inside of the bowl. He did this a second, third, fourth, 
and fifth time, being careful as he added each pinch to follow the cere- 
monial circuit, the fifth pinch of tobacco being added to the pipe in 
the center of the bowl. Hdwkan tamped the tobacco down four times, 
performing first, however, with the tamper, the five ceremonial mo- 
tions. He then handed the tamper to Chanitoe, who went through the 
same performance. The latter gave a piece of tallow to Hdwkan, who 
rolled it in the black paint. He then spat upon it five times and rolled 
it into a little ball, with which he touched the rim of the bowl of the pipe 
five times, beginning on the southeast corner and ending in the center; 
the mouth of the bowl was thus covered with the blackened tallow. 

Hdwkan now gave the pipe to Chanitoe, who held it perpendicular 
to his body, with the bowl up, and pressed it, first on his right breast, 
and then on the left, then right, then left, and then along the middle 
line of his body. He then deposited it just south of the buffalo skull, 
the bowl extending toward the fireplace and the end of the stem rest- 
ing on the right horn of the buffalo skull. 


In the mean time, Wadnibe, the wife of Hdwkan, left the lodge 
and returned shortly with a cottonwood billet, about one and one-half 
inches in diameter and about three and a half feet long. This she 
fashioned into a digging-stick by decorticating and sharpening it at one 
end. She then handed it to Waakdtani, who daubed it all over with 
red paint. Nadseh (Walking-Around), or Grant Left-Hand, a member 
of the Star society, now brought in a bunch of long, tough grass about 
two feet in length, which he passed to Hdwkan, who laid it on the 
ground in front of him. He next took two long pieces of sinew, tied 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 55 

them together at one end, and painted one of the strings red and the 
other black. He then took three small strings of sinew, which he also 
painted red and black. These he placed with the bunch of grass, and 
with the long string of sinew he fastened the bundle of grass to the 
digging-stick. While these long blades of grass were being fastened 
to the digging-stick, Watdnah and Wdaksenna (Bear's-Lariat) each told 
a war story, at the conclusion of which they trimmed with the double- 
edged knife the upper ends of the blades of grass, even with the blunt 
end of the digging-stick. The digging-stick was now thrust through a 
large piece of buffalo tallow from the tenderloin, which had first been 
painted half red and half black. The digging-stick, with its grass and 
sinew appendage, was now also laid by the side of the buffalo skull. 


In view of the importance of this object, which occupies such a 
prominent position among the objects connected with the center-pole, 
a full description of its preparation during the 1902 ceremony will be 
of interest. 

After the completion of the decoration of the buffalo skull, 
Nishnat^yana brought into the Rabbit-tipi one of the forked sticks 
used on the previous day in staking out the buffalo. Hdwkan received 
it and marked upon it the place where it should be cut, in order that 
it might be of the proper length. He then passed the stick to his 
wife, who placed it in front of Hdcheni, and knelt, placing her hands 
upon his head. She then addressed to him a supplication: 

th/yeh's prayer to h6cheni. 

"Now, please, old man, be merciful to me! I am about to cut 
the digging-stick in proper length. I have laid everything aside, 
because I took pity on the Lodge-Maker, my grandchild. Although I 
do not know the method of cutting this digging-stick, may I do the 
act in harmony and sympathy with our Man-Above, in order that the 
great undertaking may be easy and light for all. Since you are here, 
old man, you are here as a true representative of the great lodge; may 
this digging-stick bind us all, that we may succeed in life, and that this 
lodge may be carried out in good faith, so thdt it may bring for us a 
gentle blessing from our Father!" 

Hocheni then touched the ground with the tip of the forefinger of 
his right hand, touched it to his tongue, took a bite of root, and 
touched with his finger the five ceremonial points in the palms of her 
outstretched hands, each motion being accompanied by the usual 
slight ejection of spittle. He then repeated the latter performance 

56 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

on each side of her head, and once in the palms of his own hands, 
which he rubbed over his head, and once again on the palms of his 
own hands, which he rubbed down her body. She then took up an 
axe, and as he spat toward the mark indicated by Hdwkan, where the 
pole was to be cut, she made the four usual passes, and then touched 
the pole with the edge of the axe. She then went outside of the tipi 
and cut the pole at this point. 

In the mean time, Nishnat^yana had left the lodge and now 
returned with a bundle of sinew, which he gave to Hawkan. Presently 
the wife of Nishnat^yana entered, with the digging-stick, which she 
passed to Hdwkan, who, in turn, gave it to Watdnah, who smoothed its 
edges with a knife. 

After the stick had been prepared, the priests on the south side 
sat in the following order, beginning next the skull: Nishnat^yana, 
Watanah, Hawkan, Hocheni, Watangaa, Chanitoe, and Debithe. 
H6cheni passed Hawkan a piece of root. The latter touched the 
ground with his forefinger, touched it to his tongue, took a bite of 
root, and spat in his hands five times, placed the stick and sinew 
in front of him, and prayed : 

hAwkan's prayer to digging-stick. 

"My Father, Man- Above! My Grandmother! I pray you to look 
down on us! You Four-Old-Men, be merciful to us all! May this 
great occasion be sincere, and meet with the approval ot the spirits, 
the messengers of Man-Above! This stick belongs to you; it has 
been used upon many occasions, and now we again come to you to ask 
the privilege that the stick, which is the living part of every house- 
hold, may be made just and holy in your sight. Our old men and 
women have left us on this earth with poor knowledge of your secrets; 
so help us to do these things in harmony with you! Let this stick be 
the upholding power for us, to keep our people in good health here- 
after! May the making of this digging-stick be an aid to us; may it 
bind our people together! May love prevail in the tribe! May this 
great task be light for the Lodge-Maker and for all!" 

Hdcheni then, after the usual rite, spat upon the stick four times, 
at the same time making the customary passes toward it with the pipe- 
stem. At the fifth instance, he touched the stick with the stem and 
rubbed it back and forth, over both stem and sinew. Hdwkan now 
took up the sinew and began shredding it, while Watdnah opened the 
bags of red and black paint. After Hdwkan had torn the sinew into 
shreds, he gave one to Watdngaa, two to Chanitoe, two to Debithe, 
and two to Nishnatdyana, while he himself retained two. The priests 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 57 

then moistened the sinew in their mouths and smoothed them out and 
twisted them, Hawkan tying his two together at one end, thus forming 
a string of double length. 

A live coal was now passed into the lodge by one of the messen- 
gers, which was placed in the open space southeast of the skull. Cedar 
leaves were placed upon ifby Hdwkan. Watanah rubbed some tallow 
in the red paint, which he smeared thoroughly between the palms of 
his hands and made the five motions over the rising incense, holding 
the palms of his hands, first so that the left hand was uppermost and 
reversing the position of the two hands, the second, third, and fourth 
time, and at the fifth holding them so that the palms were perpendicu- 
lar. He picked up the stick, and beginning at the sharpened end, 
gave it a thorough coat of red paint. Hawkan gave the black paint 
to Watdngaa and to Chanitoe, who painted four of the sinew strings 
black. Hawkan and Watdnah painted the other three red, while the 
double string was painted half red and half black. When the painting 
of the sinew strings was completed, Hdwkan laid them out in front of 
him, parallel, the four black ones being at the right side and the three 
red ones on the left, while the double string was placed between them, 
with its black end lying diagonally across the black string and the red 
end diagonally across the red. 

Hdwkan took up a large bunch of sword grass which had been 
brought in by one of the priests, and explained to Watdnah, who now 
stood up and held the pole in front of him, point down, about the 
method of attaching the grass to the pole. Still standing, Watdnah 
completely enveloped the pole with the grass, the stems of which 
projected beyond the pole to the extent of about six inches. The 
four black sinews were then added to the grass bundle on the south 
side, while the three red sinews were added on the north. Debithe 
and Watdnah took the double string and passed it around the pole, 
wit.h its accompanying grass envelope and the sinews, and tied them 
in position. Hdwka*n now selected from the remaining bundle of 
grass three small bunches, which he braided together and tied to the 
digging-stick, the small end of the braid pointing in the direction of 
the sharpened end of the stick. The pole was deposited in front of 
the priests with the point toward the east. 

Nishchdnakati now related a war story, in which the taking of a 
scalp played a prominent part. The digging-stick was passed to him, 
and with a double-edged knife, or dagger, he trimmed off the grass 
which projected beyond the stick, and passed it to Watdnah, who put 
it back against the west wall ot the lodge, with the point toward the 
north, where it was to remain until required on the following day. 

58 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 


In connection with the further preparation of the digging-stick 
occurred an amusing incident in the 1902 performance, at noon on the 
following day, when as the priests were about to leave the Rabbit-tipi 
Hdwkan reminded them that all preparations were not yet complete. 
It has been pointed out before,that this conscientious priest was desir- 
ous that others should share with him the knowledge and ability to 
perform the routine rites of the Rabbit-tipi, and on this year, he 
warned some of his pupils, especially Watdnah and Watdngaa, that he 
should expect them to be on the alert. They had completely forgot- 
ten the fact, which they must have observed on previous years, that 
before the digging-stick could be regarded as complete, it must be 
thrust through a piece of tallow decorated in a certain manner. 
Hdwkan had said nothing on this subject on the previous day and had 
awaited, thus testing his pupils as to their ability properly to conduct 
the lodge. A messenger, therefore, was sent to one of the tipis in the 
circle, and soon returned with a large piece of beef tallow, from the 
tenderloin. Hawkan now instructed Nishnat^yana in cutting out a 
piece from the tallow, about six inches square. Hdwkan then assumed 
a position previously occupied by Nishnat^yana, next to the buffalo 
skull. Hdcheni then moved up nearer the skull, placed the forefinger 
of his right hand upon the ground, then to his tongue, took a bite of 
root, and spat five times upon the tallow, which had been placed in 
front of him. A live coal was now placed in front of Hdwkan, 

Taking the black paint, Hdwkan drew a straight line diagonally 
across the tallow from east to west. Nishnat^yana drew a similar 
line parallel to this, with red paint, and painted the half toward the 
north red. In the mean time, Hdwkan had painted the remaining half 
black. This side of the tallow was then turned down and Hdwkan 
painted the other side entirely black. H6cheni again moved forward 
and took up the knife. He now told a war story, and then cut out a 
piece of tallow, circular in shape, in the center, thus "scalping" it, in 
accordance with the war story which he had just related. Hdwkan 
took the digging-stick and thrust the sharp end of it through this 
circular incision in the tallow, the latter being so held that the back 
side was uppermost, while the side painted half red and half black 
consequently was in the direction of the sharpened end of the stick. 
It was then replaced in the position it had occupied over night, at the 
west wall of the tipi. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 59 


A knife of the proper character was not used during the ceremony 
of 1901, owing to the fact that it was not possible to secure one in the 
camp. The knife this year was obtained from Burnt-All-Over, a 
Cheyenne, who gave it to VVaatanakashi and Niwaat. It was brought 
into the tipi on the morning of the third day and placed with the other 
ceremonial paraphernalia, south of the skull. Its preparation took 
place just after the completion of the rites attendant upon the manu- 
facture of the digging-stick. 

Hdwkan gave shreds of sinew to Chanitoe, Watdngaa, Watdnah, 
and Debithe to prepare. Of these, three were painted red and four 
were painted black, the rite being the same as that used in preparing and 
painting the sinews for the digging-stick. Waakdtani then brought in 
a bunch of sage, which he passed to Hdwkan. The latter divided it 
into seven piles, which he laid in front of him. Two unpainted pieces 
of sinew were then fastened together at one end and one half was 
painted black, the other red. The paint bags were then placed south 
of the skull, by the side of the badger. Watangaa now painted four 
sage stems black, while Watdnah painted three red. The four black 
pieces of sage were then placed by the side of the black sinews, and 
the three red sage stems by the side of the red sinews. 

Hdwkan 1|hen took up the dagger and held it in front of him, 
pointing it toward the east. Watdngaa then made four passes with 
his hands and painted the south side black, beginning with the point 
of the blade and painting toward the handle. Watdnah painted the 
north side of the blade red, beginning with the handle and painting 
toward the blade. Hdwkan took up the black sage and the four black 
sinews and laid them against the side of the knife painted black, while 
the red sage and red sinew were placed against the side of the knife 
painted red. The sage and sinew were then bound in position by 
means of the double thong. The knife was now deposited on the 
south side of the buffalo skull, the point being toward the west, with 
the black side consequently next the skull. 

The dagger to be used for this purpose should be new, so that all may 
have new spirits and greater energy, for an old knife has lost its life. 


Next, Hdwkan took three pieces of sinew and painted them red, 
and four similar-sized pieces which he painted black, making seven in 
all, symbolic of the seven periods of the world's history, according to 
Arapaho mythology. From a large bundle of grass, which had also 

6o Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV, 

been brought in by Chanitoe, Hdwkan made a large object in a globu- 
lar form at one end, by bending the blades of grass double, the ends 
of which were cut off even at one end. This he now painted half black 
and half red, and placed it in the nasal skeleton of the buffalo skull. 
In the mean time, Chanitoe had made two similar objects, one of 
which he painted black and the other red. The black one he placed 
in the socket of the right eye of the skull, and the red one in the left. 
Hdwkan, Chanitoe, Waakatani, and Debithe now proceeded to paint 
the skull. A small black dot was painted on the right side of the skull 
just in front of the eye-socket. In a corresponding position on the 
left was painted in red a crescent-shaped design. Along the median 
line of the skull they next proceeded to paint two lines, one black on 
the right side, and a red parallel line on the left. The remaining por- 
tion of the skull was then painted in rows of dots, those on the right 
being black, while those on the left were red. The painting of the 
skull was completed by their daubing black paint on the right horn, 
and red paint on the left. The skull was now replaced in its position 
west of the fireplace. 


This ceremony, as witnessed in 1902, followed the painting of the 
buffalo robe in the forenoon of the third day. Watanah lifted the 
Wheel from its support, which was then pulled up and thrust in 
the ground north of the skull, when the Wheel was replaced. Debithe 
took up the skull and sat down in the southwest corner of the lodge, 
placing the skull in front of him. Hocheni then went through the 
usual motions of touching the ground with his finger, then his tongue, 
taking a bite of root, spitting five times, and making the usual cere- 
monial passes with the pipe-stem. 

Hdwkan provided the usual spruce leaves, which he placed over 
a live coal near the skull. Watdngaa and Chanitoe then mixed black 
paint with tallow, given them by Watdnah, while Debithe and Watdnah 
mixed tallow with red paint. The four made the five ceremonial 
passes over the incense, having first thoroughly rubbed the palms of 
their hands in the paint. The two men having the black paint then 
proceeded to paint a slender line from the anterior part to the back of 
the skull. Thus the line was said to have been given. The other two, 
meantime, painted a parallel line in red, but began at the base of the 
skull and painted toward the anterior end. By this movement the 
paint was received. These two lines, traversing the entire length of 
the skull, were on either side of the median suture, the red line being 
on the left or north side of the suture. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 61 

The four next painted a row of parallel dots on either side of 
these two lines, Debithe and Watdnah painting a row of red dots to 
the left of the red line, while Watangaa and Chanitoe painted a row 
of black dots on the right side of the black line. The remaining sur- 
face of the skull was then filled in with similar dots, those on the right 
being black, while those on the left were red. Then, at the base of 
the skull, on the right, was painted a small circle in black, represent- 
ing both the full moon and the sun, while in a correspondingly opposite 
position, on the left side of the skull was painted in red a crescent, 
representing the first quarter of the moon, and also known as the 

Sage then took the Wheel and held it, while Watanah, extending 
his hands in the direction of the skull four times, picked it up and 
placed it in its proper position. Then, with four similar motions with 
his hands, th^ head of the robe was placed over the skull, while the 
Wheel was again replaced in position, just north of the center of 
the skull. 

Further preparation of the skull was deferred until after the dig- 
ging-stick and the double-edged knife had been ceremoniously deco- 
rated, when work on the skull was resumed. 

From a large bunch of "grass" which had already been drawn 
upon to furnish material for the scalp for the digging-stick, Hdwkan 
took three bunches, one of which he gave to Watdngaa, another to 
Watanah, retaining one himself. The bunches were about similar in 
size, and the method employed in their preparation by the three men 
was the same, " Watdngaa and Watdnah imitating the movements of 
Hdwkan. Grasping in his right hand the bundle, which was three 
inches in diameter, at a point about six inches from the base of the 
stems, he divided the free ends of the bundle, turning or doubling 
them back from the center, over that portion of the grass which he 
held in his hand. He then took a small bundle of stems, which he 
wrapped around the bundle at this point. Next, the bundle was 
thoroughly tied with sinew at a point about four inches from the place 
where the stems were doubled, the free ends then being trimmed off 
squarely and evenly with a knife, just beyond the point where the 
stems were tied. 

Two of the bundles were now inserted in the orbits of the skull 
without ceremony. It should be noted that owing to the remarkable 
state of preservation of the buffalo skull (which had been brought from 
Wyoming by the Lodge-Maker) there still remained over the right 
eye-socket a piece of skin, which was removed with difficulty. Before 
attempting to remove it, however, Hdcheni went through the usual 

6a Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

performance of touching his finger to the ground, to his mouth, and 
taking a bite of root and making the four customary passes with the 
pipe-stem, ejecting spittle at the same time, upon the piece of skin 
about to be removed. 

Watdnah now painted the grass bundle in the south eye-socket 
black, while Watanah painted the one in the north eye-socket red. 
The nose piece was now inserted. First, however, Hocheni pointed 
with the pipe-stem and ejected spittle four times, while Nishnat^yana 
motioned with the grass object four times, before inserting it in place. 
It was then painted by those two men, Watangaa painting the half on 
the south side black, while Watdnah painted the half on the north side 
red. This painting was done without accompanying rites. The 
buffalo robe, which had been lying back of the skull during this time, 
was now replaced. 


It has been stated above that the Lodge-Maker, on the preceding 
night, when he entered the Rabbit-tipi, wore a buffalo robe. This 
was now spread out on the floor of the lodge, the hair side upwards, 
and with the head toward the east. Hdwkan now daubed the upper 
surface with moist white clay, painting first one half and then the 
other. On the neck and between the hind legs, he made a crescent- 
shaped device with thick white earth. These designs represented 
respectively the sun and moon. He now drew a white line extending 
outward on each side from both the sun and moon symbols. These 
lines were symbolic of the Four-Old-Men, who play such an important 
part in Arapaho mythology. The white paint itself, with which the 
robe had been treated, in former time was made of the ashes of a 
buffalo, and is supposed to represent the color of the sun. The robe 
as now painted is hereafter to be worn throughout the ceremony by the 

In the mean time, according to instructions, some boys had 
secured a rabbit, which they had hunted down and captured alive, for 
it must not be struck with a stone or shot. After the rabbit is taken 
alive, its breath is pressed from its body, thereby transferring the life- 
element of the rabbit to its hide. It had been skinned, and the hide 
was now brought into the lodge. It was cut up into small pieces 
about two inches square. Hdwkan, Debithe, Chanitoe, Watdnah, and 
others tied the bits here and there over the robe, with pieces of sinew. 
The robe bears ceremonial resemblance to the Rabbit-tipi itself. 

The above account was gathered from Hdwkan, for the decoration 
of the Lodge-Maker's robe was not observed in 1901. The entire 

May, T903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 63 

performance was witnessed, however, during the ceremony of 1902, 
and is here given. It is evident from what follows, that the bunches 
of rabbit fur were preserved from the 1901 celebration. 

An old buffalo robe, devoid of ornamentation or decoration, was 
brought into the Rabbit-tipi by Nishnat^yana, grandfather of the 
Lodge-Maker, oh the morning of the second day, immediately after 
the cleansing of a certain individual by the Wheel, as has already been 
described in connection with the account of the Wheel. The robe was 
passed back to the Lodge-Maker, who used it for a pillow, while the 
concluding ceremonies of the Wheel were being performed. 

After the Wheel had been restored to its usual place, Nishnat^yana 
knelt in front of Hawkan, and placing both hands upon his head, he 
uttered a prayer. At the same time, the wife of Nishnat^yana knelt 
in front of Debithe and touched the ground with the tips of the fingers 
of the two hands, which she then placed on Debithe's head. The 
latter then placed the tips of the fingers of the right hand on the 
ground and uttered a prayer, touched the tips of the fingers of his two 
hands to the ground, then bit off a small piece of root, spat in her 
hands, which she then rubbed over her body. Thiyeh then held out 
the extended palms of her two hands close together, while Debithe 
touched them in the usual ceremonial fashion five times, the last time 
being in the center of the two hands, spitting into her hands each 
time, as he touched it. She then sat down just back of the Wheel. 
Hdwkan now went out and returned with a bunch of fresh wild sage 
and sat down to the south of Thiyeh, while Nishnat^yana sat down to 
the south of Hdwkan. The remaining personages on this, the south 
side, of the lodge, were in order, Nishchdnakati, Chanitoe, Hocheni, 
and Debithe. Hdwkan now divided the sage into five bundles, which 
he placed in front of himself. On this bed of sage he placed a leathern 
sack and some object wrapped in an old piece of calico, both of which 
he took from their position just south of the skull. Hdwkan now 

At the conclusion of the prayer, Nishchdnakati took a bite of root 
in his mouth and pointed toward the leathern bundle with the pipe- 
stem, beginning with the southeast corner, then at the southwest, 
northwest, northeast, and center, spitting toward the bundle each 
time as he pointed. Thiyeh then opened the leathern bag, which was 
found to contain the belt, already mentioned in connection with the 
Wheel, and a small bundle containing pieces of rabbit skin. The belt 
was replaced in the leathern sack. • 

Of the pieces of rabbit skin there were many in number, from 
which Hdwkan proceeded to select seven, which were of especial 

64 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

importance, and which he arranged in front of him. The first piece 
deposited was the tail of the rabbit, and had attached to it a small 
bunch of red horsehair, and a root known as the "crazy root." 

The first piece was to form the center or heart of the animal, the 
tail itself being black, and the red horsehair representing the "fire," 
as it is called, or the life or blood. The second piece was deposited 
about three inches in front of this, and represented the nose of the 
rabbit. Attached to this piece of rabbit skin was a root known as the 
"comb-weed." The third piece was placed in line with these two, 
but to the west of number one, and represented the tail of the rabbit. 
Attached to it was a root known as the "burning root." On each side 
of this line of the three pieces of rabbit skin were then placed two 
additional pieces of rabbit skin, forming respectively the fore and hind 
legs of the rabbit. Attached to the piece representing the right or 
south fore leg was a bit of root known as "dog root." The root 
attached to the right or south hind leg was of the plant known as the 
"old-woman's-travois. " The root attached to the piece representing 
the fore leg on the left or north side, was of the cockle-burr, while 
attached to the piece of rabbit skin representing the hind leg was a 
piece of sage. 

The buffalo robe was now removed from behind the Lodge-Maker 
and spread out with the fur side up, in front of the priests sitting on 
the south side. Nishchanakati now took a bite of root and spat in his 
hands five times; then taking the pipe-stem, he pointed with it to the 
center of the robe, spitting at the same time, then at the southeast 
corner, southwest, northwest, and northeast corners of the robe. He 
then pointed the end of the pipe-stem promiscuously over the robe. 

Hdwkan and Chanitoe took a bite of root, and each spat in the 
palms of his hands five times, according to the usual ceremonial 
circuit; then they rubbed their hands up and down their bodies and 
arms and on their heads. Chanitoe then took a bowl containing the 
so-called "lime-paint" or white clay, and began painting the robe at 
the southeast corner. Assisted by Hdwkan, he painted a narrow strip, 
about three inches in width, entirely around the outer edge of the 
robe. Then they smeared paint over a considerable extent of the 

It is the intention to decorate the robe with the lime-paint accord- 
ing to the decoration of the old Arapaho ceremonial robe, but of course 
the decoration bears only a general resemblance to the symbolism 
formerly employed. Then the two priests attached the seven bunches 
of rabbit fur to the robe, in the proper position, placing first the heart 
piece in the center of the robe, the nose piece at the front end of the 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 65 

robe, and the other pieces in their correspondingly proper positions. 
Other pieces of rabbit fur were now attached to the robe here and 
there promiscuously. The limbs of the buffalo are now wrapped, the 
pieces of fur being likened to the buffalo chips which are used to wrap 
a baby. 

Debithe now brought into the lodge live coals, one of which was 
placed just in front of the forward end of the robe, upon which he 
deposited a pinch of spruce leaves. After the robe had thus been 
incensed, it was returned to the Lodge-Maker, who placed it behind 


Inquiry, after the conclusion of the Sun Dance, brought to light 
certain interesting information at variance in one or two details from 
that obtained in the Rabbit-tipi; according to this information the fur 
of the rabbit is used for the reason that the animals are harmless and 
clean. The rabbit fur, comprising seven pieces in all, is arranged to 
represent the picture or symbol of a buffalo bull. In the center of the 
robe is drawn in white clay, a streak representing a road or path ; a 
white circular spot in the center of the path represents the sun, the 
idea being thus expressed that the Offerings-lodge is in progress. 

Attached to the seven pieces of fur were the seven roots of certain 
plants, each root being considered the foundation of a certain special 
lodge, although in each lodge there are generally two or more roots 
used, one for spittle, to be used upon persons, the other to be used 
upon objects. In each lodge there is also used the leaves of one or 
more plants or trees for incense. 

The arrangement of the roots upon the robe should be, according 
to my second informant, as in the diagram here given. 


^— ^ Dog root ^—^ 
Cockle bom ^—^ Main root 
^-^ Craiyroot y^^ 
Strong root y' — \ Lump-bick Too*, 

66 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

The following is the symbolic significance of each root: the .dog 
root, called also Bear's medicine, at the anterior end of the robe, 
represents purity, protection, and expectation; the crazy root is 
characterized as a mixture, it takes precedence over all law and 
order, everything is reversed; sage represents the food of the rabbit, 
and consequently the fur of the rabbit; main root, when well cooked, 
induces peace, comfort, quietude; cockle-burr represents the desire to 
marry, the quest of a wife or of a husband; lump-back root signifies 
old age; strong root is holy, sacred, good medicine. 

To illustrate the significance of the symbolism of the cockle-burr, 
reference was had to a well-known Arapaho myth, to be cited later on 
in a different connection, of which the following abstract was given: 

After Nih'a"9a" had been taken out of the river by the women, 
when he was floating down with the current with an elk skull on his 
head, and after the skull had been broken in pieces by the women, 
Nih*a°9a° told the sisters, as he called them, to louse him; so they 
did. It was a sultry day. Nih'a^^a" laid his head on the women's 
laps and went to sleep. Seeing that he was fast asleep, the women 
got up, went away from him, and gathered many cockle-burrs, which 
they placed in his hair, and left him. As he rolled about, the cockle- 
burrs adhered tightly, drawing his face out of shape. He soon woke 
up. His head and face paining him, he placed his hand on his head 
and found that the cockle-burrs had collected so thickly and were 
imbedded so tightly in his hair, that he set to work and cut his hair 
off very close. • 

Those cockle-burrs were the women swimming in the river; some 
were swimming when he was at some distance from them; but they 
were really cockle-burrs. In this sense they wanted him for a husband. 

Fragmentary information was also obtained as to the special use 
of certain of the above-mentioned roots in some of the warrior soci- 
eties, and as the robe, in its widest significance, embraces the lodges 
of these societies, this information is here given: 

Offerings-lodge — Spruce and cedar only are used for incense. 
Strong root and lump-back root are used for spittle. Dog root, main 
root, sage, cockle-burrs, and crazy root are used on the robe. 

Water-Pouring or Old-Men's Lodge — The use of the strong root 
is confined to this and the Offerings-lodge, but the informant had no 
knowledge of the manner of its use. 

Sweat-lodge — The dog root is used for ejecting spittle both upon 
persons and upon objects. Main root only is used for the incense in 
the "navel." Red and black paints are used for the body; the men 
carrv rattles and buffalo tails. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 67 

• Dog-soldiers'-Lodge — The following brief outline of a myth was 
given for the origin of the dog root: 

"The camp-circle moved to another place. A man who happened 
to be out for game, came to the old camp-ground and found a little 
dog that was very poor in flesh and about to die. Sympathizing with 
the poor dog, he led it to the river, but it was so helpless, on account 
of loss of strength, that he left it and went in search of food for the 
dog; but failing to find food, he brought over a good-tasting root and 
gave it to the poor dog. The dog relished the root, and regained his 

"The dog appreciated the good will of the man, and in return had 
compassion on him, and sat down and painted the Dog-soldiers' lodge. 
The dog also gave him directions for erecting the lodge, and the 
routine of the ceremony; and thus the lodge came into existence." 

In this lodge the dog root is used for spittle on both persons and 
objects. Main root, tied to the lariat, is used for incense. Black 
and red paint are used because the Offerings-lodge contains these 
colors, and the Dog-soldiers lift the center-pole — carry the burden of 
the tribe. 

Club-Board Lodge — Dog root is used for spittle upon persons 
before they are painted and also upon objects before they are altered. 
Sage and sweet-grass are used for incense during the painting of the 
lodge, various colors being used; cockle-burrs are represented at 
different portions of the body. The buffalo wallow painted like the 
tallow, already described, half black, half red, made in the center 
of the lodge, is the emblem of this society. 

Thunderbird Lodge — Same as the Club-Board; the painting of 
the body, however, is different. 

Lime-Crazy Lodge — Dog root is used for spittle before painting 
and before making weapons. Sage and sweet-grass are used for 
incense. Crazy root is used to punish misdemeanors, to preserve 
order, and to heal in certain ways. The root is also tied to Lime- 
Crazy's robe, to his private robe, to his cap, and bow and arrows. 
Sweet-grass is used for incense. 

When the bodies are painted in colors, the image of an owl is 
made on the front of the body, beginning at the forehead and extend- 
ing to the lower extremities. The owl is imitated by the men of this 
society. Since the owl is troublesome to the people, the men behave 
the same way; but in the color symbolism of the lodge, red is used on 
the west side, black on the east. 

Buffalo-Women's Lodge — Dog root is used for spittle, both for 
bodies and for objects. Sweet-grass is used for incense. Cockle-burrs 

68 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

. are represented on the bodies and limbs, for the reason that buffalo 
bear them on their bodies. Red and black paints are used. In paint- 
ing the faces of the women, a heart is represented on the forehead, 
while at the corners of the mouth, horns are represented. A dark line 
is drawn across the chin, and a dot upon the nose, representing the 
buffalo calf. 

Old-Women's Lodge — Dog root is used as in the Buffalo-Women's 
Lodge. Main root is used for incense. 


A small willow stick, about three feet in length, was now brought 
in and handed to Hawkan, who sharpened it at one end and split the 
other end to a short distance, forming a crotch. Debithe now went 
after the owner of the Wheel, who upon entering unwrapped the Wheel 
and placed it in the fork of the willow stick, which was now thrust in 
the ground in an upright position just behind the buffalo skull. In 
1902 the Wheel was brought into the Rabbit-tipi on the first day of 
its erection, 


The time had now arrived when it was necessary to bring in a buffalo 
hide. It has been above stated, in the account of the preceding day, 
that a buffalo robe had been staked out on a hill behind the camp. 
This had been done by Naaseh (Little-Chief) and Hebethengn (Big- 
Nose). It should have fallen to the lot of old Chief Ndwaht (Left- 
Hand) to have killed the buffalo and bring its hide back to the camp; 
but on account of his great age and partial blindness, Heichdbiwa was 
selected. He started out, consequently, on horseback, with two men 
of the Star society to show him the way. They arrived where the skin 
had been erected on the previous night. Heich^biwa made a speech, 
and then shot at it. The robe was passed to him by the men of the 
Star society and he returned to the Rabbit-tipi with it. Here he was 
received by Hdcheni, who took the bridle reins from his hands and 
offered a prayer. Ndwaht also offered a prayer, told his war story, 
and received the robe from Heich^biwa. With the assistance of the 
others, Ndwaht now stretched the skin on the ground. Debithe then 
brought out from the lodge a live coal on the end of a forked stick and 
placed it in front of the robe and upon the coal sprinkled spruce twigs. 
The men then lifted the robe up, and in unison swung it gently towards 
the rising incense four times, and then passed the robe over the coal 
until the smoke had thoroughly covered it. They now entered the 


Second Day, 1902. 

To the right, and in the background are two of the warrior societies return- 
ing from the timber with Offerings-lodge poles. 



Pl. XV. The Capture of the Buffalo. Second Day, 1902. 

Heich^biwa, mounted upon a horse, offering prayer before the ceremonial 
capture of the buffalo. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 69 

It was now about sundown, and within a short time there were 
gathered within the lodge, Hdwkan, Hocheni, WanakSyl (Row-of- 
Lodges), Wdaksenna, Kanathekahade, and many other important 
participants of the ceremony, both male and female. Fresh fuel was 
now added to the fire by some of the older warriors, each in turn tell- 
ing his war story before placing the wood upon the fire. 

Wanakayl, Kanathekahade, and Waatannak now made some 
alterations in the buffalo robe, making it ready for use later in the 


In the performance of 1902, the ceremonial capture of the buffalo 
took place just before sundown, also on this the evening of the second 
day of the Rabbit-tipi. On account ot the scarcity of buffalo robes 
in the camp, and on account of the feeling on the part of the priests 
that there should be no substitute for the buffalo robe, for reasons 
already given, considerable difficulty was experienced in securing a 
robe which would answer the purpose. As a matter of fact, the 
priests were finally obliged to resort to two halves of robes, which up 
to this time, had been used as leanback coverings. These were 
fastened together along the median edge by means of buckskin thongs. 

As the time approached for the capture, Nishnat^yana took the 
robe, together with two forked poles about six feet in height, and a 
straight pole about eight feet in length, and proceeded to a spot about 
half-way between the eastern opening of the camp-circle and the 
Rabbit-tipi. There he placed the uprights in position and in their 
forks the cross-bar, over which he threw the robe, the head facing the 
south. (See Plate XIV.) 

The aged warrior, Heich^biwa, was then placed upon a pony, and 
a gun was given him. He started in the direction of the buffalo, 
imitating the movements of spying out an enemy. Having approached 
it, he charged upon it, then stopped (see Plate XV.), shot it, and went 
through the movement of scalping it. Nishnat^yana then rode back 
to the Rabbit-tipi, where he was met by Chief Ndwaht. Taking the 
pony by the bridle, Chief Ndwaht related a war story, lifted the robe 
from the horse, and put it upon the ground, the head facing west. 

A live coal was brought in from the lodge by Nishnateyana, 
together with a bag of spruce leaves. The coal was placed in front 
of the robe, and upon it a pinch of leaves. Watangaa and Nishnate- 
yana, with both hands, picked up the robe by the middle of the back 
and carried it in a sinuous motion over the rising incense. The head 
of the robe was allowed to rest for a moment upon the pile of earth 

7© Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

lying just to the east of the Rabbit-tipi, made after the preparation of 
the fireplace on the previous day. Hdwkan now came outside with a 
rattle and began singing a song, accompanied by Chanitoe and 
Debithe. The robe was then carried on inside the lodge by Watdngaa 
and Nishnat^yana. Inside the lodge it was also passed over incense 
and was deposited on the ground south of the fireplace. Chanitoe then 
lifted the Wheel from its position and Watdngaa and Nishnat^yana 
again picked up the robe as before and carried it on, back of the skull, 
where it was deposited with the head of the robe covering the skull. 
The Wheel was then replaced upon its support, which was thrust into 
the ground just to the north of the skull. The newer calico wrappings 
were thrown over the Wheel and all inside the Rabbit-tipi now left and 
gathered just outside, where Chief Nawaht told a number of war stories. 
Later in the evening, when the priests had returned within the 
Rabbit-tipi, Nishchanakati removed the robe from the position which 
it had occupied over and back of the skull, and spread it out in the 
space to the south of the fireplace. Sitting down by the side of it, he 
then related a war story and began trimming the edge of the robe, 
saying as he did so, that in that fashion had he forced the enemy to 
the ground and taken his scalp. In accordance with custom there was 
now heard, as at many times throughout the Sun Dance and other 
Indian ceremonies, a number of sharp, piercing cries, uttered by 
Debithe, and imitative of those formerly uttered by women on the 
return of the victorious war party. After the robe had been trimmed 
properly, it was put back in its former position, to the west and over 
the skull, the tail of the robe reaching the western wall of the tipi. 
Nishchanakati, in accordance with his privilege, retained those portions 
of the buffalo hide which had been cut away. These he placed behind 
him as he took his accustomed seat in the circle. Food was then 
brought in, the sacrifice made, and the usual feast followed. 


The decoration of the hide, during the 1902 performance, was 
deferred until early in the forenoon of the following or third morning, 
and was done while the Lodge-Maker with his substitute were making 
the round of the camp-circle collecting presents. Inasmuch, however, 
as under ordinary circumstances, the decoration of the robe would, 
presumably, have followed its being trimmed and fashioned in proper 
shape by one of the priests, the account is given at this place: 

Wdtanah, who as it will be remembered, was present as a pupil of 
Hdwkan, and next to him in knowledge of the ceremony, now sat 
down to the south of the skull, with Hocheni at his right. Holding 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 71 

the palms of his two hands in front of H6cheni, the latter touched the 
tips of the fingers of his right hand to the ground, then to his mouth, 
bit off a small portion of the root, and spat five times in the hands of 
Watanah, the ceremonial circuit being followed. Watdngaa then knelt 
in front of Hoclieni, who went through the same performance with 
his hands. 

Watdngaa and Wdtanah then took the hide from behind and over 
the buffalo skull, where it had been lying during t"he night and placed 
it in the open space south of the fireplace, the forward end of the hide 
being directed toward the east. The bags of red paint were next 
placed in front of Hocheni by Wdtanah, who went through the usual 
motions, and who touched them and spat upon them and touched them 
with the pipe-stem five times. Then he rubbed the end of the pipe- 
stem here and there, at random, over the hide. Debithe, who had also 
been sitting on the south side, now took up the bag of red paint and 
untied it, while Chanitoe untied the bag of black paint. Witanah 
gave to each a piece of tallow, which they thoroughly mixed with the 
paint. Hawkan then put a live coal in front of the head of the hide 
and placed upon it spruce leaves. Moving up by the side of the 
rising incense, Watdngaa now took the black paint and smeared it 
between the palms of his hands, while Wdtanah did the same with the 
red paint. With the palms of their hands together, they then held 
them over the rising incense four times, the left hand being upward 
first, then the right, then the left, then the right, the hands being held 
each time in a horizontal position. Then the hands were turned in a 
perpendicular position, with the thumbs up, and were held over the 
incense. Watdngaa then painted the anterior half of the robe black, 
while Wdtanah painted the remainder red. Wdtanah next doubled the 
robe in two along the median line, folded it, and placed it upon the 
buffalo skull, the front end of the robe touching the base of the skull. 

The buffalo skull and robe now constituted a living animal — 
Young-Bull. With the ceremonial killing of the buffalo, the life-ele- 
ment is transferred to the hide; this life-element is renewed or revivi- 
fied as the hide is passed over the incense. With the placing of the robe 
over the skull, beneath the sage bed of which should be seven buffalo 
chips, the process of forming an animate being is regarded as complete. 

The placing of the buffalo chips was omitted in 1902 for the reason 
that they could not be secured. Occasionally five are used instead of 
seven. The chips are symbolic of food and are spokenof as the gift 
of the buffalo to the Arapaho. At the end of the ceremony they are 
supposed to be transferred by the "grandfather" to the Lodge-Maker, 
i. e., from an elder to a younger generation. 

72 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 


Debbithathat (Cut-Finger) was now heard outside praying to the 
Four-Old-Men. At the conclusion of the prayer he entered, bringing 
with him four eagle feathers in his right hand and a filled pipe in his 
left. On entering the lodge, he gave the pipe to Nishnateyana, who 
placed it in front of the skull, the bowl being up and toward the north, 
as usual. The feathers he also gave to Nishnateyana, who put them 
down, without ceremony, on the head of the robe. Nishnateyana 
now sat down to the southeast of the skull, while next to him, toward 
the door, on the south, were Watanah, Debithe, Watdngaa, Chanitoe, 
Nishchdnakati, and Hawkan. 

Food was then passed in (the feast having been provided by the 
wife of Debbithathat) to Thiyeh, who placed it in the usual ceremonial 
position about the fireplace, the first vessel being placed southeast, 
the second southwest, the third northwest, the fourth northeast, and 
the fifth on the east. Watdngaa then turned toward the direction 
of the buffalo skull and robe and spoke as follows: 

watAngaa's prayer to young-bull. 

"Now, Young-Bull, please listen to me. This day, friend 
(Debbithathat) comes to you with his family and brings to you a 
bundle of eagle feathers for your headdress; he has furnished the very 
best, to show his respect and reverence to you. His recent days have 
been, to a certain extent, in misery and sorrow, and his relatives have 
had some contentions and troubles. Therefore, I pray you with an 
earnest heart, that through his gift of feathers you will extend to him 
and his family'your sympathy. This kind of a gift youconsider as 
the best; so look up, listen, and answer his prayer! I further pray 
you that by his earnest gift the whole tribe may multiply, that peace 
and prosperity may exist in the tribe and among the surrounding 
Indians, that this day you may be in accordance with our Man-Above, 
to give us food, water, and particularly to give life for our children, 
and may you also give us cattle. I ask you that in our every-day walk 
we may be firm and live with good will toward our white brothers. 
So now please accept this gift, with the hope that he will be pleased, 
and that you will tell our Father that we have given you the best. 
.Come, all you Supernatural-Beings! Look upon this poor and humble 
servant; be with him and his family, that his daily footsteps may be 
as light as the Sun, our Grandfather, that he may be protected by 
Old-Woman-Night, our Grandmother!" 

Debbithathat now left the lodge and returned at once with his 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 73 

wife and child, and. sat down near the door on the north side of the 
lodge. Nishnateyana now placed a vessel of food in front of Hocheni, 
who after the usual ceremonial motions, prepared five pieces, which 
Debbithathat received from him, drawing his right hand from 
Hocheni's right shoulder to his head, and made the usual offerings to 
the four directions, placing the last piece in front of the skull. The 
vessels of food were now passed by the wife of Debbithathat to the 
wife of Nishnatdyana, who distributed them. 

At the conclusion of the feast the food vessels, together with the 
remainder of the food, were removed from the lodge. Then Debbitha- 
that and his wife and child were cleansed by the Wheel, according to 
the manner already described at length, the Wheel during the cere- 
mony being held by Nishnateyana. 

At the conclusion of this ceremony, and after the Wheel had been 
"wrapped" and Debbithathat had made a prayer for life and for other 
material benefits, the bundle of eagle feathers was given him, while he 
still sat by the side of the skull, which he tied to the forelock of 
the robe. 

These feathers may be regarded as a headdress for Young-Bull, 
and are a token of respect and love — the giver of the feathers is 
thereby cleansed and blessed. 


This rite took place, in the performance of 1902, during the after- 
noon of the third day, on the return of the priests from the location 
of the Offerings-lodge. Seated on the north side of the tipi, in order, 
beginning at the west, were Wdtanah, Hawkan, Thiyeh, Chanitoe, 
Nishchdnakati, and Debithe. Watanah now entered with a new piece 
of calico, which was spread down in front of Hawkan on top of a 
blanket. Hdwkan and Watanah both touched the forefinger to the 
ground, then to the mouth, took a bite of root, and spat five times in 
the usual ceremonial circuit upon the calico. The leather case con- 
taining the belt was then laid upon the calico. 

The wife of Nishnateyana then knelt in front of Nishchdnakati, 
while the latter prepared her hands by the usual motions and ejection 
of spittle, that she might remove the belt from its case. Waakdtani, 
who with the others had been sitting on the north side of the lodge, 
placed a coal in front of Wdtanah, upon which Hawkan deposited five 
pinches of incense, beginning on the southeast and continuing in a sun- 
wise circuit, the fifth pinch being added from the center. Nishehdna- 
kati then made five ceremonial passes with the pipe-stem over the 
pack, ejecting spittle at the same time, after having first touched his 

74 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV, 

forefinger to the ground, then to his tongue and talcing a bite of root. 
Hdwkan passed the bag over the rising incense, and gave it to Thiyeh, 
who opened it, disclosing the sacred belt. 

This was in the form of an apron of buckskin, about ten inches in 
width and fourteen inches in length, fastened to a buckskin thong by 
its upper and narrow edge, by being passed over the thong once and 
held in position by means of buckskin strings. This thong was really 
the belt proper and terminated at each end in five strands or fringes, 
each of which was wrapped with uncolored porcupine quills. The 
larger piece of buckskin, or apron, also terminated at its base with 
many strands or fringes, perhaps twenty in number, wrapped also with 
porcupine quills. At the upper corners of the apron, on each side, 
were two small loops, about three-quarters of an inch in length; these, 
also, wrapped with porcupine quills. Hdwkan now offered the follow- 
ing prayer: 

hawkan's prayer. 

"My Father, have pity upon us! Remember that we are your 
children since the time you created the heavens and the earth, with a 
man and a woman! Our Grandfather, the Central-Moving-Body, who 
gives light, watch us in the painting of the belt which our Father 
directed, as it is before us! Now speak to your servant who is to wear 
the belt! Look at her with good gifts, and may she do this for the 
benefit of the new people (children), so that this tribe shall have 
strength and power in the future! I am poor in spirit, and therefore 
ask you, Spiritual-Beings, to help us, that this belt may be clean and 
be an element of mercy for the people. We cannot cease praying to 
you, my Father, Man-Above, for we desire to live on this earth which 
we are now about to paint on this occasion. We have given this belt 
to the sweet smoke for our purity hereafter. May our thoughts reach 
to the sky, where there is holiness! Give us good water and an abun- 
bance of food." 

Wdtanah opened the bag of red paint, from which Hdwkan applied 
five pinches to the apron, beginning first in the upper and right-hand 
corner, followed by the lower right-hand corner, then the lower left- 
hand corner, then the upper left-hand corner, and then in the center, 
the apron being so placed that the first application of the red paint 
was in the direction of the southeast. Wdtanah and Thiyeh then 
applied pinches of red paint in exactly the same manner. Then 
Thiyeh poured with her thumb and forefinger thin lines of paint here 
and there over the apron and rubbed them in with her hands. 

There had also been removed from the leathern case at the time 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 75 

the belt was taken out a small bundle, which, when unwrapped, dis- 
closed two small bunches of eagle breath-feathers, each of which were 
wrapped at the quill end to the extent of about two inches, with beads, 
those of one bunch being red, those of the other white. Hdwkan now 
repainted the red feathers with the red paint, while the white feathers 
were treated to a coat of the white lime-paint. After these were 
painted, they were returned to the case. The belt was then folded up 
and replaced, along with the two headdresses, in the leathern sack, 
which was placed south of the skull. Hiwkan then divided the gifts 
of calico and goods between Wdtanah and Watdngaa. 


As the belt still lay in its unfolded position, Hdwkan volunteered 
the information that it represented a woman, the strings of the belt 
representing the arms, the apron part the body, and the two loops 
being the eyes. He further explained that it had existed from the 
beginning, and that it was the foundation of the lodge. Further 
inquiry elicited additional information concerning the interesting 
objects. The five little piles of paint first put on the belt not only 
represented the Four-Old-Men or the four elements of life with the 
"Central-Moving-Body," but they form also a cross, symbolic of the 
morning star, the Mother, which comes up in advance of the sun, as 
the wife of the Lodge-Maker precedes the Transferrer on their return 
to the Rabbit-tipi, after a rite described in another place. The red 
paint which is smeared over the belt is symbolic at once of the naked 
form of a woman and of the red skin of the whole race. While the 
belt as a whole is symbolic of a woman, it is also typical of the vulva 
and even of a generalized concept of life-generating power of the race. 
The wife of the Lodge-Maker wears it to conceal her "cavity." 

Of the two headdresses, the one with the red bead wrappings 
represents a female and is to be worn by the wife of the Lodge-Maker. 
The red is symbolic of the Arapaho race, of purity, old age, and meek- 
ness, and more especially of the earth with the glow of sunset. The 
headdress with the blue bead wrappings represents a male and is to be 
worn by the Lodge-Maker. The blue color has reference to the 
brightness of the day, of vegetation, a spotless path for all, and espe- 
cially does it symbolize the sky or Above, as contrasted with the earth 
symbolism of the other headdress. 

The two headdresses together were also spoken of as representing 
male and female birds, also the air and the "soft-breath." 

76 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 


Shortly after midnight, immediately on the return to the Rabbit- 
tipi of the grandfather and the Lodge-Maker's wife, after an interest- 
ing rite described later on in the pages of this paper, a Crier was heard 
outside calling for musicians and a drum. Soon after, some of the 
Dog-soldiers and several members of the Star society arrived, just 
outside of the lodge, bringing with them a large drum. Hdwkan took 
a live coal from the fire with a forked stick, which he placed in front 
of him. The Lodge-Maker arose from his position and assumed a 
squatting posture just behind the coal. The folded rawhide was then 
passed by a messenger inside the lodge to Hawkan, who placed it by 
the side of the l^odge-Maker. Hawkan then gave a pinch of cedar- 
leaves to the Lodge-Maker, who held them between his thumb and two 
fingers of his right hand, holding the leaves in front of his face and 
resting his elbow upon his right knee. 

Hawkan then began singing, accompanying the song with the 
rattle, while Chanitoe beat the Badger-pack as the movement of the 
song slowly proceeded, the Lodge-Maker keeping time, moving his 
right hand back and forth in a position parallel to his body. This was 
continued through the second song. At the beginning of the third 
song he still kept his elbow upon his knee, but moved his hand in 
front of the left side of his body, where he again kept time by moving 
his hand back and forth, out in front of himself, to the movement of 
the song. In a similar manner the fourth song was sung. At the 
beginning of the fifth song, the Lodge-Maker moved his hand so that 
it was held exactly in front of his face, where he again kept time to 
the song. At the conclusion of the song he deposited the incense 
upon the live coal. This little episode formed one of the most inter- 
esting and most beautiful of the entire Sun Dance ceremony, and was 
exceedingly impressive. 

The Lodge-Maker now took up the rawhide, motioned it toward 
the incense four times, then passed it slowly over the coal and walked 
in a sunwise circuit in front of those sitting on the south side of the 
lodge. He made four movements with the rawhide toward the musi- 
cians, who had now entered and taken up a position just south of the 
door, when at the fifth, he passed the rawhide in among them, where- 
upon they beat upon it. Other musicians now entered the lodge, 
crowding around a large drum at the southeast corner. The rattle 
was passed to the leading Dog-soldier, and they began beating upon 
the large drum and soon began singing. Niwaat, the actual Lodge- 
Maker, had in the mean time put on his buffalo robe, with the fur side 

PL. XVI. Thunderbird Society. Third Day, 1902, 

The return from the timber with Cottonwood poles to be used in the Offer- 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 77 

out, and now arose and stood behind the buffalo skull, where he blew 
upon an eagle-bone whistle, to the accompaniment of the song. 

After this performance had continued ior some time, the Dog- 
soldier singers gave way to the members of other younger warrior 
societies, who began an informal rehearsal of new and old songs, which 
was kept up during the greater part of the night. The Lodge-Maker 
and substitute Lodge-Maker and wife, remained, of course, within the 
Rabbit-tipi during the night, continuing their fast. 


In addition to the ceremonies which took place either in or in 
connection with the Rabbit-tipi, were several other events of impor- 
tance on this day, which must be noted. Several of the younger mem- 
bers of the Star society and Kit-P'ox society repaired early in the 
forenoon to the cottonwood grove near the encampment and cut cer- 
tain of the timbers to be used in the erection of the great Offerings- 
lodge. Of these they cut several forked sticks to be used as uprights, 
a number of poles to be used as cross-bars and also a few poles which 
were to be used as rafters of the lodge. In connection with the cut- 
ting and bringing in of the poles was a certain amount of hilarity, 
mingled with formal ceremony. 

This feature of the ceremony received much greater attention in 
the 1902 performance than on the previous year. Apparently, nothing 
could have exceeded the spirit of happiness which prevailed through- 
out the camp-circle on both the second and third days, as the various 
warrior societies, dressed in their best, and mounted on their painted 
ponies, and accompanied by their wives or sweethearts, made repeated 
trips to the timber, returning with poles for the lodge. Ordinarily, 
on entering the camp-circle, they would pass entirely around it, in a 
sunwise course, singing and crying with joy at the top of their voices. 
When they had gained the point of the circle at which they had 
entered, they would pass to the center of the circle, where they would 
leave their pole and return again to the timber. (See Plate XVI.) 


A still more important event of this day was the location of a 
suitable tree to be used as the center-pole in the Offerings-lodge. 
This, naturally, is the most important pole ot the great lodge, 
and in connection with its location and transfer to the scene of the 
lodge there were several interesting rites. The duty of the selection 

78 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV, 

of the pole falls by custom not only to the most famous warriors of the 
tribe, but to those few who have served as scouts and have been suc- 
cessful in raids against the Pawnee. Four such men are usually chosen 
to locate the pole, but it was found that there was only one Arapaho 
who filled the requirements, viz., Heich^biwa. Two Cheyenne, who 
were encamped near by and who were known to possess the requisite 
qualifications, were asked to assist Heich^biwa. One of these was 
Wolf-Face; the name of the other was not ascertained. Horses were 
furnished these three men, which were painted by them as their own 
horses had formerly been painted when about to go on the war-path. 
Each of the old men was also furnished with a lance and a gun. Thus 
equipped, they started out toward the Cottonwood grove, where, for 
convenience, certain members of the Star society had already selected 
the most suitable tree for the purpose that they could fitid. One of 
these young men, Nadseh, who knew the location of the pole, accom- 
panied the three old warriors. As they approached the tree they pre- 
pared to charge upon it as upon the enemy, and after certain 
movements, shot at it. The members of the Star society who had 
been dancing in front of the Rabbit-tipi now knew that the center-pole 
was located. 

In the mean time, members of the Star society had set up a tripod 
in front of the lodge and had covered it with grass. The three old 
warriors now returned to camp, but just before entering the camping- 
circle, they set up a cry like that of wolves (Pawnee, who are called 
wolves or coyotes), whereupon the members of the Star society charged 
upon them and went through the performance of counting coup and 
taking scalps. The warriors then proceeded to the Rabbit-tipi, where 
they were received by Hdcheni, who received the reins from 
Heich^biwa's hands and offered a prayer for the victory. Heich^biwa 
then related his war story, telling how in his earlier days he had actu- 
ally successfully spied out the Pawnee. Then the two Cheyenne 
followed with their war stories. They now entered the Rabbit-tipi, 
where they remained for a short time; then all dispersed except those 
who had duties to perform in the Rabbit-tipi, the head men of the 
different companies, as has been related above, having first asked the 
members of their societies to meet in certain tipis for the purpose of 
arranging and talking over plans for the following day. 


This ceremony was not witnessed in the 1901 performance. 
Immediately after the completion of certain rites in the Rabbit-tipi, 
on the third day of the 1902 performance, Hdwkan, Watdngaa, 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsev. 79 

Debithe, Wdtanah, Waakatani, and Kinathekahade left the Rabbit-tipi 
and proceeded to a place about one hundred feet east of the Rabbit- 
tipi, where the various poles to form the Offerings-lodge, had been 
thrown promiscuously. From one of the cottonwood trees Hdwkan 
cut five small boughs about three feet in length, sharpening one end 
of each. 

They all now seated themselves in a semicircle, facing the east. 
Hdwkan touched the forefinger of his right hand to the ground and 
then touched his tongue, took a bit of sage into his mouth, spat into 
his hands five times, and prayed : 

hawkan's prayer. 

"My Father, Man- Above, we are sitting here on the ground in 
humble spirit and of poor heart, and ask your tender mercy upon us, one 
and all. Through the merits of your children who taught us this law 
of the Sacred-Offerings-lodge which we are about to locate, may we 
do it in such a manner as to obtain your favor and increased good 
spirit, to the end of the lodge! Give to us all your spirit and abun- 
dant mercy, and let us unite in one spirit toward you, who made us and 
ordered these things! My Grandfather, the Light-of-the-Earth, please 
look down this day upon your poor and needy people, that whatsoever 
they may do in their behalf may be pleasing to you! Now, my 
Mother-Earth, take pity on me, poor creature, and guide me straight! 
Let me do these things right, in the way your servants used to do!" 

Arising, he thrust one of the five cottonwood sticks into the 
ground, which marked the spot where later was to be erected the 
center-pole of the lodge. Placing his heel against this stick, he 
walked with slow, lengthened step in the direction of the sunrise, 
halting at the seventh step. This marked the eastern door, the 
entrance to the lodge. He then retraced his steps to the central stick, 
and walked seven steps to the west, which marked the western upright. 
Then he retraced his steps again, and proceeded seven steps to the 
north, then seven steps to the south, thrusting at each cardinal point 
one of the cottonwood sticks. The author's attention was then called 
by Hdwkan to the fact that the sticks thus placed, formed a cross, 
symbol of the morning star. 

Th,e priest then returned to the Rabbit-tipi, while the Lime-Crazy 
soldiers and others began digging the holes and otherwise preparing 
for the great lodge. 

8o Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

THIRD DAY, 1901; FOURTH DAY, 1902. 

This day corresponds to the fourth day of the 1902 performance. 
The ceremonial paraphernalia has now all been prepared within the 
Rabbit-tipi, the poles and supports of the great lodge have been 
secured, and the center-pole has been located. There now remains to 
be described the capture of the center-pole, the erection of the Offer- 
ings-lodge proper, and the transfer of the sacred paraphernalia to the 
new lodge from the old, with the final desertion of the latter. 


While certain of the priests were performing a few minor rites in 
the Rabbit-tipi, others started for the cottonwood grove to bring in the 
center-pole, the cutting and transfer of which were attended with 
interesting ceremonies. The Dog-soldiers went out with their leader, 
Nishikdnawke (White-Antelope), at their head, carrying a pipe. With 
them was the high priest, Hocheni, Waanibe, and Chaiii. Having 
arrived at the particular tree, which had already been selected, and 
which had been ceremonially captured, Hocheni lighted his pipe, 
smoked, and then passed the pipe to the other leaders present. 
Hocheni then uttered a prayer, and the two women with assistance 
from some of the men, chopped the tree down. Usually, during this 
performance, the Dog-soldiers sing to the time of the beating of a 
drum and the telling of war stories. While the tree was being felled, 
the Kit-Fox and Thunderbird societies joined them, and as soon as the 
tree had fallen and had been trimmed, the men of the Dog-soldier 
society fastened ropes to the forks and dragged it up toward the 
camp-circle, where ensued a sham battle between the Dog-soldiers on 
the one hand, and the men of the Star, Thunderbird, and Kit-Fox 
societies on the other. The Lime-Crazy society should also have 
joined in this battle, but they had not been warned in time, and conse- 
quently were not present. The pole was then dragged to the center 
of the camping-circle by the Dog-soldiers, who as they walked, blew 
on a long eagle-bone whistle. It was now about three o'clock. While 
the center-pole was being brought in, other members of the Dog- 
soldiers had made an excavation for it, and trimmed the other poles 
for the lodge, which had been brought in on the previous morn- 
ing by certain women's societies. 

PL. XVII. Ghost Dance Costumes. Fourth Day, 1902. 

Members of one of the warrior societies arrayed in Ghost dance costume of 
painted buckskin, about to start to the scene of the rites connected with the cap- 
ture of the center-pole. 

• 1 




Center-pole. Fourth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. In front are four leaders of the Dog-soldier society, dressed in the 
costume of the society. 

Fig. 2. Musicians of the Dog-soldier society. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 81 


As the time approached, during the ceremony of 1902, for the 
formation of the procession to go after the center-pole, the priests 
within the Rabbit-tipi decorated their faces and hair with red paint. 
Hawkan, the Lodge-Maker's substitute, and Nishnat^yanahad informal 
talks inside the lodge. The substitute Lodge-Maker left his position, 
and beginning at the priest next to the door, on the south side, placed 
his hands upon his head and wept, and then passed on around, repeating 
this performance over each priest, finally weeping over the skull and 
Wheel. He was followed by the Lodge-Maker, who went through 
exactly the same' performance. Then the pipe made the ceremonial 
circuit four times. Food was brought into the lodge, the sacrifice 
made, and the priests indulged in the usual feast. 

In the mean time, various warrior societies had been making prepa- 
ration. They could now be heard passing to and fro about the circle, 
all gayly costumed, and mounted on their painted ponies, each com- 
pany singing appropriate songs. (See Plate XVII.) The Dog-soldiers 
had gathered just outside the Rabbit-tipi, where under a canvas 
shelter they were singing songs and awaiting the appearance of the 
priests. Finally, the feast was concluded within the Rabbit-tipi, the 
food vessels were passed out, and the priests made their appearance. 

The procession was then formed, and started off in the southeast 
direction toward the place where the center-pole had been located and 
ceremonially captured two days before. Walking at the head of the 
procession was Nishchdnakati, bearing an eagle-wing fan; behind him 
were seven Dog-soldiers abreast, each wearing appropriate Dog-soldier 
costume, including the eagle-bone whistle. (See Fig. i, Plate XVIII.) 
Four of them had the peculiar Dog-soldier rattles. Next came the 
musicians, surrounding and carrying a large drum. (See Fig. 2, Plate 
XVIII.) Next in line were several priests, walking abreast. Imme- 
diately behind these were eight women, including the Peace-Keeper, 
the \yife of the Lodge-Maker, the wife of the grandfather, pupils in the 
Sun Dance, and those who were to cut the center-pole; then followed 
the Kit-Fox and Thunderbird societies, mounted on horses, many of 
them carrying small drums. At the side of the line rode Nakadsh 
(Sage), with a black rattle. His presence may be explained by the 
fact that he knew the location of the center-pole, and went along in 
the capacity of guide or scout. In this fashion they filed across the 
plain, beyond the camp-circle, crossed the river, and entered the 
Cottonwood grove and halted just south of a tall, straight, forked 
Cottonwood tree, which had been selected for the center-pole. The 

82 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

warrior societies now hurried forward on their horses, made a charge 
against the tree, shooting at it, counting coup, and ceremonially 
"killing it." Nishchdnakati went up to the tree, embraced it four 
times, calling upon Man-Above for a blessing to the people, while the 
warrior societies and Dog-soldiers formed in groups and sat down to 
the south of the tree. Handtchawdtant (Black-Bull) now carried a 
filled pipe to Nishchdnakati, asking him to offer a prayer for the 
people. The priest then got up, and holding the pipe in front of him, 
prayed : 


"In former years, your faithful servants gave away to the Medi- 
cine powers, robes, clothing, eagle feathers, and many shells. For 
your continued mercy and daily protection on the people, for the 
benefit of the tribe, we are obliged to recall those holy events, for we 
are young and are lacking in the knowledge of ceremonies. Whatever 
you old priests and old women did at these times, and what you said 
upon these occasions, may we do and say exactly the same to-day. 
We are constantly crying for help, that we may be relieved from hard- 
ship and kept free from evil. You Old-Men conducted these cere- 
monies according to laws of your Father, and so we ask you to repeat 
our prayer to him, to give us what things we need in life. It is the 
desire of all that prosperity shall prevail hereafter, for our having 
lived up to our belief. Although the game is gone, which makes it 
hard for us to carry out our lodges, may whatever we place for substi- 
tutes be pleasing to our Gods, and may we receive temporal blessings. 

"Our Father, Man-Above, your children have selected me recently 
for their servant for this occasion, hence I have called upon you for 
guidance and direction. This I have done, and now they give me a 
pipe to go with them and to get this tree, to get a great good; and we 
request earnestly that by the cutting down of it every one will have a 
good future and be free from sickness and trouble. Here is the pipe, 
which you have given us as a token of great love. Make us to love 
each other better and let there be good deeds and actions among these 
poor starving soliders! Look upon these Dog-soldiers! Please give 
them long life, and may their work to-day be a true example to others! 
Give them good music, and let them carry this tree to the center in 
safety! Have mercy upon us all and cause us to arise in safety! 
Keep our footsteps straight, and may this day be a profitable one for 
us all! And above all, let the nation increase, so that your holy cere- 
monies may be kept up! May we fight and conquer the evil! Thus 
we ask, and request you to answer." 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Porsey. 83 

He then touched the forefinger of his right hand to the ground 
and placed it to the tip of his tongue, took a bite of root, and ejected 
spittle five times in the palms of his two hands. He then held the 
pipe in front of him, the bowl pointing upward. He then held the pipe 
out with the bowl pointing toward himself, holding it on his two sides 
perpendicularly, first on his right side, then on his left, then right, 
then left, and then along the median line of his body. He then placed 
the pipe in front of him, pointing the stem toward the ground. 
Handtchawdtan! now came up, and drawing his right hand down 
Nishchdnakati's arm four times, rubbed his right hand over the latter's 
right, the latter motioning the pipe toward him four times, and giving 
it up to HanatchawatanI, who lighted it. 

The Sun Dance priests had now formed in a crescent-shaped line 
with Nishchanakati at the end on the west, Hanatchawatan!, who had 
just received the pipe, being next to him, on his right. After the 
pipe had been lighted, it was passed unsmoked to the last man of the 
line at the right or east end, who smoked for a few moments, and then 
the pipe was passed down the line toward the west, each man, after 
passing the pipe, rubbing his hands together, then over his body, head, 
and face. The pipe was then passed unsmoked back to the east end 
of the line, and then again traveled toward the west end, being smoked 
by each one in turn. 

Hissdhnihani (Yellow-Woman), during this second smoking of the 
pipe, stood, lifted up her hands, and uttered a prayer, Nischdnakati 
touched his finger to the ground, then to his tongue, and took a bite 
of root, touched her hands five times, ejecting spittle at the same 
time. Then he spat on each side of her head and in his hands, which 
he rubbed on her head, and again in his hands, which he rubbed on 
her breast. 

After the pipe had reached Nishchdnakati, he emptied it and 
cleansed it in the usual ceremonial fashion, when HandtchawdtanI 
received it and sat down in his place. Hissehnihani then stepped in 
front of Nishchdnakati and placed her hands on his head. 

It had been her intention to cut the center-pole, but owing to 
indisposition, she was unable, and was compelled to secure a substi- 
ute. This woman, Wadhsandhi's (Charcoal's) wife, now came up, 
together with another woman, Hdgo's (Rat's) wife, who was to assist 
her, both standing in front of and asking a blessing from Nishchdna- 
kati, who repeated his former performance with Hissehnihani in 
connection with both of them. 

Nishchdnakati arose and proceeded to the tree, carrying a pipe- 
stem and accompanied by three old women, each of the women carry- 

84 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

ing an axe. Nishchdnakati uttered another prayer (see Plate XIX.), 
and Baihoh was led up by Wdtanah to the side of Nishchdnakati. 
Here he uttered a prayer and was then led back to his position among 
the Dog-soldiers. The three women then stepped back a few feet, 
while Nishchdnakati again prayed, all making a peculiar noise at the 
end of the prayer. He then stepped up to the tree, ejected spittle, 
and moved the pipe-stem toward it slowly, four times, the three women 
making similar passes with the axe, all touching the tree at the fifth 
movement. (See Plate XX.) Hiss^hnihani struck the tree once or 
twice and retired in favor of the wife of WaaksSnna, and Wdshieh 
(Ugly), who in an incredibly short space of time, felled the tree. (See 
Plate XXI.) During the labors of the two women, there was singing, 
accompanied by the beating of a drum, on the part of the Dog-soldiers, 
and loud yelling and shouting and the war-whoop on the part of the 
other warrior societies. As the tree fell with a crash toward the 
north, all gave a wild shout, rushed up toward the tree, touching 
the stump (thus counting coup), rubbing their arms and breasts, and 
then proceeding on toward the branches of the tree, where each broke 
off a small branch. Then the warrior societies rode up and counted 
coup in a similar manner. Hitantuh (Strikes-First) then stepped off 
five long paces from the fork of the tree, down toward the base. At 
this point the two women again cut the tree. (See Plate XXII.) 
Then they cut off the forks at the proper place, and the tree was ready 
to be transported to the center of the lodge. 


According to the laws of the ceremony, the tree should have been 
dragged with ropes in the hands of the Dog-soldiers, but on account 
of the density of the cottonwood grove and the steep banks of the 
river which it was necessary to cross, this was not possible. It should 
further be stated that the tree was of unusual size, although straight, 
and well adapted for the purpose to which it was to be placed. It was 
therefore loaded on a wagon by the Dog-soldiers, there being much 
shouting during this time, especially as they began lifting upon the 
tree, the shouting being acccompanied by the blowing of eagle-bone 
whistles. The men began to start back toward the camp. Just as 
they crossed the river (see Plate XXIII.) and gained the bank on the 
side of the camp-circle, they were met by the Star and Lime-Crazy 
societies (see Plate XXIV.) who opposed them, and there now ensued 
between themselves, on the one hand, and the Kit-Fox, Thunderbird, 
and Dog-soldier societies, on the other, a very interesting sham battle. 
(See Plates XXV. and XXVI.) 

PL. XIX. Preliminary Rite before Cutting the Center-pole. Fourth Day, 1902. 

Beginning with the left, Nishchandkati, uttering a prayer, Yellow-Woman, i 

Wdshieh, and wife of Wddks6nna. . 


Fourth Day, 1902. 

The women follow similar movements with the axe preparatory to cutting 
the tree. 




Pl. XXI. Wife of WaaksEnna and Washieh, Chopping down the Tree for the 
Center-pole. Fourth Day, 1902. 

Pl. XXII. Wife of Waaksenna Cutting the Tree into Proper Length for the 
Center-pole. Fourth Day, 1902. 



Pl. XXIII. Dog-soldiers Transferring the Center-pole across the River. 
Fourth Day, 1902. 

Pl. XXIV. Before the Sham Battle. Fourth Day, 1902. 

The Star and Lime-Crazy societies on the near side of the river bank, await- 
ing the arrival of the Dog-soldiers and other societies for the sham battle. 

PL. XXV. The Warrior Societies, after the Sham Battle, Fourth Day, 1902. i 



PL. XXVI. After the Sham Battle. Fourth Day, 1902. 

Thunderbird society, with other warrior societies in the background, each 
warrior being armed with a ceremonial lance. 

PL. XXVII. Erecting the Offerings-lodge. Fourth Day, 1902. 

Members of the Dog-soldier society, unloading the center-pole at the site of 
the Ofiferings-lodge. 

PL. XXVIil. Erecting the Offerings-lodge. Fourth Day, 1902. 

Placing in position the outer forked poles: Dog-soldiers directing the work. 

PL. XXIX, Erecting the Offerings-lodge. Fourth Day, 1902. 

The cross-beams being lifted into place. 



Pl. XXX. The Paint of the Lodge-Maker'S Wife. 

Wife of Niwaat, as painted in the Rabbit-tipi, preparatory to the rite of 
decoration of the lodge-poles; her costume consists of a bufifalo robe, unpainted, 
and belt. 

.XXX .jq 

-'•)gboI 9f!! ' 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 85 

At the conclusion of the battle, the procession, including the 
priests and Dog-soldiers, surrounding the tree, slowly passed up toward 
the center of the circle, the entire line halting four times on the way, 
each pause being accompanied by dancing and singing, where the tree 
was unloaded. (See Plate XXVII.) 


In connection with the bringing in of the poles which were to be 
used as uprights and for other purposes in the lodge, it may be stated 
that, ordinarily, as they are brought in by the different companies, 
before being taken to the center of the circle, they are dragged entirely 
around the circle, sometimes outside and sometimes inside, the com- 
pany singing all the while, and being greeted by their friends along 
the way. 

In the 1902 ceremony the performances attendant upon bringing 
in miscellaneous timbers, uprights, etc., for the lodge, were more 
impressive and interesting than those of the_ preceding year. On up 
to noon of the fourth day, poles and boughs for the sides of the lodge 
were still being brought in and deposited in the neighborhood of the 
place selected for the lodge. All the forenoon, other members of 
various warrior societies were trimming the poles and digging the holes. 
Immediately after the noon meal they began to place in position the 
uprights, cross-pieces, and rafters, so that by four o'clock the lodge 
was complete except for the center-pole and the four rafter-beams, 
which were to be painted. (See Plates XXVIII., XXIX., and XXX.) 

During the work, the Dog-soldiers gathered under a shelter arbor 
near by, and sang to the accompaniment of the beating of the big 
drum, thus, as they said, encouraging and making lighter the labors 
of those working in building the lodge. 

When the work was completed, all gathered in groups, awaiting 
the appearance of the priests, Lodge-Maker, and others from the 


While these active preparations are going on for the erection of 
the great lodge, and while still other bands of women were bringing in 
Cottonwood boughs, willow brush, etc., to be used in the erection of 
the lodge, certain preparations have been taking place in the Rabbit- 
tipi. It was first necessary to complete the preparation of the buffalo 
head which had been brought in from the field on horseback by 
Heich^biwa. Yahiise brought in several black-tipped eagle feathers 
and two shell discs or gorgets. These, it was said, represented an 

86 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

offering or sacrifice on his part and were akin to a prayer for blessing. 
Inasmuch as Yahiise was blind, Chanitoe took these objects from 
Yahiise and fastened the two discs to the buffalo robe on the head, 
while the eagle feathers were fastened just in front of the discs. In 
the forepart of the head of the robe were then made two large slits. 


In connection with the preparation of the medicine water at the 
termination of the dance, the absence of a Certain bird will be noted in 
the account to be given later on. Special effort was made during the 
ceremony of 1902 to secure this bird, and although many had been 
warned to look after and bring it into camp, and although careful 
search was made among the tipis of the camp-circle, as well as among 
the tipis of the visiting Cheyenne, the priests were not able to secure it. 

In order that it might be ceremon-ially represented, at least, in the 
1902 performance, Hawkan, early in the morning of the fourth day, 
brought into the lodge a small cottonwood stick about three feet in 
length, split at one end and sharpened at the other, having gone 
through the usual rite before splitting it. On entering the lodge, he 
proceeded to the buffalo skull and inserted the sharpened end into the 
ground just south of the forward end of the skull. It was so placed 
that the fork extended in an east and west direction. In the fork he 
then placed a small bunch of sage, representing the bird. The author's 
attention was called to the fact by Hawkan, that if the bird had been 
in its proper position, it would have faced the north, thus overlook- 
ing the skull and Wheel. 


The preparation of this stick was not witnessed in the 1901 per- 
formance. In 1902, immediately on the return of the priests to the 
Rabbit-tipi, after the bringing in of the center-pole, Thiyeh entered 
the lodge, bearing the second of the two forked sticks, used on a 
previous occasion in connection with the rites attendant upon the 
capture of the buffalo. Placing the stick in front of Hocheni, with 
her hands upon his head, she uttered a short prayer, whereupon he 
touched the forefinger of his right hand to the ground, then touched 
his tongue, took a bite of root, spat toward the digging-stick four 
times, pointing at the same time with the pipe-stem, the fifth time 
indicating directly upon the stick the place where it was to be cut. 
She now took the stick outside to cut it at this point, and soon 
returned with it, passing it to her husband. There then followed the 
usual ceremonial smoking of the pipe, it making the circuit four times. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 87 


Although this rite has been fully described in connection with the 
account of the Wheel, it may add to the completeness of the detailed 
account of the ceremony to note that at about noon of the fourth or 
last day of the Rabbit-tipi, a man by the name of HaanI (Mountain), 
together with his wife and two sick children, entered the lodge, Ha^nl 
bearing in one hand a filled pipe, and in the other a piece of calico. 
There was the usual preliminary performance, the ceremonial smoking 
of the pipe, the introduction of the feast, the sacrifice of food, and the 
partaking of food. Then Haanl, with one of his children in his lap, 
followed by his wife with the other child in her lap, was cleansed by 
the Wheel. It was noticed that on this occasion, as the Wheel was 
placed to the mouth, the head of the snake was directed south, the 
Wheel being placed to the mouth four times. Then came the usual 
offering of the calico with the accompanying prayer, and the final 
wrapping of the Wheel. 

The rite was performed just before the painting of the Lodge- 
Maker and his companions for their final departure from the Rabbit- 
tipi. The healing rite, requiring, as it does, nearly an hour for its 
performance, delayed the afternoon rites of the painting, and conse- 
quently the final preparations at the Offerings-lodge. That this 
might not occur, Hawkan protested against allowing HaanK to "wrap 
the Wheel," but the latter was so earnest in his desire, and pleaded 
so strongly, that he. was given the privilege. 


This, together with certain other privileges, belongs naturally to 
the Lodge-Maker of the ceremony. For reasons already explained, 
there were, in reality, two Lodge-Makers in 1902. On account of 
certain physical infirmities which he believed he could remedy, Yahiise, 
already alluded to a number of times in the early pages of this paper, 
desired also the privilege of assisting in the painting of the center- 
pole, as well as, later on, of "wearing the Lodge-Maker's paint." He 
therefore entered the lodge in the forenoon of this day, bearing a 
filled pipe. 

Proceeding to Nishnateyana, he handed him the pipe and placed 
his hands upon his head and wept — a supplication that he might be 
allowed the privilege of the paint. The substitute Lodge-Maker at 
this time also went through a similar performance. Yahiise's pipe was 
now passed to Hocheni, who, holding it by the stem with both hands, 
the bowl of the pipe being upwards, motioned it toward the southeast, 

88 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

southwest, northwest, northeast; then reversing it, pointed the stem 
to the above and to the below, then toward the fireplace, then toward 
the Wheel. 

Yahiise now should have received the pipe and lighted it, but 
being blind, this rite was done by Wadtanakashi. The latter 
approached Hdcheni, and drawing his right hand down Hocheni's 
arm, received the pipe from him, took it to the fireplace, lighted it, 
and returned it to Hocheni, who again made the ceremonial move- 
ments with the pipe, this time pointing with the stem instead of the 
bowl. The pipe was then passed around the circle, according to the 
usual manner of procedure, each priest, as he received the pipe, taking 
four puffs. The pipe made the circuit four times. 

The substitute Lodge-Maker's pipe was then also passed to 
Hocheni to be smoked. The method of lighting the pipe, etc., was 
practically the same as just described. One or two points of differ- 
ence were noted, however, which may have been carelessness on 
Hocheni's part, owing to his great age. First, he touched the fore- 
finger of his right hand to the ground, then to his tongue, took a bite 
of root, and pointed with the bowl toward the four directions. He 
then reversed the pipe, and pointed with the stem upwards, toward 
the east, toward the fireplace, toward the Wheel, and then toward the 
earth. He then took a pinch of tobacco from the pipe and deposited 
it upon the ground in front of him, puffed upon the unlighted pipe 
four times, whereupon it was received by the owner and smoked, as 
had been the preceding pipe. 

Each pipe, after having made the circuit of the lodge four times, 
was returned to Hocheni for cleansing. After having removed the 
ashes from the pipe, in a manner already described several times in 
the previous pages of this paper, he held the pipe in his left hand 
with the point of the stem downward, touched his right hand upon the 
ground, then, beginning with the bowl, he rubbed down along the pipe 
with his right hand, transferred it to his right hand, made a similar 
motion with the left, again placed the pipe in the left, and made a 
similar motion with the right, thus cleansing it. As the pipe was 
received from him, the owner, in each case placed his left hand upon 
the pipe and drew his right hand down Hdcheni's arm four times. 
Then, placing his right hand upon Hdcheni's right hand, the latter 
motioned the pipe toward him four times, slowly releasing the pipe. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 89 


It was how announced from the outside that preparations were 
complete for the beginning of the erection of the lodge, and those 
inside the Rabbit-tipi prepared to leave. Debithe now painted 
Thihauchhawkan white from head to foot, his body being naked 
except for a loin-cloth. Hawkan painted Waatu (Warrior), and 
Chanitoe painted Bihata (Black-Hat), in a similar manner, while 
Sosoni and Waanibe painted Biba, the wife of the Lodge-Maker, red. 
The Lodge-Maker and the two dancers carried the regular Sun Dance 
whistles of the wing bone of the eagle, wore an eagle breath-feather in 
their hair, and now put around the loins a buckskin kilt. Biba wore 
only a- buckskin shirt. The white paint of the Lodge-Maker repre- 
sented the wish, employed by all acts during the ceremony, for long 
life, while the red paint of the woman was symbolic of the earth, which 
she here represented. The presence of Waatu and Bihata on this 
occasion was entirely voluntary on their part, although it should be 
stated here that they were two of the number of the dancers after the 
completion of the lodge. 


The details of the rite were carefully noted during the 1902 per- 
formance, and are here introduced as supplementary to the account 
given the author by Hawkan of the rite as it took place in the cere- 
mony of the previous year. 

All preliminary rites and preparations had been completed in the 
Rabbit-tipi, while the great lodge outside was erected and only awaited 
the arrival of the priests for its completion, for it now lacked only the 
center-pole and four of the rafters. The substitute Lodge-Maker was 
the first to leave his position in the circle, and took a position in front 
of Hocheni, Chanitoe supplied the coal and accompanying incense 
for Hocheni, who proceeded to apply the preliminary paint, or "poul- 
tice," as it is called. This rite was exactly similar to that employed 
by Hdcheni on painting the same individual on the previous day, before 
the Lodge-Maker set out to collect the offerings from his friends 
in the camp-circle, and consequently need not be again described. 

He then, taking the cup of lime paint, passed it over near the 
door, where he proceeded to apply a thick coat over his body, from 
head to foot. Next came Yahiise, and then the Lodge-Maker himself, 
both at the conclusion of the application of the "poultice" applying 
an even coat of the lime paint over their bodies. The three now sat 
down facing, respectively, Hawkan, Nishnateyana, and Chanitoe. 

90 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

At this time, Wahiibahu (Bear-Track), came in bearing an eagle- 
bone whistle. This individual was to fast and dance during the coming 
ceremony in the great lodge, and though he was not to wear the 
Lodge-Maker's paint throughout the ceremony, he, for some reason 
not learned by the author, was on this day to bear the Lodge-Maker's 
paint. Without further ceremony he placed himself in front of 
Watangaa, who painted him in the manner about to be described for 
the other three. Hdwkan offered the following prayer: 

hAwkan's prayer. 

"It is this time of day, my Father, Man- Above, that we call upon 
you for your assistance. We are helpers in every way; so, my guard- 
ians, Four-Old-Men, listen, watch, and guide me aright! Your first 
painting of our former children I am going to imitate, for the cleans 
ing and purifying of sins and sickness. Will you please give us good 
days during this ceremony! Let this paint which we are about to use 
upon these young children be the light of this tribe! Let your roads 
of good prospects shine upon us! Give more light during the day for 
vegetation, for our stock, for ourselves! My dear ancient Grand- 
fathers, Grandmothers, Rabbit-tipi People, Sun Dance Lodge-Makers, 
Sun Dance Old-Men, Sun Dance Old-Women, Sun Dance Children — 
let your spirits come closer to us! Guide us straight, that we may do 
works in harmony with you! I know that I am young, but this was 
the way which you showed me, and it is the desire that this lodge, 
about to be made, shall be the painting (cleansing) for all people and 
that it will bring prosperity and happiness." 

Hdwkan, Nishnatdyana, and Chanitoe now proceeded to apply the 
decoration to the three dancers, over the coat of white paint. First, 
was made on each one, a black line about the left wrist and about the 
left ankle. Similar circular bands were then made about the right 
wrist and ankle. Next, a black band was drawn about the face, passing 
across the middle of the chin, through the middle of the forehead, and 
over the most prominent part of the cheeks. Then a solid circular 
design, about three inches in diameter, was drawn upon the breast, 
and a crescent-shaped line on the back of the left shoulder. 

The lines on the arms and ankles were now connected to the 
symbol on the breast by straight lines, which passed from the wrists, 
up to the arms, over the shoulders, down to the breast symbol, then on 
down the sides of the body, and so on down to the ankles. On the 
top of the circle on the breast, and also upon the center of the fore- 
head just above the black line encircling the face, was drawn a small 
design representing a human being. Under the eyes were drawn tear 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsev. 91 

symbols, and on the nose was the usual black dot, the symbol of the 
buffalo calf. 

The circle on the breast was said to represent the Grandfather, 
the Sun, with its radiating paths leading to the four corners of the 
earth, viz., the circles about the wrists and ankles, which also were 
said to represent suns, and also the Four-Old-Men. This paint is 
known as the "rain paint." 

At the conclusion of the decoration of the bodies of these four 
individuals they returned to their position on the northwest side of the 
circle and began to put on their costumes. First, each put on a buck- 
skin kiltj then the eagle breath-feather in the hair, while about their 
neck they placed a buckskin thong bearing the eagle-bone whistle. 
The head ornamentation of the substitute Lodge-Maker consisted of 
several eagle breath-feathers bound together at their base by wrap- 
pings, decorated with rows of blue beads, the feathers being stained 
yellow. In size and construction this headdress bore a striking 
resemblance to the two feather ornaments seen on the preceding day 
at the time of the painting of the sacred belt. 

Each one now stood up and drew around him his buffalo robe, the 
hair side being out. Each one received from Hawkan a pinch of cedar 
leaves, which he placed upon a live coal drawn from the fire. Each 
one now stood over the coal, then stooped down, drawing his blanket 
tightly around himself and bathing his body in the rising incense. All 
being in readiness, Hawkan uttered this prayer: 

hawkan's prayer. 

"We are now come again, united in thought, for this holy occa- 
sion, that this race may continue, and that all people may continue. 
This tallow which you gave us is our skin. May it be a good seed. 
We call you through the merits of your grandchildren, who have shown 
us the way and provided good directions for us. If we are wrong, 
lead us in the right path again ! 

"Now, my Grandfather (the Wheel), your foundation was once 
blown down, and it was by the conscientiousness of .your child (Yahdse), 
a young orphan among us, who went and got the Wheel from the 
grave. By the resurrection of this holy Wheel we have been saved to 
this day as a nation. Of course you know that we are young in the 
ways of our forefathers, and old things have to a certain extent gone 
out of existence, and we are under obligations to call unto you for 
your sympathy. Through some carelessness of your servant (Yahiise), 
he forgot to take the Wheel with him, and some one of the children of 
yours, who did not know our holy lodge, went and took down the big 

92 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

Wheel and took from it its feathers; but through the efforts .of his 
children, it was redeemed ; so this day we are here with the big Wheel, 
to make our offering to you and to all mysterious beings. Remember, 
our Father, that we put our faith and confidence in you for life. 
When you are taken out before the people to-day, please extend our 
prayers to your Father and to our Father, too, that in years to come 
this holy lodge may be prolonged, and that people of different tribes 
may unite in brotherly love. 

"My Grandmother, Old-Woman-Night, be still; bend your ears 
and hear our prayer, that we who come together out of respect to your ^ 
sacred orders may be supplied with good rest at night, and that we 
may be permitted to rise on the next day. May your ways and 
methods be a light to us, and may our path be firm into old age!" 

All now left the lodge except Hdwkan and Naen, the wife of 
Waatanakashi, the substitute Lodge-Maker, and the Peace-Keeper. 
All returned a few moments later, when it was found that NaSn had 
been painted during the interval. (See Plate XXX.) About her face 
was a black line, and on the center of her breast was a circular symbol 
painted in black, about two inches in diameter. On her nose was a small 
black dot, while just above, beginning near the center of her forehead, 
was an elongated Y-shaped design. On each cheek and on her chin 
were symbols of pipes, the bowls of the two pipes on her cheeks being 
turned toward her mouth, while the bowl of the pipe on her chin was 
turned toward her right side. On opposite sides of her breast and 
just above the black circular symbol were also two symbols of pipes, 
their bowls facing toward the median line of her body, while in the 
center of her breast and above these two pipes was an additional 
pipe, the bowl of this being turned toward the left side of her body. 
Around her arms and ankles were painted narrow bands in black. 
Fastened around her waist and covering the lower portion of her body, 
was a buffalo robe, while over this was the sacred belt, the ends of the 
belt being tied behind, and the apron extending down in front. 

All the priests now entered the lodge; each took up some piece of 
the ceremonial paraphernalia and all preparations were completed for 
abandoning the lodge. 


Debithe now took up the buffalo skull, and carrying it carefully 
and proceeding slowly, deposited it upon the little mound of earth 
which had been made about half-way between the Rabbit-tipi and the 
place of the Offerings-lodge. Then several objects in the Rabbit-tipi 
were removed and placed by the side of the skull. All now left the 



PL. XXXI. Warrior Societies about the Offerings-lodge Awaiting the Appear- 

Fig. I. Members of the Thunderbird society bringing to the scene tipi- 
poles, which are fastened together near their smaller extremity with rawhide 
thongs, to be used in lifting into position the reach-poles. 

Fig. 2. In foreground are members of the Uog-soldier society. 

bOlXOIgSK*! fll .1 



Pl. XXXII. Rabbit-tipi Priests Leaving the Rabbit-tipi. Fourth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. In front and at one side, is Hocheni; at the head of the line and in 
front of H6cheni, Nishnat^yana with the buffalo skull; behind him in order, are 
Thi'yeh with the wheel, Chanitoe with the buffalo robe, Watdngaa with the 
Badger-pack, Debithe with the straight-pipe, Nfwaat with the bag of red paint, 
Watdngaa with a bag of black paint, Wahubahu with the ceremonial knife, and 
Yahiise with the ceremonial digging-stick. 

Fig. 2. The same priests, in the order as just given: Nishnat^yana deposit- 
ing the buffalo skull: In the rear of the line is Hdwkan. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 93 

Rabbit-tipi, taking with them the remaining objects, and proceeded 
in the direction of the Offerings-lodge. In this procession Debithe 
carried the straight-pipe, the Lodge-Maker the knife representing a 
lance, and Biba the Wheel with its willow support, while Bihata had a 
sack of red paint and Waatu a sack of black paint. 


J As has already been stated, all preparations were now completed 
on the part of the priests within the lodge, and they were now to start 
out for the ceremony of painting the poles and for the completion of 
the Offerings-lodge proper. 

The scenes outside during the painting of the dancers and the 
final preparations of the priests had been unusually interesting. The 
inhabitants of the entire camp-circle, together with large numbers of 
spectators from visiting tribes, were gathered in groups here and there 
in the great enclosure. Near the Rabbit-tipi were the Dog-soldiers, 
appropriately costumed, while in other groups were the Kit-Fox, Star, 
Lime-Crazy, and Thunderbird organizations, all gayly attired, singing 
appropriate songs. (See Plate XXXL) 

At a signal from Hdwkan, Nishnat^yana took up the buffalo skull, 
Thiyeh the Wheel and the digging-stick for the sod, Chanitoe the 
buffalo robe, Watangaa the Badger-pack, Debithe the straight-pipe, 
the Lodge-Maker the bag of red paint, Waatanakashi, the bag of 
black paint, Wahiibahu the ceremonial knife or dagger, Yahiise the 
digging-stick, while Hawkan took up the support for the Wheel, as 
well as the support for the sage representing the bird and the leathern 
case for the belt. In this order they filed out of the tipi and halted 
in the open space just east of the Rabbit-tipi. (See Plate XXXII.) 
On halting, Nishnateyana deposited the skull, and by its side were 
deposited the robe, the two digging-sticks, the Badger-pack, and the 
leathern sack or receptacle for the belt. 

This marks the termination of the rites of the Rabbit-tipi. A few 
moments later, while the priests were engaged in rites at the Offerings- 
lodge, Thiyeh and Waanibe came up, and without formality took the 
Rabbit-tipi down and restored it to its owner in its proper position in 
the camp-circle. 


With Chanitoe at the head of the line, they turned, after emerging 
from the tipi, and facing toward the setting sun, each placed one foot 
near the bottom of the pole They now began singing, and each 
raised whatever he held in his hand toward the sun. Debithe now 

94 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

indicated on the center-pole with the stem of his straight ceremonial 
pipe where the two rings, one of red and one of black, were to be 
painted. Then the Lodge-Maker and his wife went through the same 
performance. Then Wadtu painted a black ring about ten feet from 
the end of the pole, and about five inches in width. Then Bihatu 
painted a red band just above it. Debithe, followed by these same 
individuals, now went to one of the poles on the south side and indi- 
cated where it should be painted, and Waatu painted a black band 
about the pole. This performance was repeated to another pole on 
the south, whereupon all proceeded to the north side of the space, and 
went through the same performance, Bihata, after the poles had been 
selected, painting each one with a red band. Several men and women 
now came forward from the throng of spectators and tied calico to 
these poles. 

Certain members of the Dog-soldier society now took a large 
number of willow boughs, divided them into two piles, and reunited 
them, placing the ends of each pile in opposite directions. These 
were then securely tied into a bundle by means of a long rawhide 
rope, which, as has been noticed, was prepared in the Rabbit-tipi. 
This bundle was then fastened in the fork of the center-pole. The 
buffalo robe was now placed in the fork of the tree so that the head 
of the robe hung over a short distance on one side. 

During the painting of the poles, members of the Star and Kit- 
Fox societies had secured small forked poles and tipi poles which they 
fastened together in pairs, like scissors, by means of buckskin thongs 
near the upper ends, to help in the raising of the center-pole. Then 
Naaseh stood by the side of the fork and uttered a prayer and told 
his war story, relating how he stabbed the enemy with a lance, and as 
he did so, he thrust the digging-stick, which had been handed him, in 
the bundle of willows. 


We left the line of priests by the side of the buffalo skull, where 
certain other objects of ceremonial nature had been deposited. They 
now continued in single file on toward the east, where they encircled 
the lodge in sunwise circuit. Having arrived at the northwest corner 
of the lodge they drew up in line, having in front of them one of the 
four rafter-poles, which purposely had been left on the ground. 
Hdwkan then prayed. (See Fig. i, Plate XXXIIL) Then the follow- 
ing stepped on the base of the tree and returned to their positions in 
the line — Hdwkan, Debithe, Nd§n, Wadtanakashi, the Lodge-Maker, 
Wahiibahu, and Yahiise. Nishnat^yana now made four motions 

.S Nr<; 

PL. XXXIII. Preliminary Rite before Painting the Reach-poles. 
Fourth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Hdwkan praying at the first lodge-pole; Nishnat^yana holding aloft 
the pipe-stem; Thiyeh the Wheel; and Wahiibahu the ceremonial knife. 

Fig. 2. Thfyeh touching the pole, preparatory to its being painted, with the 
feathers of the Wheel. 





PL. XXXIV. Painting the Reach-pole. Fourth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Thiyeh touching the pole with the feathers of the Wheel. 
Fig. 2. Ndwaht placing the band of red paint to the reach-pole between the 
points previously indicated by the pipe-stem, the Wheel, and the ceremonial knife. 

Pl. XXXV. Painting the Center-pole. Fourth Day, 1902. 

Nishnat^yana with the pipe-stem, and Thfyeh with the Wheel, indicating 
upon the pole the location of the bands of paint. 

IP Vj --»*."..• ;.■»!*{' 0" 3-.- -:.•-■;'»»■!»■. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 95 

toward the middle of the pole with the pipe-stem, then touched it, 
passing the pipe-stem around the pole, and then repeated this per- 
formance a few inches higher up on the pole. Thiyeh went through 
the same performance, but with the Wheel (see Fig. 2, Plate XXXIII.), 
touching the pole with the feathers of the Wheel in the two places just 
indicated by Nishnat^yana, while Wahiibahu touched the pole in the 
same way with the knife. The Lodge-Maker then opened the bag of 
red paint, and between the two marks thus indicated by the pipe-stem 
and the Wheel he painted a red band, which encircled the pole. (See 
Figs. I and 2, Plate XXXIV.) 

The first pole having been painted, the line then continued on 
around the lodge until they came to the northeast pole. Here rites 
were performed exactly similar to those performed at the first pole, 
this also being painted with a band of red. 

Again the line of priests made the circuit of the lodg^, halting at 
the southeast corner, where similar rites were performed. This pole, 
however, was painted black, the work being done by Waatanakashi. 
Again the line moved around the circle, halting at the southwest 
corner, where the fourth and last pole was painted with similar rites. 
This also was done by Waatanakashi. 

Many parents, accompanied by their children, now came forward 
from the crowd of surrounding spectators, and touched one or another 
of these poles, some of them tying to the poles pieces of red and 
black calico. 

The priests now continued on around the lodge in sunwise circuit. 
Arriving at the eastern entrance of the lodge, they entered and passed 
in single file to the center-pole^ which it will be remembered, had been 
placed inside of the lodge with its base near the hole which had been 
dug for receiving it, while the fork extended toward the west, lying 
in a perpendicular position. Again a song was sung, as at the four 
rafter-poles, and Hawkan indicated to Nishnat^yana where the bands 
should be painted, whereupon the latter indicated with his pipe-stem, 
with the usual ceremonial passes, while his wife went through the same 
performance with the feathers of the Wheel, thus marking off a space 
about eight inches in width on the tree. Around this, Waatanakashi 
now painted a solid band of black. Just above this, Niwaat painted a 
band of equal width in red, Waatanakashi then guiding the hands of 
Yahiise (the latter being blind) over the paint — for it will be remem- 
bered that Yahtise had obtained this privilege by a rite in the Rabbit- 
tipi. (See Plate XXXV.) 

The priests then stepped over to the west a few paces, where they 
encountered two bundles of long slender willow branches which had 

96 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

been stripped of their leaves, except at the tips. Niwaat then daubed 
red paint here and there over the bundle on the west side, which had 
been so placed that the butts of the limbs were directed south. 
Waatanakashi went to the other bundle, which had its butts turned 
north, and daubed it with black paint. The two bundles were then 
assembled and placed in the fork of the center-pole so that they 
retained their relative position, the black-painted sticks on the east 
side with their butts directed north, while the red-painted bundle was 
on the west side, with its butt directed south. 

The digging-stick was now brought from its position by the side 
of the skull and held by Hawkan while he prayed. Chief Nawaht 
now told a war story, whereupon the digging-stick was thrust through 
the willow bundles and through the buffalo robe. 


Debithe and his companions were still standing in line, and now 
began to sing. At the close of the song the Lodge-Maker yelled in a 
loud voice, the Dog-soldiers blew upon their whistles, and they all 
lifted upon the pole. They did this twice again, and on the fourth 
time, the pole was raised into an upright position, and one end was 
lowered into the hole which had been prepared. (See Plate XXXVL) 
The dirt was then tramped around the center-pole to make it stable, 
and the younger men of the societies now completed the construction 
of the lodge by erecting sixteen smaller forked poles in the form of a 
circle and distant from the center-pole about thirty feet. 

In arranging these poles, care was taken that two poles which 
had been painted black should occupy positions in the southeast and 
southwest, while two which had been painted red should occupy the 
northeast and northwest corners of the circle. The outer upright 
poles were then joined by means of cross-bars resting in the forks and 
passing from one pole to another. They then lifted into place long 
slender poles passing from the fork of the center-pole to the tops of 
the poles around the circle. Then cottonwood boughs were stood 
upright upon the ground, leaning on the cross-bars, except for the 
space between two of the poles on the eastern side of the lodge, which 
was left open throughout the ceremony. 

While the lodge was in its final stages of preparation, Debithe 
took the Lodge-Maker and his wife to his lodge, where they ate and 
drank. While they were feasting, H6cheni made a circuit of the 
camp-circle and made the formal announcement that the lodge was 
ready, and that the time was at hand for the beginning of the dancing. 

PL. XXXVl. The Fork of the Center-pole. Third Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Extending through the bundle of willows and buffalo robe may be 
seen the ceremonial diggin^j-stick. 

Fig. 2. Depending from the buffalo robe may be seen the "moon" shells 
and eagle-tail feathers. 









FIG. 2. 



PL. XXXVII. Upper Half of Center-pole, Showing Bands of Paint, Bundle of 
Willows, Digging-Stick, etc. Fourth Day, 1902. 



FIG. 1. 



-. .-^jdC 


Ar . ^.^^^KA^^^mmlt 

mtifimm^m' ^t ^ x T^ 

kfc ^iJpr* 


Pl. XXXVIII. Completion of the Offerings-lodge. Fourth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Line of Rabbit priests watching the raising of the center-pole. 
Fig. 2. Members of the Star society raising into place the last reach-pole. 


- ^HM&Kiili 


May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 97 


After the painting of the poles and the addition to the center-pole 
of the bundle, robe, and digging-stick, a great crowd of people came 
forward to witness the raising of the center-pole. Groups of the 
members of the warrior societies stood about, ready to assist in the 
operation. Nishnat^yana lifted the pipe toward the west, while his 
wife held aloft the Wheel upon the pole, and they began a song. At 
the conclusion of the song, all lifted upon the pole. Then the second 
song was sung, and again the warriors lifted, this performance being 
repeated four times. At the conclusion of the fourth song, with a 
loud shout, the great tree was slowly, but surely, lifted in an upright 
position, and was let back in the hole which had been prepared for it. 
(See Plate XXXVIL) Then, in a very short space of time, with much 
shouting, yelling, and singing, and with great rivalry, as if to see 
which should be first, the warrior societies lifted up the four painted 
and the other rafter-poles and forced them in position. (See Plate 
XXXVin.) The remaining cross-bar, on the western side, which had 
been left out until the erection of the center-pole, was now put in 
place, and the Offerings-lodge was completed. 

The Wheel was carried to the back of the skull and placed on its 
support, which stood just in front of the skull, while the pipe was 
deposited on the south side of the skull, where they were to remain 
until late in the evening, when they were to be carried inside the great 
lodge, to be used in the preparation of the altar on the following day. 

It was now about seven o'clock, and there was an interval of per- 
haps an hour, during which time the priests and those giving the 
lodge repaired to the home of Niwaat, the Lodge-Maker, where the 
latter and his associates broke their three days' fast, and all indulged 
in a bountiful feast. In the mean time the throng about the lodge 
had not diminished, where all now awaited the rite of "dancing in." 


Young men who had been putting on their costumes in their 
lodges now began to come forth to the Offerings-lodge, where they 
danced and sang. While the singing was in progress there was an 
exchange of presents among the friends. On the conclusion of the 
fourth song those dancing ceased, and the young men returned home. 
Kana'thekahade now related a war story, and a fire was built midway 
between the center-pole and the outer pole to the north of the east 
opening. The lodge was now ready for the appearance of those who 
were to fast and dance for three days. « 

98 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 


While the priests aftd those who had begun fasting in the Offer- 
ings-lodge were engaged in the evening meal, occurred the ceremony 
known as "dancing in," which in the ceremony of this year, was 
performed in full. 

About the center-pole of the lodge were gathered the chiefs of the 
Arapaho tribe. Around the sides of the lodge were the spectators, 
with a number of musicians on the south side. Between the circle of 
spectators and the chiefs about the center-pole was an open space 
which was to be occupied by the dancers. These soon came in and 
danced at intervals for about two hours. There was manifested 
during this time a great deal of hilarity on the part of the spectators. 

From time to time the chiefs about the center-pole related stories 
of victories in war in former days. At one time, after a conference, 
they simulated the former practice of choosing chiefs, it being sup- 
posed that the sham battle early on this day gave the chiefs the 
opportunity to judge of the abilities and bravery of the warriors. 

After this rather spectacular, but not very important, performance 
had continued for some time, this crowd gave way to the priests and 
the dancers who now appeared, and who were to occupy the lodge for 
three days and three nights. 


During the "dancing-in" performance, Debithe, the Lodge-Maker 
and his wife, and other of the important priests had partaken of food, 
and had returned to the center of the circle. The skull and other 
ceremonial objects were now brought and deposited without ceremony 
near the base of the center-pole. In the mean time the Rabbit-tipi 
had been torn down by its owner and re-erected in its proper place in 
the camp-circle. 

The nine men, who in addition to the Lodge-Maker were to fast 
and go through the ordeal of the ceremony, put in appearance at the 
lodge. All of them had partaken of the evening meal at home or in 
the lodge of their friends, and all had painted themselves from head 
to foot with white clay. Each one was provided with an eagle-bone 
whistle and with a buckskin kilt, and wore an eagle breath-feather in 
his hair; each carried in his hand, as he approached the lodge, a pipe 
and tobacco bag. 

On arriving at the lodge they took their place in the southwestern 
section, where each filled his pipe and passed it to H6cheni, who 
lighted it, puffed upon it a fe% times, and passed it among the men 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 99 

who had been selected by those who were to fast, as their grand- 
fathers, and who were now also present. After the smoking had con- 
tinued for some time, Hawkan told the dancers to get ready. They 
placed the buckskin thong of the bone whistle around their neck and 
examined the whistle, to know that it was in good condition, and all 
now rose to their feet and stood in line in this southeastern section, 
facing the center-pole. Debithe arose and showed them how to hold 
the whistle and the movements of the dance, and then, with a bone 
whistle in his mouth, proceeded to a spot directly under the southeast 
pole, which was painted black. Hawkan now prayed : 

hawkan's prayer. 

"Father, Man- Above, my Mother, Old- Woman-Night, my Grand- 
fathers, the Four-Old-Men, here we are, ready. May you listen to 
our wishes for this people here, that during this ceremony they may 
be protected day and night from danger and sickness! My Father, 
Man-Above, you have so made the sun to shine. Old-Woman-Night, 
you have made the moon to shine. You have told us how to go 
through all this ceremony. Four-Old-Men, we have followed your 
paths. This night, whatever we may do, may it be in harmony with 
you! May all that we ask in our secret prayers be granted! So 
be it!" 

At the conclusion of the prayer, a song was started by members 
of the Star society, who were seated near the east and to the south of 
the east opening of the lodge, during which Hawkan kept time by 
shaking a rattle in his right hand, while Chanitoe, who was seated to 
the west of the center-pole, beat upon the Badger-pack. As they 
sang, the dancers, led by Debithe, looked up toward the pole painted 
black, raised the right hand, and whistled softly. Then they pro- 
ceeded to the northeast corner, where underneath the pole with the 
red band they repeated the performance, and so to the northwest 
pole, and then to the southwest, and then to the center-pole; where- 
upon they turned to- their position in the southeast corner and all sat 

Thihauchhawkah now took up the rawhide, which, as has been 
mentioned, was folded in the form of a parfleche, and laid it down in 
front of Hawkan. He then took from the fire a live coal, which he 
also placed in front of Hawkan. Spruce-leaves were then passed upon 
the coal, and Thihauchhawkan took up the rawhide, made four passes 
toward the rising incense, and then passed the parfleche over the coals 
in a slow and careful manner. He then carried the rawhide to the 
southeast, where he again motioned it now toward and among the 

loo Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol, IV. 

drummers four times, whereupon he tossed it in among them, when 
they beat upon it violently with sticks. The singers, having been 
joined by a large number of men, now surrounded the drum and began 
to sing. This continued for a short time, whereupon the crowd dis- 
persed for the night. This time marks the beginning of the second 
period of fasting for the Lodge-Maker and his wife and the three 
days* period for the nine men who now take an active part in the 


On arriving at the center of the circle, at about eleven o'clock in 
the evening, the priests at once carried into the lodge the buffalo skull 
and other sacred paraphernalia which had been lying outside and west 
of the lodge since the abandonment of the Rabbit-tipi. This was 
placed on the ground about half-way between the western wall of the 
lodge and the center-pole. Back of them, and extending nearly half- 
way around the western half of the lodge, were the men who were now 
to begin to fast. In the southeast corner of the lodge was a large 
drum, and about it was a number of the members of the Dog-soldier 
society. Half-way between the center-pole and the eastern opening 
of the lodge the fire was kindled. At the base of the center-pole and 
leaning against it was the digging-stick to be used on the following 
day for the sods, the cedar tree, and the bales of blankets and other 
goods belonging to the Lodge-Maker, which since they had come into 
his possession had been kept near the Rabbit-tipi during the day- 
time, and inside the Rabbit-tipi at night. 


Immediately after the building of a fire, a war story was told by 
one of the chiefs. Then Niwaat sat down in front of the buffalo skull, 
while in a semicircular line around the skull, were Nden, Waatanakashi, 
Yahiise, Watangaa, Nishchanakati, Hocheni, Hawkan, Watanah, 
Chanitoe, Debithe, Nishnat^yana, Baihoh, and other minor priests. 
Niwaat held in his hands the straight-pipe. A live coal was placed in 
front of Niwaat. One of the priests gave to Niwaat a pinch of cedar- 
leaves. All being ready, Hdwkan prayed. 

No sooner had he closed his prayer than a large crowd of people 
suddenly appeared and gathered just on the outside of the lodge. It 
was now midnight. Hdwkan began shaking the rattle, while Wdtanah 
began beating the Badger-pack with the pipe-stem. Again the sacred 
song was sung to the accompaniment of the beating of time on the 
part of these two priests, while Niwaat, holding the incense between 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. ioi 

the thumb and forefinger of his right hand, placed his right elbow 
upon his knee and slowly moved his hand out and back in front of his 
face. During the second song, a similar movement was repeated on 
the part of the three. At the beginning of the third song, Niwaat's 
hand was moved over to the left side, where it was again waved back 
and forth in front of him to the accompaniment of the song. The 
same movement was continued through the fourth song. During the 
fifth song the same movement was kept up, but he shifted his hand 
so that it was now in front of his face. At the end of this song he 
placed'the leaves upon the coal, took up the rawhide, and in a stoop- 
,ing position, passed it slowly over the rising incense. Carrying the 
rawhide in this position, he proceeded around the lodge in a sunwise 
circuit, halting as he stood under the northwest painted pole, when he 
continued on to the northeast pole, where he halted; then continued 
again to the painted pole on the southeast, and again halted ; and on 
to the southwest. He then went back toward the southeast, in the 
direction of the drummers, toward whom he motioned with the raw- 
hide four times, and cast it in among them on the fifth, whereupon 
they beat upon it rapidly with drumsticks. He then returned to his 
position by the side of the skull, this time, however, making a sinistral 


A live coal was now brought in front of Hawkan, who made the 
four ceremonial passes around it, beginning at the southeast, the fifth 
direction from the above, and placed the incense upon the coal. 

There now followed the ceremony of offering the body of the wife 
of Waatanakashi by Nishnat^yana, to the Moon. This performance 
was practically the same as that which took place on the second night 
of the Rabbit-tipi, and which is described in a later section of this 
paper. An outline of what occurred may not be out of place at this 
point, in order that the account of the performance on this night may 
be more complete: One of the Dog-soldiers placed a coal under the 
black-painted pole in the northwest corner of the lodge, which was to 
be used in connection with the rite of making the footprint. The 
pipe was given to Nishnat^yana by Waatanakashi, the latter returning 
to his seat. Nden arose from her position in the line and stood behind 
Nishnateyana. Hawkan began shaking the rattle, while Watanah beat 
the Badger-pack. At the seventh beat the priests began singing. At 
the fourth song Nishnateyana, followed by the wife of Waatanakashi, 
both of them being enveloped in buffalo robes, arose and left the lodge, 
passing over the rising incense in the northeast corner of the lodge. 

I02 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

On their return, after an absence of a few minutes, Nishnat^yana 
kissed the Wheel, then sat down in his proper place in the circle. The 
pipes were now lighted and made the ceremonial circuit of the priests 
four times. At the conclusion of the rite of smoking, the dancers 
went to their grandfathers, who had already entered the lodge, and 
took up their position in front of the (jlancers. Each of the dancers 
placed his hands on his grandfather and prayed. The fire was now 
replenished, while two of the Dog-soldiers danced for joy, and then 
told their stories. 


It was now one o'clock in the morning. The dancers arose, put 
on their kilts, fastened a breath feather to their scalp-locks, then took 
up their eagle-bone whistles. Nishnat^yana put on a rabbit robe, the 
hair side out, and Hawkan told him how to direct the movement. 
Nishnat^yana leading the way, all the dancers, numbering twenty- 
four, with Niwaat and Wdtanah next to Nishnat^yana, passed now to 
the southeast side of the lodge, where they got in an east and west 
line facing the south. Hawkan began again to shake the rattle, while 
Chanitoe beat on the Badger-pack. Then the other priests' began 
singing, and the dancers lifted up their hands toward the painted 
rafter above them and blew upon a bone whistle, the whistling being 
long drawn out, each time, with an equally long interval of silence. 
At the end of the second song the line of dancers moved back a few 
steps and directed their left hands out in front of them. Now they 
moved around beneath the painted pole on the northeast corner, where 
they went through the same performance. At the third song they 
faced toward the east, with their hands directed downward, and out in 
front of them in a sloping direction toward the fireplace. They 
whistled as before. At the fourth song they faced^west, directing 
both of their arms in front of them and slightly downward. At the 
fifth song they moved to the west of the center-pole and formed two 
crescent-shaped lines, facing the skull and directing their hands 
toward the skull, moving them up and down to the accompaniment 
of the song and the whistling. At the end of the seventh song they 
shook their skirts as though they were attempting to remove some- 
thing. It was now noticed that Nishnatdyana had failed to notify the 
dancers to wear their robes during this rite, and as a matter of fact, 
at this point they should have shaken their robes instead of their kilts, 
in this purification rite. The dancers then returned to their positions 
around the lodge. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 103 


The female relatives of the dancers now came up to them, each 
one addressing to the dancer words of encouragement. Waatanakashi 
went to the fireplace, got a live coal, which he placed in front of 
Hawkan, and placed by the side of it the rawhide, which he brought 
from near the center-pole, where it had been lying since it was used 
by the Dog-soldiers. Waatanakashi was now given spruce leaves, and 
sat down in front of Watanah. Again Hawkan rattled, Chanitoe beat 
on the Badger-pack, and the first song was begun, Watanah, as before, 
waving the incense twice on his right side, twice on his left, and once 
in front of him, placing spruce leaves upon the coal at the termina- 
tion of the fifth song. He again passed the rawhide slowly over the 
incense, carried it in a sunwise circuit to the musicians, made four 
passes with it toward them, and with the fifth, threw it among them, 
when they beat upon it. Hawkan now began one of the regular Sun 
Dance songs, which was then taken up by other priests and the musicians 
about the drum. The dancers slowly assumed a standing position and 
began the regular whistling and dancing characteristic of the Sun 
Dance. The priests then, one by one, returned to their homes, while the 
musicians were supplanted by others, and the singing and dancing was 
kept up at intervals throughout the few remaining hours of the night. 

FOURTH DAY, 1901; FIFTH DAY, 1902. 

This corresponds exactly to the fifth day of the celebration of 
1902. The great lodge has been completed and dedicated with appro- 
priate rites. No further preliminary work of preparation remains 
except the erection of the altar, a task involving much time and labor 
on the part of the priests and attended with many interesting rites. 
The day is also notable from the fact that after the altar has been 
completed the dancers are to be publicly painted with the brilliantly 
colored symbolic designs which are worn only during this and the 
following days of the Sun Dance. 


Just before sunrise, the dancers formed in, line, facing toward the 
center of the lodge, when, upon the beginning of the singing and beat- 
ing of the drum they faced east and whistled and danced to the accom- 
paniment of the singing, until the sun appeared above the horizon. 
At the conclusion of the song they smoked and rested until the com- 
pletion of the altar. 

I04 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV.. 


Much work has already been done toward the building of this 
sacred shrine which, it may be here stated, is more elaborate in the 
Arapaho ceremony than in any of the other Sun Dances the author has 

About to form part of the altar, and already present within the 
Offerings-lodge are several objects, already referred to, which have 
been prepared within the sacred Rabbit-tipi ; such are the skull. 
Wheel, Badger-pack, and the digging-stick. (See Plate XXXIX.) It 
is now necessary to secure timbers of various sorts and two pieces of 
sod. Of these additional accessories required for the altar the sods 
are perhaps the most important, and only with the securing of them 
are there any rites this day outside the Offerings-lodge. 

Several of the more important participants of the ceremony, 
including Waakatdni, Sosoni, Chedthea, the Lodge-Maker, Waanibe, 
Debithe, and some of the dancers, about eight o'clock, assembled at 
the lodge and left in single file toward the southeast, their object being 
to secure the two pieces of sod, which were to be used in the construc- 
tion of the altar. Their line of march was single file, "like geese." 
When they had reached the field where good sod was to be found they 
halted. Chedthea offered a prayer, whereupon Sosoni and Waanibe 
took a knife and cut out two circular pieces of sod, one about four- 
teen and the other about sixteen inches in diameter. 

The two sods were placed on a blanket, which was carried by four 
young men, and they all started back for the lodge again, going in 
single file, and making a circular motion, in imitation of geese. This 
motion was especially intended to represent the different motions made 
by geese as they fly high in the summer and winter flight, for as they 
travel a long distance, so do the Arapaho, for the earth is wide ; while 
the bird represented was that goose which has a pure white body 
except for a little spot on its back, which spot somewhat resembles a 
bird ; hence the Arapaho say that this goose carries a bird on its back. 

The line having reached the lodge, they circled about it twice 
and entered by the opening on the east. The dancers who accom- 
panied the priests now resumed their seats on the southeast side of 
the lodge, while the others, except the four men who carried the sod, 
sat down here and there in the lodge. 


Hdwkan uttered a long prayer, during which time the greatest 
silence prevailed. Debithe took to the fireplace a straight black pipe — 

PL. XXXIX. The Temporary Altar in the Offerings-lodge. Fifth Day, 1902. 

The skull, Wheel, straight-pipe, rattle, Badger-pack and paint bags, as they 
are placed in the Offerings-lodge on the preceding night, where they were to 
remain until the erection of the permanent altar. 



FIG. 1. 

FIG. 2. 

Pl. XL. Preliminary Rites before Cutting the Sods. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Priests surrounding the site of the sods, while Hocheni prepares the 
ground, that the women may cut the sods. 

Fig. 2. Hocheni directing the cutting of the sod. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 105 

the stem of which had been used for marking the location of the bands 
on the four roof-poles of the lodge, on the center-pole, for the exca- 
vation, as well as for similar performances throughout the ceremony — 
lighted it, and took it to Hawkan, who passed it to Waakat'ani. The 
priests sat down in a semicircular position about the two pieces of 
sod. At the right end of the line was Hawkan, with Debithe on his 
left, then Chanitoe and Hocheni, while at the end of the line sat 
Waakat'ani. The pipe was passed along the line, each smoking a few 
whiffs and offering the smoke to the above and below. Hocheni took 
the pipe-stem, and standing over the sod, made four passes over them, 
spat upon the sod, first on the sides and then upon the top. 

Watdngaa re-entered the lodge, and going over by the drum, 
where Cheathea sat, he uttered a prayer, which he repeated after he 
had stepped up by the side of Hawkan. It will be remembered that 
Watangaa was a pupil during this ceremony, and his two prayers were 
in the nature of a supplication that he might not fail or make a mis- 
take in what he should be required to do during the day. He sat 
down in front of Hocheni, holding out his two hands. The latter 
touched his finger to the ground, then to his tongue, took a bite of 
root, motioned, and spat in Watangaa's hands five times, at the same 
time giving him words of advice. 


The journey for the sods in 1902 was begun about nine o'clock in 
the morning. Just after leaving the Offerings-lodge, the priests 
turned toward the north with Hdwkan, Watangaa, Watanah, Nishna- 
t^yana, Chanitoe, Nakaash, and Niwaat, the latter wearing his buffalo 
robe. Then came in single file Thiyeh bearing an axe, Waanibe 
carrying an iron bar, His^nibe carrying the digging-stick, Nden bear- 
ing a -shovel, and Cheathea Next in line was Waatanakashi, followed 
by ten of the dancers. Continuing toward the north they soon passed 
outside the camp-circle, where they halted at the foot of the hill 
where sod of a suitable nature was to be found. 

Around a particular spot, which had been previously chosen, they 
all formed in one large semicircular line, the opening being to the 
south. (See Fig. i, Plate XL.) Hocheni touched the first finger of 
his right hand to the ground, then to his tongue, took a bite of root, 
then spat in his hands five times. The root was then passed to all the 
other members of the circle, who went through a similar performance. 
Chedthea prayed. All now arose, while Hawkan prayed: 

io6 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

hawkan's prayer. 

"Here I am again with your people this day. Your lodge is up 
and it is in order; may we therefore pray aright at your sacred altar, 
because your people in years past have done this. It is your word 
that this be a reminder of the first man, and we ask you to teach us 
the right way and guide us through this whole ceremony to the last. 

"My Grandfather, Light-of-the-Earth, look down on us, poor in 
spirit and thought! Help us to do these things aright, and let this 
people, with me, bow before you and our Gods in holy thoughts, that 
we may receive blessings for our kindred (the sods), and for our visi- 
tors! We have searched for the best ground, and now one of your' 
servants will cut the two sods for us all, just as your children did in 
past years; let it now seem good to you! 

"We ask you, Old-Woman-Night, to help us and make this time 
good. We request for our children your protection at night, during 
our rest. Let your light shine brightly upon us, and whatever you 
control in the sky, may it be a help during this ceremony! May there 
be peace at night and continual praise and good prayers! 

"Listen to me, please, Four-Old-Men! You are the people to 
whom we look for daily protection and seek for good breath of life. 
We ask of you to be near to us upon this occasion. Oh, give us 
gentle breezes and cleanse us from impurities! We are obliged to call 
upon you for help, in order that we may obtain good paint and stand 
by your teaching. If we shall make any mistake, have pity upon us, 
for we are yet children! May our road be straight, and give us peace 
of mind! Please help me, for the burden is heavy ! Make it light, and 
cause the people to rejoice with thanksgiving! If there is any evil in 
the camp, take it away from the sick one! Have mercy upon us, you 
Four-Old-Men ! Be good to us and put our steps on good, hard 
ground, toward the level road, a road that is not soft! Let us follow your 
ways, for we want to be old! Protect this sacred ceremony, and cause 
these children to remember the routine work of the lodge ! 

"Please give your ears, our Mother, Morning-Star! Look upon 
your servants who will cut the sods, and guide them straight! We 
have with us your servant, the Peace-Keeper. Give her steady 
thought, so that we may do things pleasing to you and our Gods! 
May we arrive safely with your sods, and may they be cleansing power 
upon the tribe! 

"Our Father, your birds, which we imitate, are white and have 
power for long flight, and drink the sweet-water (snow) ; may we 
accordingly! We ask these things with pure hearts." " 



PL. XLI. Cutting the Sods. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Thi'yeh and Wadnibe cutting the first sod. 

Fig. 2. Hocheni, using the pipe-stem, in order that the women'may'use the 
digging-stick to loosen the sods. 




Pl. XLII. Taking the Sod from the Ground. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Thi'yeh and other women, lifting the sod from the earth. 

Fig. 2. Priests bathing their hands in the earth, after the removal of the sods. 



FIG. 2. 

PL. XLIII. Carrying the Sods back to the Offerings-lodge. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Rabbit-tipi priests and women, led by Hocheni in front of the line. 
Fig. 2. Assistant priests and dancers carrying the sod. 



PL XLIV Evolutions Performed during the Transfer of the Sods to the 
Offerings-lodge. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. First movement, circling to the right. 
Fig. 2. The circle completed. 



Pl. XLV. The Fourth Evolution in Transferring the Sods to the Offerings- 
place. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Beginning to circle to the right. 

Fig. 2. Completion of the movement, the assistants bearing the sods enter- 
ing the Offerings-lodge in advance of the priests. 


Pl. XLVI. Removing the Sods from the Blanket inside the Offerings-lodge. 

Fifth Day, 1902. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 107 

At the conclusion of the prayer the ends of the line closed 
together, thus forming a circle, and in this fashion they passed around 
the spot where the sods were about to be cut, four times, all making 
occasionally a peculiar noise with the lips, representing a noise made 
by the brant. 

Again they sat down in a semicircle with the opening to the 
south. (See Fig. 2, Plate XL.) Hawkan gave instructions as to how 
the sod should be prepared for cutting, whereupon Hocheni, with the 
pipe-stem, made the five ceremonial motions toward the sod about to 
be cut, ejecting spittle at the same time, while the women bearing the 
digging-stick, the shovel, and the bar, pointed simultaneously in the 
direction indicated by Hocheni with the pipe-stem. Then Hocheni 
rubbed the stem over the ground, covering a space about a foot and 
a half in diameter. The second space,* similar in size, was indicated 
in the same manner. 

Thiyeh, with Waanibe, removed the grass from around the first 
space just indicated, whereupon all of the women now worked together 
in loosening a piece of sod about sixteen inches in diameter and about 
six inches deep. (See Fig. i, Plate XLI.) After it had been loosened 
on all sides, Hocheni went around the sod, and with his pipe-stem, 
simulated a prying motion. (See Fig. 2, Plate XLI.) The crowbar 
and digging-stick were used to lift the sod, whereupon all surrounded 
it and lifted it up and placed it on the blanket which had been spread 
on the ground near by. (See Figs, i and 2, Plate XLIL) As the sod 
was being transferred, the women all made a peculiar noise with their 
mouths. The women returned to the hole and rubbed their hands 
against its sides and bottom and on the grass surrounding the hole. 
The second piece of sod, of similar shape and of equal size, was cut, 
with the same rites, and was placed on top of the other sod, on the 

In the procession back to the lodge, Hocheni led the way, fol- 
lowed by Hawkan, the five women, Watanah, Chanitoe, Nakaash, and 
Waatanakashi. (See Fig. i, Plate XLIII.) At four different times 
on the way back to the lodge, the line, beginning with Hocheni, was 
diverted from its direct course, off to the right, and circled back upon 
itself twice. (See Figs, i and 2, Plate XLIV.) As they performed 
these circling evolutions they made the same noise with the lips which 
they made as they circled around the sods before they had been cut. 
The fourth movement was made just in front of the lodge (see Figs. 
I and 2, Plate XLV.), after which, they entered, went through this 
movement, and deposited the blanket with the sods south of the skull 
and wiest of the center-pole. (See Plate XL VI.) The priests sat 

io8 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

down in the southeast portion of the lodge, where the pipe was cere- 
monially smoked by the priests four times. 

Regarding the preparation of the sods and their final disposition, 
the same course was followed in the 1902 performance as on the previ- 
ous year. After Hocheni had gone through the usual movement with 
the pipe-stem over them, Watdngaa and his wife trimmed them up 
and placed them in position. (See Plates XLIV., XLV., and XLVII.) 
After Watangaa had decorticated a few of the dogwood sticks, to be 
mentioned presently, he took up a large knife and began trimming up 
the edges of the sods, making them more nearly circular and in the 
shape of inverted cones. 


During this time, Biba and her grandmother sat near the extreme 
western end of the lodge, having the buffalo skull and other parapher- 
nalia, which had been brought in on the previous night, between them 
and the center-post. While the priests were absent, members of the 
Star society had secured a small cedar, a small willow, and five small 
Cottonwood trees, which had been brought to the lodge. They also 
brought in a large number of rabbit bushes and several small branches 
of dogwood, which Waakat'ani soon began decorticating. 

Waanibe and Sosoni, both pupils, now entered, leading ponies and 
carrying calico, presents from them to Hdwkan and Chaui, for their 

After the ponies had been removed, the two women began to 
sharpen the bases of the cottonwood limbs. After this was done, 
Waanibe sharpened the base of the little cedar tree, while Sosoni 
sharpened the base of the willow. Chaiii and Sdsoni brought in two 
cottonwood billets, about four feet long. Wadnibe then took up the 
two cottonwood billets from the base of the center-pole, where they 
had been placed, and carried them over near Hdcheni. The latter 
arose, and placing the pipe-stem in her hands, guided the stem five 
times in the direction of the billets and then over them and at the 
ends. He uttered a prayer, returned to his position in the semi- 
circular line, while Wadnibe began decorticating the two billets. (See 
Plate L.) 

Chaui and several members of Thihduchhdwkan's society came in 
and sat down on the north side of the lodge near the opening. The 
rabbit bushes were divided up among the older men, sitting in a semi- 
circle; each one occupied himself for a while in bringing the base of 
each bush to a point. (See Plate LI.) 

PL. XLVII. HocHENi Touching the Sods with the Pipe-stem, Preparatory to 
Their Being Trimmed. Fifth Day, 1902. 

PL. XLVIII. Watangaa and Wife, Trimming the Sods. Fifth Day, 1902. 

In a semicircular line behind them, the Rabbit-tipi priests. 

PL. XLIX. Wat/Cngaa and Wife, Transferring the Earth Cut from the Sods to 
A Blanket. Fifth Day, 1902. 

PL. L. Thiyeh Preparing one of the two Billets to form the Ceremonial Bed 
OF THE Altar. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Pl. LI. Rabbit-tipi Priests Dividing the Rabbit Bushes that They may be Pre- 
pared FOR Insertion into the Sods. Fifth Day, 1902. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 109 


When all preparations had been made, Hdwkan arose and invoked 
a blessing upon the buffalo skull and other objects west of the center- 
pole, whereupon Debithe arose and removed them all to a position just 
at the base of the pole. 


Hdwkan now took a stand in a position where the skull had been 
lying, looked up toward the pile, prayed, then touched his forehead 
and pointed toward the ground. Hawkan instructed Watangaa how 
to pick up the two cottonwood billets, whereupon the latter placed one 
of them on the south and one on the north of Debithe. Hawkan 
stooped over them, spat upon each one five times, and passed the pipe- 
stem along each billet. 

Watangaa in the mean time knelt down in front of the two billets, 
gently removed the grass from the end of each one of them, forming 
a place for them to lie. The object of this performance was to esti- 
mate the required length of these two billets, for they were to form 
the outer boundary of a small rectangular excavation which was soon 
to be made on the ground, where Debithe stood, which space was to 
be occupied by the Lodge-Maker during the ceremony. 

The two billets were now taken up again and carried to the place 
where the old men had been working. Debithe stepped forward from 
the place which he had been occupying, turned, and knelt in front of 
it, and with his fingers indicated on the ground where the excavation 
was to be made, whereupon Waanibe and Sosoni, with axes, began to 
cut out the sod, forming a rectangular excavation about twelve inches 
wide and eighteen inches long, east and west, and about three inches 


Watangaa took a sack of black paint, mixed it with water, and 
painted one of the decorticated billets, while his wife painted the other 
one red. He then besmeared with black paint the bodies of the two 
cottonwood boughs, and the willow and cedar trees. The women 
having loosened the earth so that it was now ready to be taken out, 
Hawkan went over to that point and made the usual five passes with 
the pipe-stem, whereupon the earth was removed and carried from the 
lodge upon the blanket. 

no Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 


Chanitoe began retouching the paint on the skull. First he 
painted the tip of the left horn black and over the left half of the skull 
he made a number of black dots, drawing a crescent-shaped symbol 
on the lower edge of the maxillary. The same treatment was applied 
to the right half of the skull by Watangaa, who used red paint. The 
skull was then placed in position just behind the excavation, which 
it faced, as well as the center-pole, and the east. 


Chanitoe and Watdngaa lifted one of the sods and placed it on the 
south side of the excavation, and then placed the other on the north. 
Hawkan took some dry black paint and drew a straight line which equally 
divided the floor of the excavation. The black paint was then passed 
to Watangaa, who filled in the left half in fine, close, black lines. 
The bag of black paint which had been used for this purpose was then 
tied up and placed on the south side of the south sod. Hawkan then 
took red, dry paint and poured a stream just to the right of the black 
line across the excavation. He handed the paint to VVadnibe, who 
filled in the right half with red. 

Hdwkan took a bunch of the rabbit bushes, handed them to 
Watdngaa, who knelt before the sod on the south side, spat upon the 
sod five times, and then in the southeast corner of the sod, planted 
one of the bushes, a second in the southwest, third in the northwest, 
the fourth in the northeast corner, and the fifth in the center, Hocheni 
first touching the sods with the pipe-stem. (See Plate LIL) Chanitoe 
placed in the north sod a similar number of bushes, going through the 
same performance. Both men, assisted by two or three of the women, 
now thickly planted the bushes over the top of the sod, until the sur- 
face was almost covered. (See Plate LIIL) 

Watdngaa and Chanitoe now took up the cedar tree and carried it 
to the south of the south sod, Watdngaa making first a hole with the 
digging-stick, into which the cedar was firmly implanted. Next, 
Watdngaa dug a hole about a foot to the south of the cedar tree, into 
which he and Chanitoe inserted the willow. Then the two black 
painted cottonwoods were placed about a foot apart, and still to the 
south of the willow, the four being in line. These two men then 
inserted in similar spaces on the north side of the north sod, and in 
line with the others, the three red painted cottonwoods. Then 

Pl. LII. H<5cheni Touching the Sods with the Pipe-stem, Preparatory to the 
Insertion of the Rabbit Bushes. Fifth Day, 1902. 

PL. Llll. Watanah and Nakaash, Inserting the Rabbit Bushes in the Sods. 

Fifth Day, 1902. 

PL LIV. Placing Cottonwood Limbs in Position on the North Side of the 
Altar. Fifth Day, 1902. 



Pl. LV. Placing the Willow Tree in Position on the South Side of the Altar. 

Fifth Day, 1902. 



PL. LVI. Placing the Last Cottonwood Limb in Position on the South Side of 
THE Altar. Fifth Day, 1902. 





^BJ^^ « 1 ^i* vjB 



,. ^^,.' 



^^^ 'x \,^^^^^^|H 







PL. LVII. Nakaash Placing in Position the First of the Seven Upright Sticks 
ON THE South Side of the Ditch. Fifth Day, 1902. 

;vv,.j»:i4'A''^>;» : . • . .> . m. 

,■>-. ,,^,-_ /v., 

Pl. LVIII. Watanah Placing the Upright Sticks on the North Side of the 
Ditch. Fifth Day, 1902. 

PL. LIX. HocHENi Touching the Upright Sticks with the Pipe-stem, Preparatory 
TO Their Being Enveloped in Colored Eagle Down. Fifth Day, 1902. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. ixi 

Watangaa took the black billet and placed it parallel with and to the 
south of the excavation and distant from it about three inches. (See 
Plates LIV., LV., and LVI.) 


Other priests had carried on the work of decorticating the dog- 
wood limbs, of which there were now fourteen, seven having been 
painted black and seven red. The sticks were about eighteen inches 
in length, sharpened at one point and entirely decorticated, except for 
the space of about an inch at the upper end. Watangaa now took the 
seven black sticks and coated them with eagle down which had been 
rubbed in black tallow. These he then inserted in the ground, at 
equal spaces apart, between the black billet and the excavation. 

The wife of Watangaa handed him the red billet, which he now 
placed on the north side of the excavation, and in a corresponding 
position to the black billet. The seven red sticks were then coated 
with red eagle down, and were placed in a row between the red billet 
and the excavation and opposite the black sticks. (See Plates LVIL, 
LVIII.,and LIX.) 

Watangaa then took up the Wheel, which had been leaning against 
the center-pole upon its support, and passing around the lodge in a 
dextral circuit, he placed its willow support near and at the back of 
the skull and placed the Wheel in a fork, first having inserted a piece 
of sage so that the Wheel would not come in contact with its support. 
He then carried a leather bag and the straight black pipe with round 
stem, and a bundle of sage, and deposited them to the south of the 
Wheel and just back of the cedar tree. 


In the mean time the priests had made seven little cottonwood 
sticks ranging in length from six to ten inches. These were all 
decorticated except for a short space in the middle, and were sharp- 
ened at both ends. These were now taken up by Watingaa, who 
painted one half of them black and the other red. These were now 
bent in the form of a semicircle and thrust into the excavation at a 
distance of one inch apart, beginning at the end near the skull, the 
center of the semicircle being just above the median red-and-black 
line. Hawkan now sprinkled dry black paint on the south sod, while 
Watdngaa sprinkled red paint on the north sod. 

112 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

THE ALTAR, 1902. 

The rites followed in erecting the altar of 1902 were quite similar 
to those of the previous year. A brief r^sum^ of the order of the 
procedure of the second year is here added for the purpose of com- 
parison with the order on the previous year. 

Hawkan, Watanah, Watdngaa, and Chanitoe, after the ceremonial 
smoking which followed the bringing of the sods to the lodge, 
removed the skull and other paraphernalia back toward the western 
portion of the lodge, and placed them in the same relative position 
that they had occupied in the Rabbit-tipi. Sage was put upon the 
ground behind the skull for the Lodge-Maker's bed. With the usual 
movements with the pipe-stem by Hawkan, Watangaa's wife, Hisenibe, 
prepared the cedar tree, the hole for which Nakaash had dug after 
Hocheni had made the usual passes with the pipe-stem. The latter 
also made the movements with the pipe-stem for the ditch which was 
dug by Waakat'ani and Nishnat^yana. 

In placing the cottonwoods and the willow and cedar trees, and in 
the paint of the ditch and of the sides, etc., there is nothing to be 
added to the account already given for the performance of the pre- 
ceding year. 


The Offerings-lodge itself, with its various accessories as they 
existed at this time, may now be described. 


The lodge proper stands in the center of the camping-circle. 
(See Plate LX.) The center-pole (nawahtaheh, reach-pole) of the 
lodge is about twenty feet in height. The pole itself was of cotton- 
wood: for in the dramatization it represents a mythical cottonwood 
upon which the woman climbed in her chase after the porcupine to 
the upper regions, and so, consequently, it bears also the prayers of 
the people to heaven, and is the symbol of the Man-Above. The 
center fork also typifies the Arapaho and all life-elements. 

At equal distances apart, and at a radius of about twenty-two feet 
from the center-pole, were sixteen uprights of cottonwood, terminat- 
ing in a fork. These poles are called nenSsunueh (split-poles). These 
outer uprights were connected by cross-pieces (tchebbetiithana, 
cross-hanging). Resting on top of these cross-pieces and in the fork 

PL. LX. The Offerings-lodge. Third Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. South section of camp-circle. 
Fig. 2. The completed Offerings-lodge. 



FIG. 2. 


May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. ' 113 

of the outer upright poles were long, slender cottonwood poles, reach- 
ing up to the fork of the center-pole. These are called "hakabuna." 
Extending entirely around the lodge, except for a single space toward 
the east, were placed small cottonwood limbs, with their foliage out- 
side, on the ground, their tops leaning against the cross-piece. 


Counting from the first rafter-pole at the south of the east open- 
ing, the fourth and the seventh were painted black (watannenithe), 
while the third and sixth poles, occupying corresponding positions on 
the north side, were painted red (be^nithe). These are the only two 
colors used in the Offerings-lodge, although in the lodges of the vari- 
ous other ceremonies paints of other colors are used. The poles 
painted black are symbolic of the earth and of the victory which 
comes from the triumph over the enemy when one wears the black 
paint, as well as happiness which comes from conquering the hardships 
of life. The two red-painted poles are symbolic of the Indian' race 
offering prayers to the above; the red also typifies cleanliness and the 
wish to be old and happy. 

Collectively, the four painted poles represent the Four-Old-Men 
or Gods of the Four World Quarters. They cause the wind to blow, 
and human life is dependent on them for their breath. In fact, all 
life is dependent on the "breath of the air," which comes from the 
Four-Old-Men. They are thus prayed to during the ceremony. A 
similar color symbolism is attached to the red and black bands around 
the center-pole. They are also said to be the reflection of the sun 
upon the earth. 

The reasons ascribed for the number of the upright poles forming 
the outer circle of the lodge, viz., sixteen, was that this was the num- 
ber in the first Offerings-lodge revealed to man. It may be noted 
here that the number of poles used in an ordinary tipi varies from 
twelve to eighteen, according to the size of the tipi, while in the 
Sweat-lodge there are seven primary poles. 


The loosely placed upright boughs of cottonwood surrounding the 
lodge, except at the east door, have already been mentioned. The 
boughs were especially thick at the west side of the lodge, behind 
the altar. The reason given for this referred to a certain myth: 
"When Nih'a"9a" came to the Offerings-lodge, he went behind it and 
peeped through ; in doing this he stuck his head forward to see the 

114 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

dancers, when the ceremony closed, fastening his head. The people 
who were having the great ceremonial dance were mice. The mice 
dispersed, and Nih'a"9a" went toward the river with the elk skull on 
his head; hence we think the mice gave this ceremony to the Indians, 
not the rabbits." 


Placed in the center-pole, as has been noted, were two large 
bundles of willow and cottonwood boughs, placed end to end. These 
represent the nest of the eagle, or of the Thunderbird. According to 
a myth the Thunderbird built its nest on the cottonwood tree. When 
the female had given birth to young ones she went off and captured a 
young steer and carried it to her nest for food. There she reared her 
young. Just as birds fly about overlooking the earth, so does the 
Father. He is in the form of a bird. 

The presence of the digging-stick, which was placed first in the 
fork of the center-pole, represented the digging-stick used by the 
mythological woman as she dug up the bush, and thereby obtained a 
glimpse of the world below which she had left, while the sinew attached 
to the digging-stick represented her means of escape from the upper 

Attached to the digging-stick was a bunch of partly braided 
grass, along with a piece of tallow; these together represent a person, 
the grass being the hair and the tallow the skin. The tallow is con- 
sidered potent, for it refers to the body, with the breath of life. It is 
circular in form, for it represents the head and therefore the mind or 
thought of the people. The tallow has also a further significance. 
In a preceding page has been explained the symbolism of the fire of 
the Rabbit-tipi. In order successfully to kindle a fire, kindling is 
required. Hence, while the bodies of slain victims are regarded as 
firewood, the scalp represents the kindling for starting the fire. The 
tallow also typifies human skin, and also a buffalo-wallow, and in a 
derived sense, the human wallow, reference being made to the wallow 
formed during the rite performed by the Transferrer, or Grandfather, 
and the wife of the Lodge-Maker. 


It will be remembered also that a buffalo robe was placed in the 
center-pole. The presence of the robe here is explained by the fact 
that the paint worn by the dancers during the ceremony was obtained 
from a buffalo bull seen standing on a hill. Hence it is placed high 
in the fork, where it may be in plain sight of the dancers. Another 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 115 

informant stated that according to the story of Blue-Feather's 
marriage with the cow, Lone-Bull, or Young-Bull, was our father-in- 
law, because presents for the completion of his body were given by 
the husband and delivered by the grandchild. Young-Bull is the 
grandchild of the Sun. When the grandfather puts on the robe to have 
connection with the wife of the Lodge-Maker, he is purely a buffalo. 
In the story of Splinter-Foot, she became the wife of Lone-Bull 
by captivity,' or through elopement. When the husband of the buffalo 
cow selected the presents for the father-in-law, he procured a moon- 
shell (baye, dirt, or sand). For speed he was presented with four 
moon-shells, to be placed between the joints of the legs, for the reason 
that there are the representations of the sun's revolution, at the wrists 
and ankles, and one at the sternum. Young-Bull was the animal who 
gave seven lodges to the Arapaho, as is related in the story of the 
origin of the Sun Dance, when various animals chose their position in 
life. The "moon" discs which were fastened to the robe represented 
the throat, and thus the noise made by the buffalo, while the eagle 
feathers which were attached to the robe were symbolic of the feather 
of the Thunderbird, and represented a prayer for rain, and thus for 
vegetation. Also by these eagle feathers respect was shown to Young- 
Bull, and they may also be considered as a gift to the Man-Above. 
The incisions in the front end of the buffalo robe have already been 
noticed. Naturally, nowadays, it is not easy to obtain a buffalo robe 
for this purpose, and in the present instance, the robe was of three 
pieces sewn together. 


The- idea of the importance of continuing the use of the buffalo 
robe was illustrated in the following story, obtained from Watanah, 
which, although of considerable length, is here reproduced, just as it 
was obtained, as it contains several interesting references to the 

In 1879, these tribes, Cheyenne and Arapaho, were to a certain 
extent troublesome to the authorities, being excited on account of 
intruders on their borders. Not only that, but these Indians (those 
especially from the north) were dissatisfied with the country and the 
climate. Som'e time after the above year, the Northern Cheyenne 
made a break to return to their northern home, but they were com- 
pelled to remain here (in Oklahoma). Quite a band of them managed 
to get away, and reached their original home, but some were over- 
taken close to the agency, and had skirmishes with the military, which 
caused some bloodshed on both sides. 

ii6 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

After these troubles had taken place, an Arapaho Indian, Joined- 
Together, had vowed to erect an Offerings-lodge for his personal 
benefit, but the sacred pledge was made and given out in the fall of 
the year;* consequently the Indians looked for the ceremony to take 
place some time in the spring (May). 

Naturally, with the Indians, the forthcoming Sun Dance cere- 
mony draws a number of young men to participate voluntarily. Of 
course some vowed on account of sickness in their families, others on 
account of dreams. Usually the young men keep their vows or 
pledges secret for some time, until a short time before the cere- 

In the fall of 1879 a small party of young Arapaho men escaped 
from the Agency and started for Wyoming. At that time the Sur- 
rounding Indians were still unfriendly to fhe Cheyenne and Arapaho. 
The young men who w*re in the party had the spirit of war (and some 
of them are still living). Before they started off, one of them, know- 
ing that the Sun Dance was to take place among the Indians, pledged 
that he would take part in the dance, but kept it secret. On their 
arrival at the Northern Arapaho camp-circle, there was a war party 
from here (Oklahoma), which was composed of the best warriors, and the 
party agreed to go along. In the night they sung war songs, and one day 
the party went away for black paint (the black paint means a victory). 
The young man who pledged to fast in the Sun Dance ceremony of 
Joined-Together, wished, at the time he left his own home, for his safe 
return. The war party came to a band of Paiute Indians in the west 
Big Horn Mountains, and a hard fight took place. In this fight two 
of the Southern Arapaho and one Paiute were killed. The young man 
who was to fast in the Sun Dance took a prominent part, and again 
at the General Custer fight, where he struck many soldiers. Every- 
body that saw him as he charged would be eye-witnesses. After the 
last fight, he came back to the Northern Arapaho, and told the old 
people of his luck. So the old men gave him the new name, which 
was, "Famous," his old name being, "Weed-Boy." 

After staying some time with the Northern Arapaho, this young 
man worried much in regard to his vow. A big camping circle was 
near the river (probably a river near Ft. Harrison). One night this 
young man, Famous, went to an old man ("priest," meaning "strip of 
buffalo back)," weeping as he went. This young man said to the old 
priest, "Now, Old Man, I have come over to tell you that I was to 
fast in the Sun Dance ceremony in the south, but am here, and I don't 
know what to do. May a young man go to the top of a hill and stake 
himself to the ground and fast? Will you please tell me what is the 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 117 

proper thing for me to do, for I want to get rid of my vow." "Well, 
young man, the Cheyenne stake themselves to the ground on the hill 
and fast, but it is not so with us. I am an old man and never heard 
of such a thing. But, young man, you can clear yourself by erecting 
an Offerings-lodge, and I shall do my utmost duty to hasten it along, 
and the people will do what I say," said the old priest. So that same 
night the word was given out that Famous, the Southern Arapaho, 
would erect the Sun Dance lodge as soon as possible ; that the young 
men should go out early in the morning and catch a jack-rabbit. 

The people were glad to hear the news, and prepared themselves 
with good clothes, etc., for the coming occasion. In the morning 
there were several parties on horseback, collected on the hills, and 
they began to look for a jack-rabbit along the ravines all day long, 
but came home unsuccessful. 

In the camp-circle there was a tipi by itself in front, used for a 
general council, etc., and in that tipi the chiefs and head man had a 
conference over the Sun Dance. The whole camp-circle was broken 
up to move to a new site for the ceremony, and the people were 
informed that the young man was to have a black steei (domestic) for 
his buffalo bull hide in the fork of the center-pole. So the chiefs and 
head men went to the Agent in Charge, who told the Indians to select 
whatever they desired from the herd. When the people were moving 
to the new site, a jack-rabbit jumped up on the way, and the people of 
course seized this opportunity, and soon caught the animal. A party 
of young men was sent out to look for the black steer (substitute), to 
kill it, and to bring in the hide and beef. Thus the hide was furnished 
as directed by the old priest. 

The ceremony began without much delay. When the two sods of 
earth were to be searched for, this old priest told the Lodge-Maker 
and dancers to get ready and put their moccasins on, for the distance 
was far. This old priest's wife got a pony with a travois and a black 
blanket and axe, while he supplied himself with a knife. "All those 
who wish to go along, come, and let us journey for the sods. Some- 
times it is necessary for some to put on moccasins for the long 
journey," said the old priest. (In Wyoming, the sod for this purpose 
is hard to find, and for this reason they had to go very far.) So the 
party, consisting of the priest and his wife, who was riding the pony, 
the Lodge-Maker and dancers, started after the two sods. They 
finally came to a place where there was a spring, and the ground was 
slightly wet and had some grass. After a short ceremony they placed 
these sods on the travois, and away they went to the Offerings-lodge. 
When the party (geese) got to the outskirts of the camp-circle, they. 

ii8 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV, 

took the sods off the travois and all took hold, then circled about, imi- 
tating the voices of geese, and thus reached the inside of the lodge. 

This old priest hastened the ceremony without unnecessary 
expense to the Lodge-Maker. The Lodge-Maker had left his wife 
here at home (Oklahoma), and therefore had to have a substitute. 
After a few hours' consultation, the woman Thiyeh, now of Colony, 
was chosen as the grandchild of the ceremony. It happened that her 
brothers were to fast, which made her consent. 

The ceremony went on. The black steer hung over the fork, and 
the fasting Lodge-Maker looked at it, as did also the others. Before 
the end of the ceremony most of the men went out of the lodge on 
account of severe heat. Very few stood the fasting. It is said that 
because the old priest did not carry out the strict routine of the cere- 
mony, it made it hard for the dancers, etc. This old priest conducted 
the ceremony just like Hdwkan, only he went too far, as to the use of 
the different thing's. After this ceremony, this old priest became sick 
and died. The young Lodge-Maker returned to his home in "Okla- 
homa, and went back to his wife with a new name, as a good warrior. 
Shortly after his return, a Club-Board lodge was pledged for, and he 
was in the society. When the head men of this society were looking 
among the young men as to whom the club-boards should be given, 
this Famous was given one which had notches on the edge, black 
feathers for pendants; and the rest were given to those who were in 
the fight with the Paiute Indians. This young man. Famous, became 
sick and died suddenly. Therefore, the Indians believe that because 
the Sun Dance ceremony was wrongfully conducted, it was bad luck 
to the priest as well as to the Lodge-Maker. It is right to do the 
thing in the right way. That is the reason why the older people are 
very careful in regard to the mode of speech and doings in the cere- 
monies. They say that everything in nature looks to them, watching 
them during the day as well as during the night. This was in 1879, 
and since that time the Arapaho say that they have always been care- 
ful to use only the robe of a buffalo. 

The long, narrow piece of rawhide which is used for tying the 
bundle is, as has been noted, painted half red and half black; it, like 
the Badger-pack, must be carried or packed, like a live baby. 


The buffalo skull, which occupies such an important position in 
all Sun Dance altars, is probably looked upon as the dwelling-place, 
during the ceremony, of Man-Above (Hakhueah). (See Plate LXI.) 
0{ the painting of the buffalo skull, the color symbolism is in general 

PL. LXI. The Altar. (For Explanation, See Text.) Fifth Day, 1902. 

Pl. LXII. Details of the Altar. Fourth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. The sod for the left side of the altar. 

Fig. 2. After the sage floor has been placed in the ditch. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 119 

the same as that used on the poles and the center-pole of the lodge. 
The various black and red dots indicate prayers, while the grass knobs 
placed in the eye-sockets and in the nasal cavities were said to indi- 
cate the times when the Indians used grass garments, before the 
appearance of the buffalo. The grass balls in the eyes and nose of 
the skull are also said to represent the Last-Child. This Last-Child 
is often referred to by the old men in their prayers. He is the owner 
of the rivers and creeks. He is the water monster that abides in 
deep places. His name means, ''to urinate" last. He is at the outlet 
of the river or creek, the water runs off first, and Last-Child follows. 
When Garter-Snake was being instructed of the various things to 
apply to the big lodge, the skull was complete, with its natural eyes 
and nostrils. That was the very first one, but since then, the body of 
the Last-Child was substituted, which was the water grass, or flat 
grass. The buffalo then is complete, i.e., the life is restored, when 
these balls are being annexed, for the animal lives on the grass. ,The 
location of these balls of grass corresponds to that of the Four-Old-Men. 


The two circular pieces of sod (bita, earth) symbolized the gift 
of the powers above to the human race, the smaller sod representing 
the present earth, the larger the future earth. (See Fig. i, Plate 
LXn.) They are also said to stand for Father and Mother, the sky 
and the earth, the smaller sod being the Mother, the larger one the 
Father. They are called the "scalps," the hands of the father and 
mother for the Arapaho race. In the sod, and represented as growing 
out of it, were placed, as has been described, large numbers of small 
rabbit bushes (nakhiiwushshi), so-called because the rabbits eat the 
red berries. These bushes are typical in general of all berries and 
fruits, plums, cherries, etc., and express the idea that there should be 
an abundance of fruit, that the people might increase and have 

From another informant this statement was obtained: "When the 
Creator made the earth for earthly men, he also made another one 
for Nih'a"9a!!. These two sods typify the old woman and the grand- 
child, or river with stream. Biitaahwu, earth, signifies bare, plain, 
exposed, without fruit. This was the appearance in the beginning, 
i. e., there were yet no beings. Sods were made later on, after the 
big lodge was fully matured for Garter-Snake. It can be better under- 
stood in this way: A woman kills a creature and sheds blood and 
brings the scalp, hide, or skin. For that reason, the tallow, being the 
skin, bears the blood (red paint) and prosperity (black paint). It is 

lao Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

said that the man then adhered to the woman for the first time ; there- 
fore comes the seed, the people." 

The bushes on the sods represent the hair of persons. Those 
bushes are called garter-snake or rabbit weeds, which means the blood, 
for the reason that they bear red berries, etc. The sods are obtained 
from swampy places, because the ground or earth sticks together. 
Generally they are taken out from near springs. 


In front of the skull was the rectangular excavation known as the 
"ditch" (hahaawuhe) ; from earth similar to that removed from this 
ditch were made man and woman. For this reason the Lodge-Maker 
stands here during the ceremony, as all men spring from the earth. 
By another informant, this ditch was spoken of as the "lake." The 
semicircular twigs which extend from the red into the black field of 
the ditch, were seven in number, and represented the seven poles of 
the Sweat-lodge, and were also typical of seven periods in the Arapaho 
creation myth. 

The sage which was placed in the ditch, and upon which the 
Lodge-Maker stood while dancing, on account of its white color is 
typical of cleanliness, and so, consequently, indicates a feeling of 
reverence toward the Father. It is also symbolic of the idea of the 
wish that the tribe may increase. (See Fig. 2, Plate LXII.) 

Lying just on opposite sides of the ditch were two cottonwood 
billets, the one painted black on the left, with one painted red on the 
right. These billets bear the name "nahutech," which name is also 
applied to similar but longer billets which are used for defining in the 
lodges the position of the sleeping mats. 

Between the billets and the edge of the ditch were, on each side, 
seven upright sticks, those on the left being black, and those on the 
right being red. The color symbolism of these uprights and of the 
billets is the same as has been given. These sticks bear the name 
of "thikd&na, " which name is likewise borne by the pins used for 
fastening the tipi. The pins were of dogwood, for it is straight and 
hard, and was formerly employed in the manufacture of arrows. The 
number of the pins on each side was typical of the seven periods of crea- 
tion. The downy feathers which were applied to the pins represented 
the breath of Man-Above. The "ditch" with its "beds" and tipi pins 
is referred to collectively as a symbolic tipi. 

Another informant gives the following account of this ceremonial 
tipi: The whole ditch is the fireplace. The four inverted U-shaped 
sticks at the west end represent the Sweat-lodge, which produces the 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 121 

heat that cleanses the body and gives subsistence to mankind. In 
other words, it is the rising of the sun, with its course during the day, 
the cleared place extending from the inverted U-shaped sticks being 
the path. Then the seven sticks on both sides and the two lying 
along the side of the sticks represent a tipi, for the reason that the 
Lodge-Maker stands inside. The standing sticks are symbols of 
breastpins, and the two sticks, protectors from the fire, the boundary- 
line between the people and the fireplace. 

The river of life is represented by locating the lake of holy water, 
to extend to the Wheel, then to the skull, on to the hiiman being, the 
Lodge-Maker. After the earth, then the rivers and creeks were made ; 
thus the Last-Child. 

The Garter-Snake represents the course of the river of life, and 
it is for this reason that the Wheel is next to the skull. The skull 
bears the picture of the creation of the earth, together with the symbol 
of human breath. Garter-Snake is the Last-Child. All the food that 
is offered goes to him and he eats it. The altar represents a tipi, 
the word for which means growing, I command, I say, I have camped, 
I have told it to you. The altar represents a river, with timber, tipi, 
and a human being, represented by the woman who sits behind the 
altar, a little to the left of the Wheel. The seed comes from the 
woman, that gives life to children, just as water comes out from a spring. 

When the Lodge-Maker enters the ditch the tipi is made complete. 
The man takes the lead and the wife follows. In other words, the 
action of the Lodge-Maker to the ditch points to the intercourse; 
therefore come the children, the woman sitting behind the Wheel. 
The ditch is the path. This tipi (altar) was inhabited by an old 
woman close to a river, and Garter-Snake was her grandchild, i. e., in 
other words, the big river with a stream. (This old woman made 
ditches inside of the tipi, extending to all directions, to catch her 
food — animals.) 

The placing of food in the ditch at the ceremonial lodge is 
giving it to the Garter-Snake. This old woman puts away the food, 
and her grandchild goes and searches for it during her absence. He 
finds it in a wooden bowl, for the reason that the wooden bowl is used 
behind the Wheel in making the holy water, hethathonecha, he reaches 
the water, I reached the water. 

On the left of the buffalo skull, extending beyond the sod, was a 
small cedar tree. It is always green, keeps its color, is durable, looks 
good to the eye, and is a gift from the Great Spirit. Its twigs are 

122 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

used as sacred incense. It stands on the south side of the altar that 
it may be closer to the sun. Next to the cedar was a small willow 
tree, which is typical of long life and of cleanliness. It is therefore 
used by the Arapaho in the Sweat-lodge, as well as in their mattresses 
and head pillows. 

Beyond the willows were two, while on the north side of the skull 
were three cottonwood limbs, five in all; as the Father had created 
human beings with five fingers and five toes. The cottonwood is said 
to grow very fast, looks clean, cool, and shady. 


Behind the skull, resting in the fork of the small willow stick, was 
the Wheel. A bunch of wild sage intervened between the Wheel and 
the willow. This sage corresponds to the eagle's nest in the center- 
pole, and it also served to keep the Wheel clean, to prevent it from 
coming in contact with anything. The Wheel itself has already been 


Just to the southeast of the skull was a bundle hitherto called the 
"Badger-pack." The symbolism of its paint is the same as already 
given for the Offerings-lodge in general. It is supposed that the 
badger skin within its wrappings is like a baby in a cradle, and is thus 
carried. This skin is used in the ceremony from the fact that the ani- 
mal is skillful in digging and otherwise has wonderful powers. It is 
one of the animals which controls the underground. Wherever there 
is a hole or a crack that is dangerous to the race this animal covers it up. 
If there were many holes and cracks in the earth there would be many 
deaths, but because this animal was instructed by the Father to help 
the Indian race from dropping down, it is reverenced. The animal 
itself is a part of the earth. Beating the Badger-pack or using it as a 
drum is like filling holes or packing the earth solid. The Offerings- 
lodge therefore reaches from the bottom of the earth to the upper- 
most part of the sky. This explanation of the presence of the badger 
is due probably to the myth of the origin of the Buffalo-Women's 
lodge, in which a badger (some say gopher) rendered material assist- 
ance in restoring a woman who had married Young-Bull to her true 
husband. According to another myth, the Badger- Woman played a 
very mischievous part in a certain episode. With this myth in mind, 
the following synopsis of the story was given by one informant, for 
the presence of the badger skin : 

*'The badger was killed by the wolves and coyotes, because she 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 123 

buried her brother-in-law alive, after tempting him to have intercourse 
with her. Badger-Woman failed to get her brother-in-law's affection, 
and dug a hole underneath the bed, so that when this young man came 
home in the evening and took his seat, he fell into the hole, and Badger- 
Woman covered him up and made the bed again. Any of the Rabbi t- 
tipi people can pack the badger. The beating on the badger during 
the ceremony punishes the Badger- Woman for her crimes." 

Another and more plausible explanation of the Badger-pack is to 
the effect that it is symbolic of the earth, the beating of which, during 
the five songs, represents the primal division of the earth and espe- 
cially the dissemination of vegetation or seeds. These seeds are usu- 
ally represented by five or seven buffalo chips, symbolic of the gifts of 
this animal, in this ceremony represented by beads and calico, which 
at the time of the unwrapping of the pack are given away — scattered 
among the Rabbit-tipi servants. 

The symbol of the buffalo chip as food is explained by the myth 
where Found-in-Grass gathered buffalo chips over the divide, left 
them in a heap, looked back, gave a command, and they became a 
great herd of buffalo. 


The knife with double-edge blade, and which occupied a position 
near the skull, corresponds in its color symbolism to that which has been 
stated for the lodge in general. The knife typifies a weapon of defense 
for the tribe, and, as has been noted, is used to mark the center-pole 
and the four rafter-beams before they are painted. In accordance 
with a myth this was the "stone knife that Opened-Brains used on the 
woman's stomach. He, was not satisfied with dishes until this preg- 
nant woman lay down in front of him, when he ate his meal, and acci- 
dentally (but for a* purpose) struck her stomach with his knife." 
Opened Brains, or Tangle-Hair, was a supernatural being who was 
, conquered by Found-in-Grass. 

A somewhat different account of the knife, obtained from another 
informant, is as follows: "There were two young men traveling across 
the ocean on the water monster (Garter-Snake), and before landing on 
the other side, one of them, who was very foolish, played on the 
monster. The other one succeeded in getting across, but the foolish 
young man was pulled down in the water. For some time this young 
man who was by himself wept over his partner. 

"One day, while he was walking along the shore with closed eyes, 
Thunderbird came up to him and asked him, 'What are you crying 
about?' 'Well, my partner was captured by the water monster,' 

124 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

said the young man. 'You may get a good hold of your partner, 
Grandchild, and pull him out. I shall look after you,' said Thunder- 
bird. So this young man, after getting a good hold, pulled his partner 
out from the monster. The Thunderbird with his knife, like the one 
used in the big lodge, jumped upon the monster and stabbed him, 
killing him instantly. When the Thunderbird lighted on him, it 
sounded like the shot of a cannon, sharp. This monster was dragged 
out of the ocean by Thunderbird. " The two young men then married 
the daughters of the Thunderbird. That is the reason that the 
Thunder is jealous of man. The man and wife are seated at a dis- 
tance, during the visit of a thunderstorm (rain). 

"The knife is the gift of Thunder, and the power for mankind 
makes things out of the knife." 


Finally, it is to be noted that it is believed that the present 
arrangement of the color scheme employed in the lodge, where red is 
confined to the north and black to the south, is modern, having been 
introduced by a mythical priest named Fire-Wood. The story obtained 
from the informant is as follows: 

"Years ago, the painting on the tallow, the center fork, and the 
four poles, as well as the circular spots for other lodges, was different. 
Straight-Old-Man or Straight-Pipe, was the priest who conducted or 
presided over former lodges, when the painting was red on the south 
side and the black on the north. The painters began on the right 
with the black paint, and then continued on the left with the red 
paint. By this symbolism, the people were in sympathy with the sun, 
and therefore lived in peace and prosperity. The black paint meant 
victory over all kinds of enemies — people, famine, plague — and typifies 
the methods and ways of the tribe. 

"The fundamental principle of the red on the south and the black 
on the north was in accordance with the course of the sun and moon — 
the sun travels, as is seen every day, followed by the moon. Red 
paint typifies purity, holiness, virtue, meekness, and prosperity; 
because the sun bears that paint; while the moon's light, being dim, 
leads to all kinds of mischievous actions and deeds being committed. 
In the night, the various doings of the. people are not known. The 
black paint relates to temporal blessings. 

"This old man or priest got his name from the fact that he was a 
straight man in ways and actions ("Straight-Pipe"). Following him 
came a priest named Fire-Wood, who was the oldest of the Sun Dance 
priests. He had a quiet consultation with his fellow-men regarding 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 125 

the painting of the Offerings-lodge. Straight-Old-Man, or Straight- 
Pipe, had died, and had left some good legends and traditions for 
the tribe; but the original painting was criticised by Fire-Wood. 
Finally, after long dispute over the painting, Fire-Wood won, giving 
the reason that the right hand was the protective element of man, that 
a man strikes with his right hand, shoots with his right fingers, etc. ; 
therefore, whenever the tribe overpowers its foe in war, there is a 
victory in which the black paint is used. When a man gets to be quite 
old, he wears the black paint together with the red, to show that he 
has passed many hardships and has become victorious in that sense; 
that the left hand, being the gentle part of man, and receiving things 
when given, was the right and proper side for red paint. Red paint 
meant good will and a weapon against plagues; therefore the painting 
was changed to be like this: that red was worn on the north or left 
side and black on the south or right side, and painters began to paint 
at the southeast corner and continued to the northeast corner, or in 
other words, in a sunwise circuit. Since that time, when Fire-Wood 
altered the painting, it has been kept as he arranged it." 


The priests and those who were to fast and dance in the cere- 
mony now formed in line inside the lodge, while Hawkan uttered the 
following prayer: 

hawkan's prayer. 

"The Father, Man- Above, has promised his blessings and pros- 
perity. We now feel thankful for this lodge, and pray that the Man- 
Above will keep these dancers in the straight path, will increase our 
population, cause us to live in peace." 

All those who had assisted prominently at any time during the 
ceremony, formed in a large semicircle on the southeast side of the 
lodge, whereupon, Debithe, acting as grandfather of the Lodge- 
Maker, distributed presents in return for the assistance of the workers 
in aiding him to erect the lodge. 


After the completion of the altar came the time of the payment of 
the priests for the work which had been done in the Rabbit-tipi and 
in connection with the erection of the Offerings-lodge and of the altar. 

It has already been related how the Lodge-Maker, Niwaat, and 
his associate made the round of the camp-circle collecting goods with 
which to compensate the priests for their labors in preparing the lodge 

126 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

for them. It has been noted also that the bales and trunks of cloth- 
ing, as a result of their efforts on that morning, had been kept near 
the Rabbit-tipi during the daytime, and within at night, and had on 
the abandonment of the Rabbit-tipi, been removed to the Offerings- 
lodge, where they remained in the southwest and near the center-pole. 

The dancers were at this time all present, occupying their usual 
positions around the western half of the lodge. The priests formed 
in one long fine in front of the dancers and in the southwest portion 
of the lodge. H6cheni, at the head of the line, sat just to the south 
of the buffalo skull. Then came, in order, Nishchdnakati, Watanah, 
Watangaa, Wasas (Osage), Nakadsh, Waakat'ani, Debithe, Chanitoe, 
Hdwkan, Cheathea, Wadnibe, Watdngaa's wife, and Nishnat^yana's 

Nishnat^yana took the bales and placed them in line in front of 
the priests. Stepping up to Hdwkan, he prayed over him, that he 
might be guided aright in the disposition he was to make on behalf 
of Niwaat, the Lodge-Maker, of this great collection of calicoes and 
blankets. He then untied the four bales and opened the blankets. 
Again he spoke, addressing the priests, and said that his grandson, 
Niwaat, greatly appreciated the kindness of the whole tribe toward 
him, and that he was satisfied with what they had given him, and that 
he hoped the priests would feel that they had received some compen- 
sation for their labors. 

Nishnat^yana now sorted out the goods into piles, which he began 
to distribute along the line, beginning with his wife at the eastern end. 
Occasionally he would add a blanket or a piece of clothing to the pile 
which he began near the center-pole, and which was for himself; while 
near by he made two additional piles that were to be given to the two 
messengers or servants, who had assisted so faithfully at the Rabbit- 
tipi. At the conclusion of the division of the goods, he again turned 
to the priests and said, "I give you these things for helping my grand- 
children and myself." The goods were carried out by the women, 
who took them to their homes. 

It may be added at this place, that shortly before the distribution 
of the presents, a trunk containing blankets was brought into the 
lodge. This was part of the payment on the part of Watangaa and 
his wife, to Hdwkan, for instruction and for privileges which he at that 
time, and during the entire ceremony, was giving them; for it has 
already been pointed out that Watdngaa was desirous of obtaining the 
power to conduct the rites of the Sun Dance. It may also be noted 
that all knives, axes, etc., used during the ceremony, became, by 
custom, the property of Hdwkan, 

PL. LXIII. The Feast for the Grandfathers. Fourth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Wives of the dancers bringing food into the Offerings-lodge. 
Fig, 2. Niwaat, making the offering of food to Young-Bull. 


PL. LXIV. The Sacrifice of Food. Sixth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Niwaat offering food to the first of the Four-Old-Men. 
Fig. 2. Niwaat offering food to the first of the Four-Old-Men, 


May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 127 


To form a correct estimate of the total expenses incurred by the 
Lodge-Maker of the Sun Dance is not easy. It seems probable, how- 
ever, that it costs him from three hundred to five hundred dollars, in 
money and goods, before the ceremony is concluded. Of course he 
is aided by his relatives and especially by the tribe. Payment is 
made, as we have just seen, to the grandfather, and to the Rabbit- 
tipi people, i. e., to those who assisted in making and painting various 
objects and in performing certain rites in the Rabbit-tipi. 


It was now about half-past three in the afternoon, and all prelimi- 
nary arrangements had been completed for the beginning of the cercr 
mony proper. The people began to gather in great numbers about the 
lodge, the female relatives of those who were to fast bringing in large 
quantities of food, which was placed west and south of the center-pole, 
the dancers having seated themselves in front of their grandfathers, 
who were in a row at the south and west side of the lodge. (See Fig. 
I, Plate LXIII.) 

Thihauchhawkan, who sat on the end of the line of the dancers 
nearest the altar, after all the food for the feast had been brought in, 
took a pinch of food, arose, and looked up toward those beams which 
bore the black and red paint, beginning first with the one on the 
southeast, and asked a blessing of each one of the Four-Old-Men, 
dropping as he did so, a piece of food. Then he leaned over the 
excavation and passed his hands over it four times, and deposited a 
■piece of food in front of the skull for the Man-Above. He then went 
to H6cheni and gave him a bunch of sage, whereupon he walked to a 
spot under the southeast black-painted beam, then in a dextral circuit 
to the other three beams, where he invoked the aid of each of the 
Four-Old-Men, and he proceeded to the altar, where he passed the 
sage up toward the skull four times, and then spread it out in the bot- 
tom of the excavation, thus covering the red and black paint. He 
returned to his position in the line. 

One of the dancers arose, and taking a pinch of dog meat, passed 
beneath each of the four painted beams ; under each one he stretched 
his hand upward and dropped a pinch of food on the ground. (See 
Plate LXIV.) He then went to the excavation and passed his hand 
up toward the skull four times, rubbed his hands together, and 
deposited what remained of the food in under the seven semicircular 
sticks which stood in the excavation. (See Fig. 2, Plate LXIII.) 

128 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

Hitantuh, another of the dancers, then went through the same per- 

During this time considerable fervor was shown on the part of the 
women and among the crowd of spectators, and among those who had 
brought in the food, by their shouting. The priests, ' grandfathers,' 
and singers now ate their dinner, which had been so liberally provided, 
during which time the best of feeling was shown. At the conclusion 
of the meal, H6cheni cried out, asking the women to come forward 
and remove what remained of the feast. 


Thihauchhawkan now arose, received from H6cheni a pipe, which 
he carried to the fireplace and lighted, carrying it back to Hocheni. 
As the latter received the pipe, he blew puffs of smoke to the four 
directions, and then passed it on in the line. Then the second of the 
dancers lighted his pipe and passed it to Hocheni, who smoked it and 
passed it along. The other dancers now in turn lighted their pipes 
for the grandfathers, for it is the privilege of the grandfathers to 
call for a pipe at any time during the ceremony, and it is the duty of 
the dancer to have a pipe ready for this purpose. 

Inasmuch as this preparation of the pipe is performed many times 
throughout the ceremony, and generally in a uniform manner, a single 
detailed description will suffice. The dancer takes up his pipe, which 
he has by his side, and fills it from a buckskin bag with native tobacco. 
He then passes the pipe to Hocheni, who holds it out in front of him 
in his right hand, with the stem pointing downward. The dancer then 
puts his left hand under Hdcheni's right hand, and with his right hand 
makes a downward motion on Hocheni's right arm, from the shoulder 
to the tips of his fingers. This he does four times. 

The same performance is repeated whenever any one of the dan- 
cers receives a pipe from Hocheni for the purpose of taking it over to 
the fire to light it. Whenever the lighted pipe is handed to H6cheni 
he points the end of the stem toward the earth, then takes a few puffs 
and blows the smoke upward. Then he points the stem to the earth 
again, then toward the center-pole, then toward the north, then toward 
the south, then to the sun, and finally toward the earth. 

After the pipe has gone down and back the line of the grand- 
fathers, or at other times, it was passed to Hocheni for cleansing, he 
removed the contents of the bowl with a hard wooden tamper and 
placed the ashes upon the ground, by which act he cleansed the faults 
of the owner of the pipe, and at the same time expressed the wish, by 
putting his hands over the ashes and by putting them on the ground. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 129 

that the young man and his people should live as long as the world 
should last. He then takes the pipe in his left hand, holding it by the 
bowl, and rubs his right hand four times from one end of the pipe to 
the other, beginning with the bowl and ending at the mouth of the 
stem. He then passes the pipe to his right hand, and with his left 
hand makes a similar motion four times. Then, holding the pipe 
straight in front of him, he begins to rub the pipe with each hand 
from the bowl to the end of the stem, the stem pointing toward him, 
four times. The pipe is now ready to be returned to the owner. The 
owner kneels in front of Hocheni, or stands by his side, while Hocheni 
holds the pipe with both hands, shifting it from his right to his left 
side twice. 

The various participants in the ceremony now place themselves in 
proper position, ready to make preparations for the ceremony proper. 
At the southeast corner and near the wall of the lodge were the grand- 
fathers. Just in front and a little to their left, was the line of the 
dancers with Thihduchhdwkan, the Lodge-Maker, on their right or 
north end, and nearest the altar. In front of the altar and to the west 
of the center-pole were the five more prominent priests in a semi- 
circular line, H6cheni occupying the south end of the line, the other 
four being Watdngaa, Waakatdni, Debithe, and Chanitoe. 


Although this rite has just been described at some length for the 
performance of the preceding year, there were yet one or two points 
noted in the second ceremony, which should be mentioned: Whereas, 
in the 1901 performance, only Hocheni could perform certain rites 
incidental to the ceremonial smoking, this privilege this year was pos- 
sessed also, for reasons already given, by Nishchanakati and Hanake- 
baah (Bull-Thunder.) 

Whereas all the dancers in the performance of 1901 carried pipes, 
and each had his own grandfather, in the second performance, owing 
to the large number of dancers, only certain ones or leaders, had pipes. 
As each grandfather called for his pipe, the leading dancer of that group 
would take his pipe to one of the three above-named priests, who re- 
ceived it from the dancer and pointed with the bowl upright toward the 
tree and toward the earth, having first removed from the pipe a small 
pinch of tobacco, which he placed on the ground in front. He then held 
the pipe with both hands with the stem on the ground, and held it in 
this position until the dancer removed it. This the latter did by placing 
his left hand over those of the priest upon the stem, rubbing his right 
hand once down the right arm of the priest, grasping the right hand 

I30 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

of the priest as it held the pipe, while the latter motioned it to the 
dancer four times, whereupon he took it to the fire and lighted it and 
turned to the priest, who made similar motions with the pipe, which 
was then passed along the line of priests unsmoked, to the eastern 
end, where it was smoked four times and was then passed back toward 
the west end of the line, each man taking four puffs. The pipe was 
then returned unsmoked to the priest to whom it was originally pre- 
sented, who tamped it four times after making a ceremonial pass for 
each of the four directions on the bowl, then in the center; he emptied 
the ashes and tamped three additional times without, however, making 
the five passes toward the bowl. The pipe was now reversed with the 
point of the stem resting upon the ashes. Holding it in his left hand, he 
rubbed down, from the bowl toward the ground, with his right hand, 
finally placing the palm of this hand directly upon the ground. The 
pipe was then transferred to the other hand, and so, back and forth, 
until each hand had rubbed the pipe twice. The pipe was then held 
so that the point of the stem was directed toward himself, and he 
rubbed it with his two hands alternately back toward his body. The 
pipe was again stood on end with the stem downward, the bowl point- 
ing backward, whereupon the owner received it from the priest, as he 
did when about to light it; now, however, holding it first on his right 
side, then on his left, repeating this movement twice, and then direct- 
ing it at the center of his breast. The owner now carried his pipe 
with him and sat down in his proper place in the line of the dancers. 


The time has now come for the grandfathers to paint the dancers. 
On the removal of the food from the lodge by the wives of the dancers, 
they returned, bringing with them several buckets of water and many 
bunches of sage. The sage was placed to soak by the dancers in the 
buckets of water, in the following manner: Great care was taken to 
place the first bunch at the southeast corner of the bucket, the second 
at the northeast corner, the third at the northwest corner, the fourth 
at the southwest corner, and the fifth they thrust down in the center 
of the bucket; there were thus five bunches placed in each bucket. 
The Crier now called for wood, and a fire was soon kindled above the 
ashes of the fire of the preceding night. Whereupon Wandkayl made 
his war speech as he added one stick after another. The dancers now 
completely disrobed except for the loin-cloth and blanket, and one after 
another resumed his position in front of his grandfather, sitting on 
sage. With the bucket of water in front of him, the grandfather 






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Pl. LXV. Painting the Dancers. Fourth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. The dancers receiving the preliminary paint. 

Fig. 2. Dancers drying and warming themselves about the fire, after having 
been painted. 

Pl. LXVI. Before the Beginning of the Dance. Fourth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Dancer being painted by grandfather. 

Fig. 2, Members of the Star society acting as musicians. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 131 

removed the sage from the water, passed it up the side of each leg of 
the dancer, and on up the sides of his body to the head, and then 
down to the center of the breast, where he gave the sage a rotary 
motion. Then the dancers turned their backs to the grandfathers and 
the tip of the sage was passed up their backs, over their shoulders, to 
the tops of their heads. 

The dancers rose, leaving their blankets behind them, and stepped 
out in front nearer the center-pole and thoroughly scrubbed their 
entire bodies, including their faces, with the sage. Several of the 
dancers, beginning with Thihauchhawkan, now knelt down in front of 
Hawkan and Watdngaa, with their knees drawn up to their chins. 
Hawkan then passed the tips of his fingers, beginning at the feet, up 
the outside of the legs and arms, on up to the head of each dancer, 
first rubbing his hands together five times. The dancer then turned, 
and Hawkan made a similar movement up the back of each one. Watan- 
gaa, who had been mixing the paint, gave it to Hawkan, who passed 
it to the dancer, who stepped back and thoroughly rubbed his body all 
over with the white paint. This operation was now repeated with the 
second dancer, and with the third and fourth, and so on, the third one 
receiving yellow instead of white paint. 

After each man had given his body the preliminary coat of paint 
he returned to Hawkan, whereupon the latter rubbed his hands 
together, and drew a line with the second finger of his right hand in 
the palm of his left, from the middle of the second and third fingers 
to the wrist. Then he passed the tips of the fingers of his two hands 
outside of the body, beginning with the feet, up along the legs and the 
body, to the top of the head. This he did four times, the second time 
drawing a line in his right hand with the second finger of his left. 
The dancer now took the cup of paint and went over by the fire, where 
he rubbed his body thoroughly, including his face and hair. When 
this performance had been gone through with for each dancer, and 
when the body paint had become thoroughly dry, each returned to his 
individual grandfather, where he received his own appropriate paint. 
(See Plate LXV.) In general, the manner of procedure was similar to 
that employed by Hawkan, the dancer squatting or kneeling down in 
front of the grandfather, who generally began applying the paint on 
his legs, then on his hands, breast, face, and finally upon his back. 
(See Fig. i, Plate LXVI.) As the method of painting was practically 
the same for each dancer on this and on the following days, there 
need be no further description of this element of the ceremony. Inas- 
much, however, as the character of the symbolism painted on each 

132 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol, IV. 

man, as well as the color of the groundwork of his paint, had points 
of individual differences, a consideration of the general subject of the 
designs may be deferred until later on in this paper, where the subject 
will be treated in a special section. 


After the ceremonial smoke just described, the grandfathers and 
the dancers went over to the east side of the lodge, where each found a 
bucket of water and bundles of sage. The sage was placed in the 
water, as has already been described for the preceding year, and the 
dancers washed themselves. (See Plate LXVII.) Bundles of goods 
were then brought by the female relatives of the dancers and were 
given by the latter to their grandfathers. All who had pipes made 
the sacrifice of food. 

After the feast, the dancers returned to their proper positions, 
and the grandfathers took their places in front of them, and the 
painting was begun. Each priest rubbed his hands with the paint, 
made two lines in the palm of his right hand and one in that of his 
left hand, held the palms over the incense, and drew the tips of his 
forefingers over the dancer's body, beginning with the feet. Again 
he would rub the palms of his hands together, dip them in the paint, 
rub his palms together, and draw two lines in the palm of his left hand 
and one in the palm of his right hand, and pass the tips of his fingers 
up over the body of the dancer. This operation was repeated twice; 
the third time, the two lines being made in the right hand and 
one in the left, and at the fourth, two lines in the left hand and one 
in the right. This rite is termed, "applying the poultice." Each 
dancer then painted himself, including his hair, with the particular 
color of the paint which he was to wear on that day. He then sat 
down in front of his grandfather, who decorated him with proper 
symbols. (See Plate LXVIII.) 

After this rite, each dancer brought a live coal, which he placed in 
front of one of the three priests, Hdcheni, Nishchdnakati, or Hanak^- 
baah, whereupon, the one chosen placed cedar-leaves upon the coal, 
held both, of his hands over its rising incense, and passed them over 
the dancer's head and shoulders, placing his hands finally upon 
the dancer's feet and pressing them firmly upon the ground. The 
grandfather then placed the five sage bunches in the belt of his grand- 
child, first making four passes with the sage before it was placed in 

Pl. LXVII. Dancers Bathing, Preparatory to Being Painted. Fifth Day, 1902. 

PL LXVIII. Dancers in Front of the Grandfathers Receiving "Poultice. 

Fifth Day, 1902. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 133 


After each man had received his appropriate paint, he fastened a 
buckskin kilt around his loins. The folded parfleche which had been 
brought into the lodge from the Rabbit-tipi, and which had been lying 
on the ground on the east side, was now placed in front of Hawkan, 
while the rattle, which had also been lying by the side of the parfleche, 
was handed to him. 

The Lodge-Maker now left his place in the line, went over to the 
fire, and returned with a live coal, which he placed in front of him, 
upon which he sprinkled spruce-leaves. Then he knelt down in front 
of Watangaa. While he was doing this, the singers and drummers had 
gathered around a large drum which stood east and south of the center- 
pole and in front of the south end of the line of grandfathers. They 
began drumming and started the first song. (See Fig. 2, Plate XLVI.) 

The Lodge-Maker took up the parfleche and passed it toward the 
live coal where the incense was rising, passed it toward the coal 
four times, and then over the coal, still holding it out in front of 
him, but to his left side. He carried it around the lodge, continuing 
to the south, west, north, and east of the center-pole, where he 
brought it up to the men who were sitting about the drum. Here he 
made a motion as if he would throw it among them, four times, actu- 
ally passing it among them on the fourth time. As it fell among them, 
they beat upon it violently and shouted and began the drumming and 
singing of a new song. 

The five old priests now left their position in front of the altar, 
and took a place near the fire, where they sat down facing south. The 
dancers arose, faced toward the north, placed the eagle-bone whistle 
in their mouths and began dancing and whistling to the time of the 
drumming and singing. 

As has been above noted, the dancing motion consists merely of a 
slight swaying or swinging of the body, with a slight bend at the knees 
and at the back. Barely did the heel leave the ground. The dancers 
stood in a single line, the Lodge-Maker occupying the west end of the 
line as usual, and now standing, as he will hereafter during the cere- 
mony, with his feet upon the sage in the excavation. 

Thus they danced, with slight intermission, on this night until 
two o'clock in the morning, although the night grew colder. At about 
ten o'clock in the evening there came a terrible storm of rain and sleet 
and snow. About midnight the ground was covered with snow and 
sleet, but the dancers kept bravely at their task, although they were 
barefooted and entirely naked, except for a loin-cloth, and completely 
exposed to the mercy of the weather. 

134 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

THE DANCE, 1902. 

All being in readiness, the priests again formed in a semicircle 
on the west side of the lodge and in front of the dancers. Wadtana- 
kashi, the substitute Lodge-Maker, left his position in the line, went 
to the fireplace, where he obtained a live coal, and returned to the 
west side of the lodge, where he sat down, south of the skull, placing 
the coal in front of him. Cedar-leaves were given him by Hawkan, 
which Waatanakashi held in the fingers of his right hand, the elbow 
of which rested upon his right knee. (See Plate LXIX.) 

Five songs were now sung, during which time Waatanakashi waved 
his hand back and forth in front of his face, on his right side during 
the first two songs, on his left during the third and fourth song, ahd 
in front of his face during the fifth song. He dropped the leaves on 
the coal (see Plate LXX.), took up the rawhide and placed it over 
the incense, carried it in the usual fashion (see Plate LXXI.), and 
threw it among the drummers, having first motioned toward them four 
times. During this rite the rattle was not used, nor did any one beat 
with the pipe-stem upon the Badger-pack. 

The musicians now began the Sun Dance songs; each of the dan- 
cers arose, having adjusted his kilt, headdress, and whistle, and having 
a piece of sage in his right hand. The dancing was continued, at 
intervals, throughout the remainder of the day and far into the night. 

FIFTH DAY, 1901; SIXTH DAY, 1902. 

This day corresponds to. the sixth day of the 1902 performance. 
The number and succession of events on the two days were practically 
the same, except that in the second performance the intrusive dances 
given in the ceremony of 1901 were omitted. Such intrusive dances 
do not properly belong to the Sun Dance, and have no regular place 
in the list of rites. 

Under ordinary circumstances, this day is known as "Medicine 
Day," and was treated as such in the second performance. The dan- 
cers had now fasted for about forty hours, and it was supposed that by 
this time their mind was in proper condition to be susceptible to the 
influence of the sun. The singing and dancing of this day was of a 
more serious nature than that of the preceding day. The dancers 
were exhorted to be of a reverent frame of mind. 

It may be mentioned here, though the observation has no direct 
bearing on the rites of this day, that the preceding day in the perform- 
ance of 1902 had been excessively hot, as had the weather for many 

Pl. LXIX. Incensing the Rawhide. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Niwaat in position behind live coal and waving the incense in his right hand, 
back and forth, in front of his face, to the accompaniment of the singing by 
Hdwkan and other priests. 


PL. LXX. Incensing the Rawhide. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Niwaat depositing the incense on a live coal, at the conclusion of the fifth 

Pl. LXXI. NiwAAT Carrying the Rawhide in Sunwise Circuit, after Being 
Incensed, to the Musicians. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Pl. LXXII. The Grandfathers Making the Wrist and Ankle Bands for the 
Dancers. Sixth Day, 1902. 

I n 

Pl. LXXIII. Grandfathers Passing the Wrist and Head Bands to the Dancers. 

Sixth Day, 1902. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 135 

days previous, and it was feared by the priests that, should the excess- 
ive warm weather continue, the men would not be able to endure until 
the end. Two or three of the priests, therefore, were heard at differ- 
ent times on the preceding day, offering prayer, that cooler weather 
might prevail. This fact was known throughout the camp, and great, 
therefore, was the joy and satisfaction of all when the morning dawned 
cloudy and cool and so continued throughout the day, thus affording a 
much needed rest to all the members of the camp. 


The ceremony continued on this day in a manner similar to that 
on the previous morning. Just before daybreak the dancers formed 
in line and accompanied by the singing of members of the Star society 
they faced east, and danced until after sunrise. Then the spectators' 
scattered to their various lodges for breakfast, while the dancers, 
wrapped in their blankets, huddled around the fire, for there was two 
inches of snow on the ground. The Crier called for water, which the 
women brought for the dancers to bathe themselves with, food was 
provided for the grandfathers and fresh sage and paint to be used in 
painting and costuming the dancers. After the painting, they danced 
at intervals, as on the preceding day. ^ 


On this day and the day following, in both the 1901 and 1902 
presentations, the majority of the dancers wore certain wreaths of 
sage, usually around the head, waist, wrists, and ankles. All these 
accessories to the dancers' costumes were made, in both years, on this 
the second day of the dance proper. 

As a rule, the sage wreaths were made by the grandfathers of the 
dancers who were to wear them, and their construction was devoid of 
formality. (See Plates LXXII. and LXXIII.) Attached to the 
wreath was a small sprig broken from the cedar tree at the side of 
the altar, and an eagle breath-feather. The wreaths were bound 
together and held in place by means of strands of sinew. 

In the section of this paper which treats of the dancers, it will be 
noted that in the 1902 performance, certain men wore, in addition to 
the usual sage ornaments, bandoleers, which passed over the left 
shoulder and under the right arm. These bandoleers were made on 
this day, in one of the tipis, and not in the Offerings-lodge. The 
bandoleers were made by Hanatchawdtant (Black-Buffalo), assisted 
by WadtannihinSn (Black-Man) ; both priests fasted throughout this day. 

136 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

Having provided themselves with the necessary material, they 
placed sage on the ground in the tipi in front of them, upon which 
they placed calico. Upon the calico they laid the strips of otter hide 
and certain feathers and other materials about to be required. Each 
one now touched the forefinger of his right hand to the ground, and 
then to his tongue, took a piece of sage root, from which he bit off a 
small portion, spat in his hands five times, and rubbed himself over 
the head, arms, breast, and body. Then they began the work of pre- 
paring the bandoleers. 

Having fashioned the otter skin in proper form, seven eagle feath- 
ers were attached on the one side, together with eagle breath-feathers 
stained green and red, and pieces of yellow woodchuck hide. At the 
lower side of the bandoleer, i. e., at the point which was to hang lowest 
on the body, was attached a white ring, about two and a half inches 
in diameter, such as is used on harness. 

Having completed the construction of the bandoleers, the two 
priests passed them over the incense produced by burning sweet grass 
on live coals. HanSkenakuwu (White-Buffalo) then made a prayer: 


"Man- Above, we come to you for this holy ceremony, as we wish 
to fix these objects as your servants used to do. We are poor and 
humble before you. Remember that we are young, so please help us 
to make these things to be used to-day for your comfort! May they 
look good to the eyes of the people. As it was when the originator 
of these wreaths, paints, and necklaces gave them to us, so now, let 
it be pleasing to you! May the sun be cool for the dancers. May we 
go back to our homes in good health ! Give us good water and food ! 
Show us some clouds for shade over the dancers!" 


On the afternoon of this day there was a diversion, in the nature 
of certain public performances which were held in a large temporary 
enclosure, made about one hundred yards to the east of the lodge. 
The dancing here was largely of a social nature, the various partici- 
pants dancing for the amusement of their societies, and especially for 
their visitors. (See Plate LXXIV.) Some of the members of the 
visiting tribes also danced from time to time. There were many 
exchanges of presents, such as ponies and calico. 

Pl. LXXIV. Intrusive Performances. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Fig. 1. Group of visiting Cheyenne, in temporary dance structure east of 
the Ofiferings-lodge. 

Fig. 2. Kit-Fox and Star societies dancing the Crow dance. 




sfej^^* g^^ 



"^" -r--^ 


^ 4k ^ 

Pl. LXXV. The Initiation of New Chiefs. Fifth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Nishchdnakati pronouncing Bull-Bear chief, giving him the new 
name, White-Owl. 

Fig. 2. Row-of-Lodges proclaiming Omaha chief. 





FIG. 2. 

PL. LXXVI. The Inauguration of New Chiefs. Fifth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Chief Niwalit proclaiming Wdtanah chief, presenting him with pipe 
and tobacco, as he pronounces his new name. 

Fig. 2. Chief Yellow-Horse listening to the speech of Chief Row-of-Lodges 

4f "^f 







fc ''• 


*3riHI^Ni^BS^BK ^ 

\M tSw^^^^'^ 

Pl. LXXVII. Name-Changing Ceremony. Sixth Day, 1902. 

Fig, I. Hdcheni about to pronounce the new name. 

Fig. 2, The individual just renamed receiving the pipe from Nishchdnakati. 

v/-^- ''vr- 


May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 137 

At this time was also performed the ceremony of the making of 
chiefs. In this performance, an old chief, and sponsor of the chief- 
to-be, proceeded to the open space recently occupied by the dancers. 
The chief-to-be turned and faced the old chief, who addressed to him in 
aloud voice a speech of considerable extent, whereupon, at the conclu- 
sion of the address, he handed the newly elected chief a pipe and 
tobacco bag, and pronounced his new name, which concluded the 
ceremony. (See Plates LXXV. and LXXVI.) Some of the speeches 
made at this time were of unusual interest on account of the sentiment 
expressed. Such was a bit of a speech of one man, which was some- 
what as follows: "My friend, you are about to be made chief. You 
will no longer be a common man, and every one will look at you; you 
will stand on a high place, and your faults therefore will be clearly 
observed. Do not let this dismay you, and even if people should 
laugh at you, do not be discouraged, but walk straight ahead and do 
the best you can." 

This interesting rite was performed on the afternoon of this day 
in the Offerings-lodge for several individuals. The candidate took his 
pipe to either Hdcheni or Nishchanakati, who arose, lifted the pipe 
on high with his right hand and a piece of sage in his left, the candi- 
date standing in front of and with his back to the priest. (See Fig. i, 
Plate LXXVII.) The priest then recited the ritual, at the conclusion 
of which he dropped the sage as he pronounced the new name. The 
candidate then turned, stooped in front of the priest, who had assumed 
a sitting posture, and received from him the pipe after the usual man- 
ner. (See Fig. 2, Plate LXXVII.) 

THE lodge-maker's PRAYER. 

An interesting incident occurred on the afternoon of -this day. 
While the dancers were in line, the Lodge-Maker left his position, 
walked over to the center-pole, and placing his arms around it, he 
cried long and earnestly, praying that the Father-Above, and the 
Four-Old-Men would support him and his fellow dancers and be with 
them and encourage them in their attempt to purify themselves by 
their four-days' fast. The dancing continued at intervals almost 
throughout the entire night. 

It has been pointed out above that on this day, in the 1902 per- 
formance, the men were exhorted to direct their thoughts toward the 
powers above, in order that their vows might be more completely 

138 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

fulfilled. In connection with this, a speech, made by Hdwkan to all 
those present in the Offerings-lodge (speaking particularly to the 
grandfathers and the dancers), just before sundown, is of considerable 

"Listen, my young people! I am here to tell you that this is 
Medicine Night. From this time on, until the last moment of the 
dance, you must do your best to extend your gifted powers to comfort 
and relieve your grandchildren. Set your thoughts on the Gods in 
the Heavens. Be careful not to omit any detail of the painting. 
Tell your grandchildren the particular place that they must look. 
Help them, and give them things to attract the Supernatural Beings. 
Let every one come into the lodge and keep up the spirit, and sing 
the songs which our forefathers used to sing. You know what this 
Medicine Night means. Make a joyful noise for us. Give music to 
our Father-Above. 

"Give solemn thoughts to your Creator, you dancers, and don't 
think about water or food, but weep to him by holding the center- 
pole in your mind. The old folks tell us that this lodge is hard and 
tedious, but if you have faith you will gain some good. Now, friends, 
I am going over to drink some water." 

The meaning of Hawkan's last sentence may be better under- 
stood when it is stated that he also had kept the fast with the dancers 
from the night of the feast at the break-up of the Rabbit-tipi. 

There is a considerable amount of evidence to the fact that in 
former times unbridled license prevailed throughout the camp on this 
night, which was taken advantage of by all, as it was considered one 
of the rites of the ceremony. In more recent years, however, this 
has been entirely given up. The occasion is still seized, however, by 
the younger people as an opportunity for courting, and it is safe to 
assume that many future marriages have their beginnings on this night. 

SIXTH DAY, 1901; SEVENTH DAY, 1902. 

This corresponds to the seventh day of the 1902 performance, 
and with one exception the number and succession of rites during the 
day were practically the same for both years. The events of the day 
followed, practically the same as those just described for the pre- 
ceding day, except that at the conclusion of the day's performance 
there occurred the interesting rite of dancing toward the setting sun. 

Pl. LXXVIII. Women about the Entrance of the Offerings-lodge, Singing and 
Encouraging the Dancers. .Sixth Day, 1902. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 139 


At about six o'clock on this morning, the Crier was heard calling 
for wood for the fire, and especially for more women to come to the 
lodge to assist in the singing. Again the men faced the east, and 
danced and whistled until the sun was well up. As this performance 
continued, from time to time, they stretched out one or both hands 
toward the east, while the beginning song was sung. A second time 
the Crier called for the women to bring pails of water and sage, while 
the dancers gathered around the fire and smoked informally. When 
water and sage had been brought, and the sage had been placed in the 
buckets in the usual ceremonial fashion, and after the sage had been 
passed over the bodies of the dancers as on the previous morning, they 
washed and dried themselves before the fire, and returned, sitting down 
in front of the grandfathers, whereupon each dancer filled a pipe for 
his grandfather to smoke. 


The performance in 1902 was practically the same as on the cor- 
responding morning of 1901. It was observed, however, that at this 
time the Lodge-Maker used the Wheel handed him by Nishnat^yana. 
As the dancing and whistling continued, the Lodge-Maker, from time 
to time, extended his arm, carrying the Wheel out in front of him, 
drawing the hand, finally, up even with the head, and thus making a 
semicircular motion. This continued until the sun actually appeared. 
The reason for the performance, so it was claimed, was to hasten the 
appearance of the sun. 


Food was brought in large quantities by the women, during the 
time that the pipes were being passed back and forth among the 
grandfathers and the priests. During all the time women in increasing 
numbers gathered about the entrance, and were singing and encouraging 
the men. (See Plate LXXVIII.) The Lodge-Maker then took a pinch 
of food and made the various offerings, as on the two preceding days. 

It was noticed on this morning, that as he stopped in front of the 
ditch, he first rubbed the palms of his hands together, crushing food 
between them, and then placing his hands together, he made four 
motions upward toward the buffalo skull, and then deposited the 
particle of food under the arch of the seven semicircular twigs. 
Then the grandfathers and the chief priests began to eat, while the 

I40 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

dancers gathered about the fire and smoked. By this time the sun 
had come out and the weather had grown perceptibly warmer, and all 
were correspondingly happy. The lodge at this time was almost 
crowded with people, sitting and eating, the whole forming a very 
busy and happy scene. (See Plate LXXIX.) 


After the feast the women gathered up such food as remained and 
went outside of the lodge, where they formed in different groups and 
ate with their friends. In the mean time, the Criers were calling for 
this and that, and the scene was indeed a busy one. Then paint was 
provided by the women for the grandfathers, who warmed it and took 
up their positions, with the dancers in front of them. Then, as on the 
previous day, the Lodge-Maker took his position in front of Hocheni. 
The latter began to rub his second finger on the palm of his right 
hand, as before, and after warming his hands over a live coal, he 
passed the tips of his fingers from one extremity of the Lodge-Maker's 
body to the other. He then rubbed the second finger of his right 
hand down the palm of his left and again passed his hands over the 
outside of the Lodge-Maker's body, the same operation being repeated 
twice again. The Lodge-Maker then turned his back to Hocheni, who 
smeared the paint here and there over his back. The Lodge-Maker 
then went over to the fire, where he painted his body from head to 
foot with white clay. 

As fast as the dancers were painted they dried themselves before 
the fire. In the mean time, several priests began making wreaths and 
bands of sage to be worn by the dancers. (See Fig. i, Plate LXXX.) 
This completed, the dancers returned to the grandfathers for the final 
paint. At this time also, fresh sage was put in the ditch. After the 
dancers had been painted they resumed their position in the line, but 
all in squatting posture, the Lodge-Maker having his feet, as usual, 
on the sage in the ditch. (See Plate LXXXI.) The paints had now 
been passed to the women, who had removed them. 

The chief priests, including Hocheni, Hdwkan, Chanitoe, Waakat- 
dni, and Wadnibe, formed in a semicircular line in front of the dan- 
cers. The Lodge-Maker now went to the fireplace and brought over a 
live coal, which he placed in front of Hocheni, placing over it some 
spruce leaves which had been handed him by Hocheni, and then drew 
about him his buffalo robe, with which he wrapped himself when not 
being painted or not engaged in active ceremony. Hawkan then 
uttered a prayer. Hdcheni took up a rawhide rattle, which he held in 
his right hand, and began slowly to shake it. The crowd around the 


PL. LXXIX. The Feast and Payment of the Grandfathers by the Relatives of 
THE Dancers. Seventh Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. Thiyeh directing the placing of the food and presents. 

Fig. 2. Thiyeh and the dancers beginning the distribution of the food. 



PL. LXXX. Incidents in the Offerings-lodge. Sixth Day, 1902. 

Fig. I. The grandfathers making sage wreaths and head bands for the 

Fig. 2. The Lime-Crazy society acting as musicians. 



Pl. LXXXI. The Dancers Resting after Having been Painted, NiwAAT Sitting in 

Front of the Altar with his Feet upon the Sage Floor of the Ditch. 

Seventh Day, 1902. 



Pl. LXXXII. Arapaho Children in Native Costume. Seventh Day, 1902. 



Pl. LXXXIII. Baihoh, One of the Dog-soldiers. 

Pl. LXXXIV. Priests Resting after Painting the Dancers. Seventh Day, 1902. 

On the left, Nakadsh; in the center, Watdngaa; on the right, Wcltanah. 

Pl. LXXXV. NiwAAT AND Waatanakashi, after Having been Painted: Hocheni on 
THE Extreme Left. Seventh Day, 1902. . 

PL. LXXXVI. The Line of Dancers. Sixth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. The dancers whistling toward the fork of the center-pole; in front 
of the line is Henifinit. 

Fig. 2. Dancers resting: His^haseh called to the front of the line to receive 
a present. 

PL. LXXXVll. The Line of Dancers. Sixth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I, Niehhinitu, dancing toward the center-pole. 
Fig. 2. Hisehaseh, dancing in front of the line. 


THE Center-pole. Seventh Day, 1902. 

PL. LXXXIX. North of Left Half of the Line of Dancers, Whistling toward 
THE Center-pole. Seventh Day, 1902. 



PL. XC. Dancing with the Wheel. Sixth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. The Wheel, which has just been passed to Thihduchhdwkan, the 

Fig. 2. ThihduchhAwkan weeping for mercy, to the Wheel. 

PL. XCI. Dancers Bathing, Preparatory to Being Painted. Seventh Day, 1902. 

PL. XCII. Dancers Resting, after Being Painted. Seventh Day, 1902. 

At the extreme left is chief Wdtanah addressing the dancers, praising and 
encouraging them. 

iMay, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 141 

drum had been perceptibly increased in size, and it was now noticed 
that many of the musicians and spectators wore buckskin shirts and 
leggings, while the majority of them had their faces painted in accord- 
ance with individual privileges. (See Plates LXXXII. and LXXXIII.) 
The drummers now struck up a low song, whereupon the Lodge- 
Maker took the rawhide, and holding it to the right of him and walk- 
ing in a stooping posture, he carried it in front of the altar to the west 
and north of the center-pole, and on, around to the drummers, where 
he made a motion as if to pass it among the drummers, four times, 
and then threw it among them, whereupon they shouted vociferously, 
beat upon the rawhide, and began one of the Sun Dance songs. Then 
the semicircular line of priests retired to various positions about the 
lodge. (See Plate LXXXIV. and LXXXV.) With the beginning of 
the singing, the dancers rose, placed the whistles in their mouths, and 
began dancing. (See Plates LXXXVL, LXXXVII., LXXXVIIL, and 
LXXXIX.) Waakatani now went to Hisehaseh, who was standing in 
front of the line, and who was holding in each hand a bunch of sage. 
After four passes with his right hand, Waakatani removed these from 
his hands. Debithe then went back behind the altar, took the Wheel 
from its position, brought it around in front, passing to the right, and 
handed it to the Lodge-Maker. (See Plate XC.) 


An interesting variation was noted this day, not recorded in detail 
heretofore. Before the completion of the so-called "poultice," each 
grandfather went to Hocheni, before whom he knelt, and placed his 
hands upon his head. In this position he uttered a prayer, or more 
properly speaking, supplicated Hocheni to assist him. At the con- 
clusion of the performance, the grandfather drew his hands down the 
arms of Hocheni, and then held his hands in front of him, palms 
upward. Hocheni now touched the forefinger of his right hand to the 
ground, touched his tongue, took a bite of root, and with his finger 
motioned five times in the palms of the grandfather's hands in the 
usual ceremonial manner. He then spat five times at these same 
points. He then spat to the right and left, to the head of the grand- 
father, and in his hands, which he rubbed upon the man's head. Again 
he spat in his hands and touched the grandfather's breast. Hocheni 
next took a root from his mouth and placed it in the mouth of the 
grandfather. The painting, with accompanying rites then followed, 
as already described. (See Plate XCL and XCH.) Before the begin- 
ning of the dancing occurred the rite of passing the rawhide over the 
incense, as has already been described on a previous occasion. 

142 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

At this time on this day, in the performance of both years, evi- 
dence of the prevailing good feeling and generous nature of the tribe 
was abundantly shown. Thus, several chiefs made encouraging 
speeches to the dancers (see Fig. i, Plate XCII.), commending them 
for the fortitude shown up to the present, and encouraging them to 
continue during the few remaining hours of the dance. 

Many of the old married couples stood up by the side of the drum- 
mers, and in the presence of the assembled multitude, embraced and 
kissed, while H6cheni stood by, encouraging them and calling the 
attention of the young people to the blessings of married life. (See 
Fig. 2, Plate XCIII.) The musicians were also praised for their 
devoted attention throughout the ceremony, and were publicly thanked 
by Hdcheni (see Fig, i, Plate XCIV.), who also addressed the visiting 
Cheyenne and other tribes, thanking them for their presence. 

Many presents were also given at this time; the customary 
method of procedure being for the donor to lead into the Offerings- 
lodge a pony, and through Hocheni, make known that he wished to 
present a pony to some friend. (See Fig. 2, Plate XCIV. an i Plate 
XCV.) Presents were also made at this time to Naen, who left her 
seat behind the altar and stood in front of her husband. (See Plate 


Now begins the most trying part of the ceremony; for in addition 
to the pangs of hunger and thirst and exhaustion which the dancers 
must feel by this time, the performance with the Wheel in the hands 
of the Lodge-Maker is an unusually solemn moment, heightened by 
an intense religious fervor, increased by the screaming and shouting 
of the women and the encouraging cries of the men. 

It is the wish of all that no one of the dancers may fall from 
exhaustion at this time. The singing was much more spirited than at 
any other time during the ceremony, and more force was put into the 
movement of the dancers, as well as in the volume of noise produced 
by the whistles. From time to time the Lodge-Maker would hold the 
Wheel up toward the center-pole, toward which all now looked. (See 
Fig I, Plate XCVIL) Many presents were brought in by the female 
relatives of the dancers, to be given away at this time. At times the 
Lodge-Maker seemed overcome with emotion. His breast heaved 
violently and his face was contorted into violent grimaces. After this 
had continued for perhaps twenty minutes, Debithe arose and went 
behind the Lodge-Maker, took the Wheel with both hands, and raised 
it up over the Lodge-Maker's head, toward which he made four passes, 
and then placed the Wheel down over his heard, whee it rested upon 

Pl. XCIII. Priests Encouraging the Dancers. Sixth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Running-in-Circle addressing the dancers; behind him are \Va- 
t^ngaa and Hocheni. 

Fig. 2. Hocheni praising Hanatchawdtani and wife, who are making love 
as a lesson to the young people. 

Pl. XCIV. Encouraging the Dancers. Seventh Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. H6cheni praising the musicians. 

Fig. 2. Hocheni making announcements for Detenin, who is about to give 
away a pony. 

Pl. XCV. The Giving of Presents. Sixth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. H6cheni making announcements for Little-Raven, Jr., who is about 
to give away a pony to show love for his child. 
Fig. 2. The pony being led away. 


Pl. XCVI. Naen, Wife of Wa/(tanakashi, in Front of Line of Dancers,' Receiving 
A Present. Seventh Day, 1902. 

Pl. XCVII. Ceremony with the Wheel. Sixth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Thihduchbdwkan, motioning with the Wheel toward the center-pole. 
Fig. 2. Thihduchhdwkan placing the Wheel over his head. 

PL. XCVIII. Dancing with the Wheel. Seventh Day, 1902. 

North half of the line of dancers, with Niwaat, third in line from the left, 
standing in the ditch, with the Wheel in his right hand. 

> somc- 

the L. 

,t to Chan^Tot, w 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 143 

his shoulders, with the feathers hanging down in front. (See Fig. 2, 
Plate XCVII.) 

All the dancers now had sage in their right hands, which they 
raised aloft toward the center-pole from time to time, stretching the 
hand out straight from the shoulder, and with the sage pointed straight 
toward the right. (See Plate XCVIII.) The Lodge-Maker now 
transferred to his right hand a buffalo tail, which up to this time he 
had been holding in his left hand. This he waved and shook, as did 
the others their sage. Still the singing and dancing continued, and 
with increased spirit. Debithe then stepped up to the Lodge-Maker, 
removed the Wheel from his head, and placed it on a limb of the cedar 
tree, which projected back behind the skull. 

By the waving with an outward lifting motion of the Wheel toward 
the center- pole, the Lodge-Maker calls the attention of the Father, 
asking him to look down, while the placing of the Wheel over the 
Lodge-Maker's head, is to say, "My Grandfather, I take on, I receive 
the good of your gift for myself and for all." 

Ponies, calico, and money, still were being given away by the 
friends of the dancers. 

As on previous occasions during the dancing, Biba, the wife of 
the Lodge-Maker, constantly sat behind and to the north of the altar, 
being wrapped in a buffalo robe. The grandmother now took some- 
thing from a little bag which she carried with her, put it in her mouth, 
spat it upon the palms of her two hands, and rubbed her head, breast, 
and arms. Behind the buffalo skull was now placed a pile of calico as 
an offering, on the part of some individual, to the Wheel. 


One of the women now brought into the lodge a white wooden 
bowl about two feet in diameter, together with a knife and an axe, 
whereupon Hawkan, Watangaa, and the Lodge-Maker went around 
behind the buffalo skull, where Bech^aye joined them. She leaned 
over Hawkan and uttered a prayer, whereupon they arranged them- 
selves in the form of a circle. Two of the men now cleared away a 
circular bit of ground, about a foot in diameter, just back of the buf- 
falo skull. Debithe now joined the circle, bringing a bucket of hot 
water and a long-handled spoon of mountain sheep horn. Debithe 
passed the stem of the straight-pipe to Hdwkan, who arose and asked 
that the singing and dancing cease, whereupon the dancers sat down. 
Watangaa passed a bag of red paint to Chanitoe, who opened it and thor- 
oughly mixed a piece of tallow with it. Watangaa then passed to him a 
bag of black paint, whereupon this also was mixed with tallow. Hawkan 

144 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV, 

gave to Watdngaa a piece of root, which he placed in his mouth, and 
after chewing it a moment, spat upon his hands, which he rubbed over 
his head. Some small pieces of this root were passed to the other 
members of the circle. Hdwkan, with his pipe-stem, made four passes 
toward the eaith, and next indicated a semicircular space to Wadnibe, 
then the latter took an axe, and made four passes at each corner of 
the indicated space, and one in the center. The axe was then passed 
to Bech^aye, who did the same. They began digging with the axe, 
loosening the earth. Watangaa and Chanitoe continued the work with 
knives, making an excavation about a foot in diameter and four inches 
deep, the dirt being placed in a blanket, which was lying between 
Wadnibe and Hawkan. When they had finished the excavation, 
Wadnibe deposited the dirt at the foot of the center-pole. The 
bucket of hot water was then passed in near the excavation. 

A bag of pounded red berries and one of pounded herbs was 
opened. Hdwkan took the bag of pounded berries, and taking a pinch 
in his hand dropped a little in the southeast corner, then in the south- 
west corner, and so on around the edge of the pail, his assistants 
following his example, until the sack was entirely emptied. Hdwkan 
took up the sack of pounded roots, and as before, gave a pinch to 
each of the assistants, whereupon all repeated the preceding perform- 
ance until the pounded root was all placed in the pail. 

Watdngaa handed Hdwkan the large spoon, whereupon the latter 
told Watdngaa how to use it. The latter dipped up a tiny portion of 
the liquid, thrusting the spoon first on the east side, second on the 
south, third on the west, and finally on the north side. The spoon 
was now passed to Wadnibe, who did the same, then to the Lodge- 
Maker, then Chanitoe, and so on around the circle, the spoon being 
passed in a dextral circuit. As the spoon was dipped in the central 
portion by each one, after the four corners had been disturbed, it was 
noticed that considerable more of the liquid was taken up at this point 
than at the corners. When the spoon finally came to Wadnibe, she 
thrust the spoon to the bottom. All this time the dried berries and 
herbs were being thoroughly mixed with the water. Watdngaa passed 
Hdwkan the wooden bowl, who taking it in both hands made four 
passes, and then deposited it in the excavation which had been so 
made as to receive the bowl. 

Watdngaa gave to Hdwkan a sage stem, which he straightened 
and used as a rule to divide the bowl into halves, by placing it 
across the rim of the bowl. While he held the stem in this position, 
Watdngaa painted the north half of the rim of the bowl with the black- 
ened tallow, Chanftoe and Debithe, during this operation, holding the 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 145 

stick. Hawkan and Debithe held the stem and the other half of the 
rim of the bowl was painted by Watangaa with the red tallow. It 
was noticed that in holding the stem, care was taken so that it should 
be directly on a line with the center-pole. Watangaa now made a 
small circular dot on the outside of the bowl just under one end of the 
black line. On a corresponding position of the opposite side, outside 
of the bowl and just under the end of the red line, he made a semi- 
circular mark in red. These two symbols represented the sun and 

Watangaa now handed to Hawkan the spoon, and he dipped up some 
of the charm liquid and poured it into the bowl, pouring first on the 
east, then on the south, the west, and the north sides, and then in the 
center of the bowl. This same operation was continued by Watangaa, 
his wife, the Lodge-Maker, Chanitoe, and Debithe. Care was exer- 
cised in transferring the charm liquid into the bowl to place therein 
only so much as would fill the bowl on the level with the symbols 
on the outside. Watangaa now renewed the paint on the south half 
of the bowl, while Chanitoe renewed the red paint on the north half of 
the bowl. 

All the priests now formed in line along the wall of the lodge on 
the east; Hawkan and Chanitoe, however, retaining their position. 
The former now approached the bowl, which he held at its two edges, 
whereupon Chanitoe took a spoon and stirred the liquid until it was 
thoroughly mixed. He then leaned over it, made with his mouth a 
noise resembling that made by a goose just before drinking, and then 
put his lips in the liquid, taking a little in his mouth. Hawkan took a 
goose feather and dipped it in the bowl at the four corners and at the 
center. The wife of Chanitoe, taking the feather from Hawkan, drew 
it twice through Chanitoe's lips, as he held his head over the bowl, 
first from right to left, then from left to right. Chanitoe then made 
the same noise with his lips, and drank from the bowl. Debithe, 
Watangaa, and others then followed, going through the same perform- 
ance and drinking from the bowl. During this time and right after 
the manufacture of the charm liquid, the singing and dancing had 
continued. Watangaa now sat down just between the medicine bowl 
and the skull, while opposite and facing him sat Chanitoe. 

As may be readily surmised, the color symbolism of the bowl is 
the same as shown in the skull and other objects of the altar. The 
bowl itself, with the liquid, was said to represent the great lake above, 
from which all rain comes. The pounded berries were typical of the 
food, especially the vegetable food of the earth, while the pounded 
herbs represented, in general, the earth's fragrance. It is also said, 

146 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

that, as rain water is "sweet," so this water must be made sweet. The 
object of drawing the goose-quill through the lips was especially, to 
cleanse the mouth, thus imitating the habit of the goose. The poop- 
ing just before drinking, represented the noise made by the goose 
before drinking, because these birds drink good, clear water, in regions 
where there is ice and snow, where, therefore, the water is "sweet." 
The bodies of the geese are white, and hence the people imitating the 
acts of the birds make themselves clean from all badness and free from 


According to the statement made by Hawkan, the charm liquid, 
or holy water, should not be prepared in the Offerings-lodge, as the 
rites accompanying the preparation of the water are supposed to be 
secret. On this year, therefore, when the time came for the prepara- 
tion of the water, i. e., at about six in the afternoon, Hawkan and 
several others left the Offerings-lodge and proceeded to the tipi of 
Chanitoe, which stood in the camp-circle just north of the eastern 
opening, (See Plate XCIX.) Proceeding within, they arranged 
themselves in the following order, beginning with the south side of 
the tipi entrance and continuing on around to 'the north side of the 
door: Chanitoe's wife, Hawkan, Chanitoe, Watangaa, Nishnat^yana, 
Watanah, Debithe, and Thiyeh. 

Within the tipi, certain preparations had already been made. A 
kettle of boiling water was found hanging upon a crane over a fire in 
the center of the tipi. After a few moments, Hdwkan left his position 
next to Chanitoe's wife and sat down between Nishnat^yana and 
Watanah. He took a pipe-stem in his hand and directed the priests 
in some detail, giving the reason why the medicine water should not be 
prepared in the Offerings-lodge, and asking the priests, especially 
those who were present as pupils, to be particularly attentive during 
the performance, in order that they might perform this rite accurately 
in the future. 

He then pointed out that the kettle should not be suspended upon 
the crane, and asked that a tripod be provided, saying that only the 
tripod used with the tipi leanback should be used for this purpose. 
No tripod being present within the lodge, Chanitoe's wife went outside, 
and soon returned with an ordinary tripod used over the fire. The 
proper kind of roots or herbs not being present, Chanitoe left the lodge 
and soon returned with them. The tripod and packages having been 
handed to Hdwkan, he uttered a prayer: 

Pl. XCIX. Line of Priests on Their Way to Prepare the Sweet-water. 
Seventh Day, 1902. 

In line from the left, are Thiyeh, wife of Chanitoe; Chanitoe, Nakadsh, 
Nishnateyana and Hdwkan. At the end of the line on the right is Cleaver 
Warden, interpreter. 

May; 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 147 


"According to your instructions, relative to making this holy 
water, I will now proceed with these servants. After creating the 
earth, you made this sweet-water (goose) for us all. You caused vege- 
tables and herbs to grow, in order that mankind might derive some 
benefit from them. Here are these servants, Chanitoe and wife, 
before you, my Father, Man-Above, and my Grandfather, Light-of- 
the-Day, the Center-Road. 

"My Grandmother, Old-Woman-Night, we cannot help but call 
to you, when we come together, for your protection, upon the mem- 
bers of the tribe. 

"You Sun Dance priests and Rabbit-people, Dancers-of-the-Past, 
Former Children of this Lodge, listen to us! Hear our plea! We are 
young in these rites, and under obligations to call upon you for assist- 
ance. May this kettle of water be made to taste sweet, so that all 
children may drink it and purify their streams of blood! Cause these 
servants present to witness these rites with solemn hearts! Let this 
sweet-water be a blessing upon us all to-night, that this tribe may 
increase in population, just as the geese increase." 

The kettle was now lifted from the crane by Chanitoe and placed 
in front of Hawkan. The former opened a sack containing dried and 
crushed dog root, or sweet root. Taking a pinch with the thumb and 
forefinger of his right hand, he motioned four times toward the water 
in the vessel, while Hawkan made four passes with the pipe-stem and 
spat toward the water four times. The pinch of root was then placed 
upon the water in the kettle, in the southwest corner. Again Chanitoe 
took a pinch of root, motioned his hand toward the surface of the 
water once, Hdwkan pointing with the stem and spitting toward the 
northwest corner. Then Chanitoe deposited the roots in this direc- 
tion. This performance was repeated for the northeast corner, and 
the southeast. A fifth pinch of root was added upon the surface of the 
water, in the center, Chanitoe motioning four times, and Hdwkan 
ejecting spittle and motioning with the pipe-stem. 

The second sack, containing dried red berries, was now opened by 
Chanitoe, who added five bunches of these to the water, with exactly 
the same number of passes as before, and accompanied likewise with 
similar actions on the part of Hawkan. This time, however, the first 
pinch was added to the west side of the kettle, the second on the 
north, the third on the east, and the fourth on the south, the fifth, of 
course, being added in the center. Chanitoe's wife next added a pinch 

148 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

of the clog root and of the red berries at the four cardinal points and 
emptied the contents of the sacks into the kettle. 

Chanitoe took up a large, long-handled ladle of sheep's horn, with 
which he made four motions toward the water, each motion being 
accompanied by a similar movement on the part of Hdwkan with the 
pipe-stem. He dipped the ladle into the southwest corner of the kettle 
and poured the liquid back into the center. This performance was 
repeated, but with one motion and with one ejection of spittle and one 
movement of the pipe-stem on the part of Hdwkan, in the northwest, 
northeast, and southeast corners. Four movements were then made 
toward the center by both Chanitoe and Hdwkan, whereupon the 
former thoroughly stirred the contents of the kettle. 

The kettle was placed over the fire, upon the tripod, where it 
remained for some time, until the water began to boil. During this 
time Hdwkan continued to discuss the rites of the ceremony and to 
explain to the priests present, that as the sacred water was taken from 
this tipi of preparation to the Offerings-lodge, it should be carried in 
the right hand only, and that it should be "hidden from him." The 
old priest, Hawkan's informant, did not explain what this meant, but 
Hawkan supposed that he referred to the sun. 

When the kettle began to boil, Chanitoe took a coal from the fire 
and placed it in front of Hawkan. He also lifted the kettle from the 
fire and placed it at Hawkan's right. The latter opened a bag of 
cedar-leaves, a pinch of which he placed upon the coal, making first 
four passes from each of the cardinal points, beginning with the east 
and continuing on the south, west, and north toward the coal, and 
finally motioning his hand from above. He arose, lifted the kettle, 
and passed it over the incense, with a circular motion, four times, 
beginning each motion on the north side, and passing the kettle in a 
sunwise circuit. He set the kettle down on the ground and prayed: 

hawkan's prayer. 

"Please, Father, Man- Above, do not get impatient at our constant 
prayers. You caused the cedar tree to grow and from it we get leaves 
for our incense for this pure water. 

"Come and live with us, you Spirits, Supernatural-Beings, and 
help us in our supplications! We have boiled this water; placed the 
root and eating-berries upon it, and it is now prepared. Poor and 
humble as we are in this wdrld, surrounded by white people, please do 
have mercy upon us! May this cloud of smoke (incense) reach your 
nostrils, my Father and my Grandmother! Let our circuits (the 
courses with the sun, during the day) be firm, and free from accidents! 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 149 

"My Grandfather, Big-Painted-Red-Robe, listen to me! You are 
the one who directed and instructed me; and whatever I do, may it be 
pleasing to your sight! I have taken great pains to pursue the way 
which you gave me. May this woman (Chanitoe's wife) carry this 
kettle of sweet-water safely to your holy place ! As the geese drank 
that pure water without difficulty, so let it be with us! My Father, 
please come and be with us!" 

The priests now left the lodge, accompanied by Chanitoe's wife 
carrying the kettle, and proceeded to the Offerings-lodge, where they 
passed directly to the spot between the western wall of the lodge and 
the buffalo skull. Here a circular excavation was made for the wooden 
bowl, the sage being first removed, and Hawkan indicating the spot 
with the pipe-stem by the four motions, where the excavation was to 
be made. A bowl provided by Watdngaa was then placed upon the 
excavation. Chanitoe opened the two sacks, one containing red, and 
the other black paint. The paint he mixed with tallow. Nishnat^- 
yana, with the pipe-stem, after four passes with it toward the bowl, 
made a mark on the west side of the rim of the bowl, and then one on 
the east. Hawkan placed across the bowl at these two points a stem 
of sage, being assisted by Watangaa. Nishnateyana again made four 
motions with the pipe-stem, ejecting spittle, at the same time touch- 
ing the bowl, first on the southeast corner, and then on the southwest, 
northwest, northeast, and finally drawing the point of the stem 
entirely around the rim of the bowl. Chanitoe applied black paint to 
the south rim of the bowl, while Watangaa besmeared the rim on the 
north side with red. Naen also applied black paint to the south side, 
passing her finger from the east around to the west, and then applied 
red paint on the north rim, beginning at the west. Chanitoe touched 
with the point of his forefinger the bowl, on the inside near the edge, 
at two points equidistant and half-way between the east and west 
diameter of the bowl; and Watangaa went through a similar perform- 
ance on the north side. Nishnateyana made the four motions with the 
pipe-stem on the outside of the bowl, and on the east side, ejecting 
spittle also. At this point near the rim and edge and south of the 
east side of the bowl, Chanitoe painted a circular symbol. Nishnate- 
yana repeated this performance on the west side of the bowl just north 
of the line of the diameter, at which point Watdngaa painted a red 
crescent-shape symbol. Nishnateyana made the usual passes near the 
kettle, which had been standing near by, Chanitoe accompanying the 
movement of the pipe-stem with the ladle. He then dipped one ladle- 
ful from the bowl at the southeast corner, moving it as he passed it to 
the bowl, in a sunwise circuit. The second ladle of water was taken 

150 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

from the southwest side, the third from the northwest, and the fourth 
from the northeast, Nishnat^yana making in the three last-named 
corners of the bowl, a single movement with the pipe-stem. The 
latter now moved the pipe-stem toward the center four times, being 
accompanied with a pass of the ladle by Chanitoe. The latter took 
up four ladlesful of water from the center of the kettle and added 
them to the bowl. Watangaa then, without the accompanying move- 
ments by Nishnat^yana, dipped from the four corners of the bowl 
and from the center, and then, without regard to position in the 
kettle, dipped from it until the bowl was filled as high as the level of 
the two symbols on the east and west sides outside the bowl. Chanitoe, 
with a white goose-feather, dipped into the bowl five times, beginning 
with the southeast and ending in the center. The feather was 
handed to Watangaa, who repeated the performance. Again Hawkan 
laid the straight sage stem across the center of the bowl, from east to 
west. Chanitoe poured from the thumb and forefinger of his right 
hand dry, black paint, along the south side of the bowl next the sage 
«tem, while Watangaa on the north side of the sage stem poured a line 
•of red paint Chanitoe covered the entire south side of the liquid in 
the bowl with black paint, while Watangaa covered the north half of 
the liquid red. Hawkan removed the stem, and without formality, 
thoroughly mixed the paint with the liquid. 

Hawkan arose, passed around in front of the cedar tree, and took 
up the small forked stick with the sage symbol of the bird, and thrust 
the stick in the ground on the west side of the bowl, the sage being so 
turned that, had it been a bird, it would have looked upon the water. 
Watdngaa now sat down just west of the bowl. Each of the priests, 
with Hdwkan in the lead, approached the bowl from the south side, 
knelt over it, while Watdngaa drew the feather across their mouths, as 
has already been described. Each placed his lips to the water^ first 
making a peculiar noise in imitation of geese and then took a sip of 
.the liquid from the center of the bowl. 


The wives and relatives of the dancers now removed all clothing, 
blankets, etc., from the lodge, whereupon the line of dancers and 
priests (see Fig. i, Plate C), turned toward the west, and there began 
the final period of dancing, to continue until the sun had disappeared 
in the west. As the dancers faced the west they, with the priests of 
the ceremony, formed in a semicircular line just back of and to the 
east of the center-pole and facing west. (See Fig. 2, Plate C.) In 
this line, beginning at the south, were Hdcheni, Debithe, Wanakdyl, 


Pl. C. The Sunset Dance. Sixth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Dancers in line, resting, preparatory to the final dance. 
Fig. 2. Dancers in line, whistling toward the setting sun. 

fc^ "^ri 




May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 151 

Heni&nit, Wdtanah, Waatu, Chaiii (Lump-Forehead), Thihauchhdwkan, 
Bihata, Hisehaseh, Hitantuh, Hebethngnen, Niehhinitu (Howling- 
Bird), Nisah (Twins), Biba, and Nawaht. 

The boughs and other obstructions had just before been removed 
from the western quarter of the lodge, so that all had an unobstructed 
view of the setting sun. The spectators were careful not to pass in 
front of the line of dancers and priests. The sage which the dancers 
held in their hands was now waved more often than on previous occa- 
sions, and was held in an upward position. The Lodge-Maker used 
the buffalo tail more frequently, holding his arm out in front of him 
and bending it at the elbow, striking his breast with the tail and wav- 
ing it from him. Others occasionally went through the same motion, 
beating their breasts with the sage. 

As it was near the close of the day, three dancers, who had worn 
yellow feathers in their hair, went to the grandfathers to have the 
feathers removed. As the sun sank lower and lower to the horizon 
the fervor of the dancers continued to increase, while the volume of 
noise from the drummers and accompanying female chorus was of the 
most enthusiastic nature. The effect thus produced was greatly 
heightened by the shouting, and yelling on the part of the friends of 
the dancers, encouraging them to hold out to the end. In this veri- 
table babel of noise could be heard now and then the shrill whoop of 
the war-cry, given on the part of certain members of the warrior soci- 
eties. The dancing continued with renewed vigor, although it had 
been prolonged without a moment's cessation for over twenty minutes. 
As an offset to the cheering words spoken by some of the older priests, 
such as chief Nawaht's constant calling out: "Dance harder!" "The 
sun is setting!" "Do not give up!" one or two others cried out, 
"You may as well give up!" "You can't possibly last any longer!" 
"There is no water or food left, anyway!" 

The long continued strain on the part of both the dancers and the 
spectators was being more and more felt, and instead of the wild shout- 
ing and calling of the men, the great throng became gradually quiet, 
until at the end, not much was heard except the low singing of the 
musicians, and the heaving and panting of the almost exhausted 

The dancing, after continuing uninterruptedly for nearly forty 
minutes, came to a sudden end. Thereupon a great shout was sent 
up by all ; for the ceremony had come to a happy termination without 
any one falling by the way and without a mishap, and all rejoiced cor- 
respondingly. This impressive exhibition of endurance and faith is 
termed "gambling against the Sun." It expresses, on the part of each 

152 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

dancer his earnest prayer and an effort to conquer, to survive, to com- 
plete his three-days' fast, without falling, in spite of the opposition of 
the intense heat of the sun. To survive means to win benefit. At 
the conclusion of the dance all exclaimed, *'Thanks! We have attained 
our desire!" 


Water was now brought in buckets and in each were placed bunches 
of sage, one for each corner and one for the center. Each dancer now 
stood in front of the bucket, and taking the sage, dipped it in the water 
and then passed the sage, barely touching their bodies, first about their 
ankles, then up their legs, rubbing first the right side and then the 
left, and then up their arms. Then they touched the symbol on their 
backs and applied the sage to both shoulders and to their heads, each 
motion terminating at the symbol on the breast. Then the dancers, 
one by one, approached the medicine bowl from the south side, where 
they stooped over it, while Chanitoe drew the feather across their 
mouths, after dipping it in the liquid, from the left to the right side, 
and frorh the right to the left. Then, placing the lips close to the water, 
they produced the sound, such as has already been described, then 
drank of the water, jumped over the bowl, and returned to their 

By the side of the bowl of charm liquid, between it and the skull 
of the altar, there should have been a small stick standing just to the 
east of the medicine bowl. The upper end of the stick is forked, 
while the stick is so placed that the prongs of the fork stand east and 
west. On this fork rests a small bird, the common name of which 
could not be learned, with its head pointing toward the bowl. It is 
called the "packed" or carried (in a cradle) bird. According to 
Hawkan, this is the same bird that is represented as being on the back 
of the goose, as has already been mentioned. The bird is said to be 
found near ponds and buffalo wallows, and is the apostle of the holy 
water to the people. The reason for the absence of the bird itself 
from the ceremony, was due to the fact that the skin which is always 
used for this purpose had been forgotten, and was at that time at 
Cantonement, about thirty miles away. The forked stick upon which 
the bird rests is supposed to be an old man's cane, while the bird 
itself looks down, telling the people that it wants every one to come 
up and drink this water, as it is from above. After the ceremony of 
the charm liquid, the bird is placed in a small sacred bundle and is 
preserved for use in future ceremonies. 

On returning to the buckets, the dancers thoroughly washed 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 153 

themselves from head to foot. Then each man stooped over the 
bucket and drank copious drafts of water. This done, each man, 
either by means of his finger, or by means of a sage stem, tickled his 
throat to cause violent vomiting. While the dancers were thus wash- 
ing themselves, after partaking of the charm liquid, each of the great 
crowd of spectators came up to the bowl, in single file, went through 
the purification ceremony, one by one, as had the others, and then 
jumped over the bowl. 


As fast as the dancers had washed themselves, they passed out- 
side the lodge, where they joined groups of friends, which were now 
scattered here and there in great numbers all about the lodge, where 
all indulged in the open-air feast. To give an adequate description 
of the profusion of food which was supplied on this night, or properly 
to characterize the feeling of deeply religious good nature which was 
shown, would be an impossibility. After all had finished, the food 
was gathered up and taken by the women to their homes, and the 
ceremony of the day was at an end. The priests and dancers passed 
the night at their own tipis. 


This day corresponds to the eighth day in the 1902 performance, 
the rites of the two days being practically the same. But few more 
duties remain for the dancers to perform on this the final day of the 
Sun Dance ceremony; these are, the final dancing out to meet the 
Sun, the rite of purification, and the smoking of the sacred straight- 
pipe. There then follows the informal offering or sacrifice of old 
clothes to the lodge, by any one of the camp-circle who may be so 


On going to the lodge early this morning before sunrise, it was 
found that the dancers had already put in an appearance, together 
with many of the priests. Within a short time all those who had up 
to this time been connected with^.the ceremony were present, and 
formed north of the center pole in one semicircular line, which extended 
nearly half-way around the lodge. At one end of the line, and nearest 
the eastern opening was Waakatani. Next to him, and in order, were: 
Watdngaa, Chanitoe, Hawkan, Debithe, Biba, wearing a buffalo robe, 
the Lodge-Maker, and the remaining nine dancers, the position of the 

154 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

last one being in front of and beyond the altar. The drummers occu- 
pied their accustomed position. 

Watdngaa now left the line and went over to the altar, where he 
took up the ceremonial pipe, the Badger-pack, and the goose-quill. 
Debithe also left the line and got the Wheel. The Lodge-Maker now 
placed around him the buffalo robe, with the hair side outward. 
Hocheni took up the rawhide, while Waakatdni followed Debithe and 
returned with the many wrappings of the Wheel. The dancers now 
continued to stand in this same line, while the priests from the east 
end of the line passed in a single file in front of them, and on around 
to the north, east, and back in front of the dancers, where they sat 
down. The Lodge-Maker and his wife, Biba, now left the line and 
sat down in front of the remaining dancers, and in front of the ditch, 
the Lodge-Maker being on the south side and Biba on the left. The 
rattle, which had been forgotten, was now obtained by Hawkan, who 
gave it to Chanitoe. Watangaa lighted a pipe and passed it along 
the line, each priest as he received it, taking a few whiffs. As the 
pipe was returned to Watdngaa, he placed it, together with the feather, 
on the Badger-pack. 

The relative positions of the two lines again changed, the Lodge- 
Maker and his wife moving forward and joining the line of priests. 
Two of the dancers also now assumed a position in the forward line. 
With these changes, the line of the dancers was semicircular in shape, 
the center of the line being just in front of the altar. The second 
line, which was five feet in front of the first line, extended from a 
point between the altar and the center-pole, on around toward the 
west and north. The position of those in the second line, beginning 
with the southern end, was as follows: Biba, Chanitoe, Hitantuh, 
Wdtanah, and H6cheni. 

Biba now arose, and Debithe handed her the Wheel and the 
straight-pipe, which he took up from the badger-skin. Both of these 
objects Biba held in her right hand, the bowl of the pipe pointing for- 
ward. While the entire line of priests now moved a little toward the 
north, the line of the dancers passed also toward the north until they 
were immediately behind the former. The two lines now split into 
two divisions, there being thus formed four short, concentric, curved 
lines northwest of the center-pole. 


The crowd around the lodge and within it was now as great as at 
any time during the ceremony, although care was taken that the move- 
ment of the dancers and the priests should not be interfered with, nor 

Pl. CI. The Badger-pack. Seventh Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Watdngaa with the badger skin. 

Fig. 2. Hocheni, with the wrapping from Badger-pack. 


Pl. cm. Smoking the Straight-pipe. Seventh Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Hocheni holding the straight-pipe, preparatory to h'ghting it. 
Fig. 2. The straight-pipe being smoked by the Sun Dance priests and 

PL. cm. The Wheel Returned to Its Owner. Seventh Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Debithe leaving the Offerings-lodge with the Wheel in its wrappings 
and the rabbit fur. 

Fig. 2. The Wheel in its position behind the tipi of the Keeper. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 155 

did any one pass between these lines and the eastern opening of the 
lodge. The singers now began a song, each of the dancers keeping 
time with the eagle-bone whistle, the women yelling vociferously from 
time to time. It was now noticed that while the Lodge-Maker had 
kept on his buffalo robe, Biba had laid hers aside. After the singing 
and the whistling had continued for a few moments, all four lines 
stepped forward toward the center-pole, then backward toward the 
northwestern corner of the lodge, then forward again, this time pro- 
ceeding as far as the eastern opening of the lodge, then back again to 
about the center of the lodge, then forward again, the lines this time 
passing outside and about twenty feet beyond, to the east of the lodge, 
where they halted, and all shook themselves vigorously. 


Those not actually engaged in the ceremony now departed for 
their homes. The priests and the dancers then formed themselves in 
a semicircular line, the opening of which faced toward the east. In 
the center of the line was Watangaa, Debithe, Hawkan, and the 
remaining priests, while the two ends of the line were made up of the 
dancers. To the east, and just in front of Watangaa, were placed 
the wrappings, upon which was now deposited the Wheel. Watangaa 
next untied the Badger-pack, retaining the badger-skin, while Hocheni 
retained the wrapper which had formed the covering of the badger- 
skin. (See Plate CI.) It was not noted that the anterior portion of 
the badger- skin was painted black, while the remainder was painted 
red. The badger-skin, together with the pipe-stem and rattle, were 
placed on the old buffalo wrapper. After a prayer by Hdwkan (see 
Fig. I, Plate CII.), the pipe was handed to Hocheni, who lighted it, 
prayed, puffed on the pipe again, whereupon it was passed along the 
line to the south, when it was handed back along the north side of the 
line. (See Fig. 2, Plate CII.) The pipe was then returned to 
Hocheni. All the priests now left for their lodges, while Watdngaa 
and Debithe remained to wrap the Wheel, pipe, etc., in their proper 
envelopes. These objects were then returned to their keepers or 
owners. (See Plate CIII.) 

In regard to the ceremony which has just been described, it may 
be stated that the method of advancing by degrees outside the lodge 
was a form of asking that the Man-Above and the Grandfather listen 
to their prayers. It also typified the going after something which is 
good, the idea being that as they rtiake the final advance at the fourth 
time, they take it with a good heart. The shaking of' the blankets 
may be regarded as a purification rite whereby sickness and sorrow 
were shaken off. The smoking of the straight-pipe at this time, on 

156 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

the part of all, which formed the final performance in the ceremony, 
was to the effect that all might follow a straight road, that all 
might be protected, and that the families of those who had fasted and 
taken part in the ceremony might be protected, inasmuch as they had 
performed the ceremony according to the orders of Man-Above. 


This performance on this year was practically the same as has 
already been described. As the dancers moved out toward the sun, 
the wife of Nishnat^yana held the Wheel, while the wife of Watdngaa 
carried the sacred pipe, holding it in her right hand, with the bowl 
pointing upward. After the purification ceremony, and after the 
priests had sat down upon the ground, Hdwkan and Chanitoe removed 
the rabbit fur from the Lodge-Maker's robe, which Hawkan tied up in 
a bundle and placed with it five sprigs of fresh sage. The sacred 
straight-pipe was given to Hdcheni, who pointed with the bowl south- 
east, southwest, northwest, northeast, and then with the stem toward 
the sun and ground. 

The Badger-pack, after being carried out, was placed in its usual 
position south of the Wheel. It was unwrapped by Watangaa, who car- 
ried away with him the badger-skin, while H6cheni, as on the preceding 
year, retained the black and red covering. It was noticed when the 
Wheel was finally wrapped, that it had been lying on a thick bed of 


It was now about ten o'clock, and many of the lodges about the 
great camping-circle had already been taken down, preparatory to 
the return of the families to their homes in the different parts of their 
reservation. As soon as the priests had finished their smoking and 
had left, men and women, singly or in pairs, and generally accompanied 
by children, began making their way toward the Offerings- Lodge from 
all points of the circle. Having entered the lodge, the majority of them 
lifted their right hands toward the sun and offered a prayer, whereupon 
they proceeded to the cedar tree, or to one of the other trees forming 
the altar (see Fig. i, Plate CIV. and Plate CV.), or to the center-pole 
itself (see Fig. 2, Plate CIV. and Plate CVL), where they fastened 
bundles of clothes discarded by their children during the year, the 
idea thus expressed being that they desired that the. children should 
grow up to be men and women, and should be accompanied by good 
luck throughout life. One of the prayers uttered just before the 
offering of the old clothes on this morning is here given:. 

PL. CIV. Sacrifice of Clothing. Seventh Day. 1901. 

Fig. I. The altar, after the sacrifice of old clothing. 

Fig. 2. The center-pole, encased by several lines of old clothing 



PL. CV. The Altar, after the Sacrifice of Old Clothing. Eighth Day, 1902. 

Pl. CVI. The Center-pole, after the Sacrifice of Old Clothing, 
Eighth Day, 1902. 





FIG. 2. 

PL. evil. The Altar, after the Sacrifice of Old Clothing. Seventh Day, 1901. 



Pl. CVIII. The Offerings-lodge, after the Ceremony. Seventh Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Parents repairing to the lodge, to offer the worn-out clothing of their 

Fig. 2. The deserted lodge. 

i rasab 3riT .£ .gj'l 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsest. 157 


"White-Man-Above, my Father, here are the clothes of my child. 
I am going to deposit them. They are no longer good for my child. 
By doing this, I ask you to watch over him from day to day and keep 
him from temptation. May he grow up to be a man, to understand 
your teachings which we have just gone through! I hope you will 
hear our prayer for my child." 

By noon all those who desired to make these offerings had done 
so, the result being shown in the almost covered condition of the altar 
(see Plate CVII.), and by several bands of clothes which entirely sur- 
rounded the center-pole, to a height of two or three feet. 

By evening the camping-circle was entirely abandoned, except 
here and there, where there remained the lodge of one of the chiefs 
who took this opportunity for discussing more secular affairs which 
concerned the welfare of their tribe. 


In 1902 the ceremony ended at noon on Thursday, August 28th. 
On the two following days were performed several dances of a sociable 
or semi-religious nature, given chiefly for the entertainment of the 
visiting tribes. Immediately after the rites at and outside the lodge 
on this day, the Dog-soldiers repaired to the tipi of one of their mem- 
bers, where they conducted certain ceremonies, as will be noted in a 
later paragraph. 


The lodge with its altar is, so far as the author is aware, never 
molested by the Arapaho, nor by any of the neighboring tribes, and 
remains until it is destroyed by the elements. Inasmuch as the Sun 
Dance camp-circle is generally in an open plain, where good pasture is 
likely to abound, the probabilities are that the altar will sooner or later 
be disturbed by cattle or horses, after the removal of the camp-circle. 
No attempt, however, is made to protect the altar from such possible 
disturbances. (See Plate CVIII.) In three instances permission has 
been given the author to remove the skull and such objects as he 
might desire from the altar and the center-pole. It is also known that 
once or twice one of the priests has preserved the buffalo skull for use in 
future ceremonies. This is due of course to the fact that buffalo skulls 
are no longer plentiful, and are obtained only with great difficulty. 

158 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 


The part which the Dog-soldiers play in the ceremony of the Sun 
Dance has been frequently noted. Perhaps the most important of 
these rites are connected with the ceremonial spying-out, capture, and 
erection of the center-pole. The warrior, who in preceding Sun 
Dances was privileged to lead in this rite, had recently died, and it 
became necessary therefore that upon another Dog-soldier be conferred 
the degree, which should give him the same right or privilege. It has 
also been pointed out in connection with the ceremony of the center- 
pole, that HanatchawatanI and his wife, Hiss^hnihani volunteered their 
services, and it will be remembered that HanatchawdtanI at that time 
carried a pipe filled with tobacco to Nishchanakati, in order that the 
latter might present it to the standing fork. 

HanatchawatanI was privileged to capture the tree, but it became 
necessary that the Dog-soldiers meet and confirm this right. This 
meeting took place on the night of the seventh day of the 1902 per- 
formance, in the lodge of Haniit (Long-Hair), where certain prelimi- 
nary movements were undertaken, after which the Dog-soldiers spent 
the night in singing sacred songs peculiar to their order. On the 
following morning, i. e., on the last day of the Sun Dance ceremony, 
and after the sacrifice of clothing to the altar and center-pole had been 
made, the Dog-soldiers gathered in the lodge of one of their number 
on the northeast side of the camp-circle, where they had a feast, and 
where four of their number were painted, with interesting and instruct- 
ive rites, (See Plate CIX.) At this time Hanatchawdtanl's right to 
officiate in the performance attendant on the capture and erection of 
the center-pole, presumably, was confirmed. The details of this, how- 
ever, were not learned by the author, owing to lack of time. A 
description of the rites performed at that meeting, and of the paint of 
these men, is deferred until another time. 

X.— The Painting of the Dancers. 

For the four days' ceremony, when the dancing occurs, the bodies 
of the dancers are decorated with certain prescribed designs. While 
no satisfactory account of the painting of the dancers has yet been 
obtained, the following brief tale is not without interest in this con- 
nection: "The paintings which the dancers bear during the Sun Dance 
ceremony are derived from Young-Bull (Buffalo). This bull was seen 
on a hill-top during the hot weather fasting for days and nights. One 

Pl. CIX. Dog-soldiers. Eighth Day, 1902. 

Dog-soldier lodge during the rite of conferring the privilege to cut the 
center-pole upon one of their number: On the left is Bufifalo-Bull; in the center, 
White-Buffalo; and on the right, Spotted-Bean. 



May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 159 

day when there was a clear sky and the atmosphere slightly hazy, 
Young-Bull was seen from the distance vomiting the different colors 
in long streaks (white, yellow, green, black, etc.)." 

In describing hereafter the various paints worn by the dancers, 
those worn only on the last three days of the ceremony will be consid- 
ered. These will be spoken of as the second, third, and fourth paint, 
inasmuch as the first or white paint is uniform for all the dancers, and 
has been already described. It may be further added, to avoid confu- 
sion, that the first paint in the 1901 ceremony was worn on the third 
day, in the 1902 ceremony on the fourth day; the second paint in 1901 
was worn on the fourth day, and in 1902 on the fifth day; the third 
paint in 1901 was worn on the fifth day, and in 1902 on the sixth day; 
the fourth paint in 1901 was worn on the sixth day, and in 1902 on the 
seventh day. 


The only paint worn by Biba was on the first day of the ceremony 
proper, i. e., the day of the erection of the lodge. This paint was 
described to the author by Hawkan, but as may be seen by a compari- 
son with the paint in the 1902 performance, the description is not 
quite accurate. Before the priests emerged from the Rabbit-tipi, her 
entire body was painted red by Sosoni and Waanibe. Over this red 
paint and on the center of her breast was painted a circular spot in 
black, about three inches in diameter, which represented the sun. At 
each side of this spot and above and on her chin were painted four 
pipes, representing the prayers which she offered during the ceremony, 
and which, according to Arapaho mythology, are conveyed to the 
Father through the intervention of a ceremonial pipe. Around her 
two wrists and ankles was then painted a single band of black, also 
representing prayers. A black line was then drawn around her face, 
passing just beneath the pipe-stem on the chin, in front of the ears, 
and through the middle of her forehead. This also represented the 
sun. Just between the two eyes was painted a Y-shaped symbol, 
which corresponded to the forked center-pole of the great lodge. On 
her nose was placed a black dot, the symbol of the buffalo calf, and 
on the back of her left shoulder was painted a crescent-shaped symbol, 
representing the moon. The red paint which covered her entire body, 
represented, primarily, the color of the Indian race, but as the earth 
is the mother of all people, it also represented the earth, and in the 
dramatization, Biba represented the earth. 

i6o Field Columbian Museum — Anthropologv, Vol. IV. 


This paint in 1901 was worn by Thihduchhdwkan and Bihata on all 
three days; in 1902 by Niwaat, Wadtanakashi, and Yahiise on all three 
days, by Hitehuu (Little-Crane), on the first day, and by Hathdniseh 
(Lone-Star) and Hin^nwatani on the first and second days. 

Whereas the painting of the other dancers during the ceremony is 
determined either by their own choice, or by that of their particular 
grandfathers, the Lodge-Maker of the ceremony always wears a certain 
paint. Frequently, to add emphasis to and intensify the symbolism 
thus portrayed, the paint is worn by one or more other individuals, 
Bihata being such an one in the ceremony under consideration. A 
description of the Lodge-Maker will therefore suffice for the latter 

The order of procedure followed by the: Lodge-Maker's and 
Bihata's grandfathers in painting them was uniform throughout the 
three days' ceremony. (Fig. i, Plate CX.) After the Lodge-Maker 
had, on each of the three days, received the first or body coat of 
white earth paint, and after it had become thoroughly dried, he knelt 
down in front of the grandfather. The latter then took a moistened 
cloth and erased the white paint at certain places, leaving the flesh 
exposed in the form of a diamond. This was done on the front of 
both upper and lower arms, and on the front of the upper and lower 
legs. A similar but larger diamond-shaped space was then erased in 
the center of the breast. The Lodge-Maker then turned his back to 
the grandfather, who on the right shoulder erased a crescent-shaped 
space. The diamond-shaped spaces were then outlined in black, while a 
black line was also extended around the ankles and around the wrists. 
From each ankle circle a black line was continued up the leg to the first 
diamond-shaped space, and then from its upper apex on to the base 
of the figure on the breast, where it was continued along one side, up 
over the shoulder, and down on the arm to the circular band at the 
wrist, connecting the two diamonds on the arm. The same line was 
then drawn on the other half of the body, beginning at the ankle and 
terminating at the wrist. He now drew a black circle around the face, 
passing over the center of the chin, through the middle of the fore- 
head, and just in front of the ears. The entire face within this 
circle was now painted red, while the nine diamond-shaped figures 
were also painted red. These red surfaces, both on the face and on 
the body, were now outlined and separated from the black line by 
means of a narrow yellow line. 

The Lodge-Maker then placed his back to the grandfather, while 

Pl. ex. Lodge-Maker's Paint. 

Fig. I. Second paint. 
Fig. 2. Third paint, 
f^'g* 3- Fourth paint. 


^^^^^- ^\. 

^'^'"^^'^ '^^"^S^i ^^H 


. f^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^H 

Wk' ^ 



l^f JT fr^ 


PL. CXI. Looqe-Makers, 1901. 

Fig. I. Bihata. 

Fig. 2. Thihduchhdwkan. 

^iffiffSBBSifigy ' 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 161 

the latter filled in the moon symbol with red paint, which was 
then outlined with a narrow yellow line. A black dot was now added 
on the middle of the nose, while under each eye was placed a short 
zigzag line in black. Over the edge of the diamond-shaped figure on 
the breast was then painted in black a small circle, upon which was 
drawn a narrow rectangular design which terminated in a plant-like 
symbol. A somewhat similar symbol was drawn just above the black 
line encircling the face, on the forehead. Both of these symbols 
represented a man standing on the sun, while the designs under the 
eyes represented tears. The design over the forehead is said also to 
represent the buffalo standing on the hill, fasting. The crescent- 
shaped object on the back represented the moon, the various diamond- 
shaped designs representing the sun, while the black lines which 
connect them represented the paths of rays of the sun. 

On this, the second day's paint, the Lodge-Maker wears no head- 
dress, and only a buckskin kilt, with a flannel loin-cloth, about his lower 
extremities. In his right hand he carries a bunch of wild sage. He 
also wore five bunches of sage, in upright position, which were arranged, 
one at either side and slightly in front of the body, while the other 
three were arranged about the back, at equal distances around the 
back of the body. The wearing and arrangement of these five bunches 
of sage has reference to the grass, while the number five is due to the 
fact that man has five fingers and five toes, and also as an acknowl- 
edgement to Man-Above and the Four-Old-Men. 

The paint of the Lodge-Maker for the third and fourth days is 
exactly similar to that described, with this exception, that on the third 
day the face and the diamond-shaped figures and the moon symbol on 
the back are painted yellow, with a red border, while on the fourth 
day these symbols are painted green with a yellow border. (See Figs. 
2, and 3, Plate CX.) Whereas the colored face and diamond-shaped 
symbols on the second day were symbolic of the rising sun, the yellow 
surrounded by the red of the third day typified the overhead sun, or 
daylight in general, while the yellow border of the fourth day typified 
the sun about to set upon the grass-covered earth. The diamond- 
shaped designs are also spoken of as the "eyes of the Sun." 

On these last two days the Lodge-Maker also wears a sage wreath 
about his head, to which is attached an eagle breath-feather extending 
upward, also a few small sprigs of cedar. He also wears wristlets and 
anklets of sage, and the five bundles of sage with eagle breath-feathers 
attached about his body. The bundles of sage for the arms are so 
made, that where the ends of the sage come together they project out 
to the extent of about eight inches. (See Plate CXL) 

1 62 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

The hair of the Lodge-Maker, as well as that of all the other 
dancers during the ceremony, is either loosely braided at the sides or 
is gathered in a bunch on the side of the head and tied with a string. 
(See Fig. i, Plate CXII.) On the two last days the tear symbols under 
the eyes are replaced by inverted Y-shaped designs. The presence 
of these tear symbols, and the change in their character from zigzag 
lines on the second paint to Y-shaped designs with the third and 
fourth paints, was noted with all the other dancers for the ceremonies 
of. both years. 


This paint was worn in 1901 by Henienit (see Fig. 2, Plate CXIL 
and Fig. i, Plate CXIIL), Watanah (see Fig. i, Plate CXIV.), Wadtu, 
and Chaui on all three days; in 1902 it was not represented. 

The "Pink-Calf paint" is second only in importance to that worn 
by the Lodge-Maker. It is uniform throughout the three days, and 
a single description may suffice for the third and for the fourth day, 
(See Fig. i, Plate CXV.) 

After these men had painted the entire surface of their bodies 
red, each one returned to his grandfather, while the paint was still 
moist; the latter drew the finger tips of both hands over the dancer's 
entire body, thus producing a sort of ribbed or grained effect. Both 
hands up to the wrist and both feet up to the ankles were now thickly 
coated with black paint. Then, from both of these black surfaces, 
extending upward on the lower arms and lower legs was drawn a tree 
symbol, consisting of a black line of about six inches in length, from 
each side of which radiated outward and slightly upward short parallel 
lines. This symbol represented the cedar tree, typical of durability 
and continuity. 

On each side of the tree symbol, and having their bases terminating 
in the black paint of the hands and feet, was a small black symbol 
about two inches in height and two inches wide, having straight sides, 
but terminating above in the shape of a crescent. These two symbols 
on the side of the cedar tree represented the earth. Over the breast 
of each dancer was then painted a circle, representing the sun; above 
it was drawn the symbol of a man standing upon the sun, similar to 
that already described as on the breast of the Lodge-Maker. 

Under each eye of the four men were then painted the usual tear 
symbols, while over the forehead were placed two similar symbols 
connected by a black line which extended from one side of the fore- 
head to the other. On the back of the rig^ht shoulder was a moon 
symbol in black. 


PL. CXI I. Dancers, 1901. 

Fig. I. Thih<iuchhdwkan and companion. 
Fig. 2. Niehhinitu and Henignit. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 163 

As noted above, this paint is known as the "Pink-Calf paint," in 
distinction from the "Pink paint" about to be described, inasmuch as 
the paint of the calf is supposed to be lighter in color than that of the 
adult. The paint may be said also to be typical of the color of the 
Indian, while the graining,or the parallel lines made by the fingers of 
the grandfathers over the surface of the body, was said to represent 
the sun's rays. The black feet and arms are typical of the earth and 
are also said to represent the black hoofs of the buffalo. The black 
dot on the nose is symbolic of the buffalo calf. 

While these men carried from time to time during the ceremony, 
as has already been described, a sprig of wild sage in the right hand, 
they wore no sage bands on the head, waist, or ankles, nor did they 
wear at any time the five bunches of sage about the loins. These four 
men throughout the ceremony stood at the eastern end of the line. 
Henienit, however, was distinguished from his companions by standing 
out about two feet in front of the line. The exact significance of this 
was not learned, but it seems to have been due to the ability of his 
grandfather, Waakatdni, to confer upon him a more signal honor; 
for in this position he stood closer to the sun, thereby suffering more, 
and showing his greater earnestness. On the last day of the ceremony 
all of the other dancers sat down to rest from time to time, but 
Heni&nit remained standing in front of the line — "standing out." 


This paint (see Fig. 2, Plate CXV.) was worn in 1901 only by 
Hisehaseh; in 1902 it was not represented. The Pink paint was uni- 
form throughout the three days. The color of its body paint was 
similar to that of the Pink-Calf paint just described, except that it 
was a deeper shade of red. The sun symbol with the man standing 
above it was painted on the breast, as above described, except that on 
Hisehaseh the sun symbol was painted solid black, while he had a 
similar though smaller sun and man symbol just over the black line 
about his face. The left hand as far as the wrist and the right foot 
as far as the ankle were painted in solid black, and the left foot and 
the right hand were similarly painted, but with black. Just above the 
two wrists and the two ankles and extending upward on the arms 'and 
legs, was a zigzag symbol about eight inches in length, terminating in 
'a fork, symbolic of the lightning. The inside of a circular line, 
which was drawn around the face, was painted a deep red, cor- 
responding to the deep red of the left hand and the right foot. Under 
the eyes were drawn the tear symbols, and on the nose the symbol of 
the buffalo calf. Back of the left shoulder w^as a moon symbol in 

164 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

black. The signification of the difference between the two hands and 
the two feet was not thoroughly comprehended. It is claimed, how- 
ever, that the black hand and the black foot were typical of, and 
corresponded to, the two black-painted poles on the south side of the 
lodge, while the red hand and the red foot were typical of, and cor- 
responded to, the two red-painted poles on the north side of the lodge. 

His^haseh wore neither head nor other sage bands, although he 
had the five bunches of sage thrust around his waist, placed as above 
described. Fastened to the scalp, so that it projected upward, was a 
yellow-stained eagle breath-feather, the base of which had been 
painted red. 

During the time of the dancing on the fourth day, His^haseh also 
stood out in front of the line, in a position corresponding to that of 
HeniSnit. He also thereby distinguished himself by being closer to 
the sun, whose observation of the ceremony is on this day supposed 
to be unusually keen. 


This paint was worn in 1901 by Hitantuh (see Fig. 2, Plate 
CXVI.); in 1902 it was worn by Heniait, Hisehaseh, and Naka (White- 
Tail) on three days, and by Hathdniseh and Hin^nwatani (Black-Man) 
on the third day or fourth paint. 

The painting on the second and third days was the same. (See 
Fig. I, Plate CXVII.) The body was painted in solid yellow through- 
out. Both hands and both feet were painted black, while above the 
hands and feet were the zigzag lines, already described, which 
in this case were said to correspond to the serpent represented on 
the Wheel, which, as has been seen, played such a conspicuous 
part in the ceremony. On the breast was the usual sun and 
Man-Above symbol, which was also repeated, though smaller in size, 
above the black line which surrounded the face. Beneath the eyes 
and on the nose were the usual tear and buffalo-calf symbols respect- 
ively. On the back of the left shoulder was the moon symbol in black. 
Fastened to a lock of hair above the forehead, and pointing outward, 
was a long, yellow-stained eagle breath-feather, with a yellow base. 
No sage wreaths were worn on these two days. The five bunches of 
sage, however, were fastened in the waist-band. The paint, as a 
whole, on these two days may properly be characterized as the 
"Yellow-Earth paint." 

On the fourth day, the paint was entirely different from that of 
the second and third days. (See Fig. 2, Plate CXVII.) The body 
was painted a light red, while that part of the face enclosed by the 

PL. CXVI. Dancers. Sixth Day, 1901. 

Fig. I. Hebethengn. 
Fig. 2. Hitantuh. 

, 'V, }^ \ ^ 

.Tnj^q wojjaY 






Pl. CXVII. The Yellow-Earth and the First Yellow Paint. 

Fig. I. Second and third of Yellow-paints. 
Fig. 2. Fourth of Yellow-paints (first). 



PL. CXVIII. Second Yellow Paint. 

Fig. I. Second paint. 
Fig. 2. Third paint. 
Fig. 3. Fourth paint. 

VXO .:q' 

i6<j biiri'I 



May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 165 

circular black line, which extended from the nose to the middle of the 
forehead and around the middle of each cheek, was painted a solid 
deep red. On the breast and on the forehead were the sun and Man- 
Above symbols, the sun symbol in both instances being solid; under 
the eyes and on the nose were the tear and buffalo-calf symbols. Both 
hands and feet were painted black, while extending into the red of the 
arms and of the legs, and taking its origin in the black paint, were 
the symbols of the cedar tree, which has already been described. 
Attached to a lock of hair above the forehead was a red-stained eagle 
breath-feather. On the back of the left shoulder was the usual moon 
symbol in black. As on the other days, no sage wreaths were worn, 
though at his sides and back were the usual five bunches of sage. 


This paint was worn in 1901 by Heb^thenen (see Fig. i, Plate 
CXVl.); in 1902 it was not represented. 

The paint was uniform throughout the three days. (See Fig. 3, 
Plate CXVn. ) The entire body was painted yellow, and both the 
hands and feet were black, above which, and extending into the yellow 
field, were the zigzag lightning or serpent symbols. On the breast 
was painted the sun symbol, upon which was the Man-Above symbol. 
Under each eye and on the nose were the usual tear and buffalo-calf 
symbols, and on the back of the left shoulder was the moon symbol. 
Fastened to the hair over the forehead was a yellow-stained eagl^ 
breath-feather, the base of which was red. At the sides and back 
were the usual five bunches of sage thrust under the girdle. 


This paint was worn in 1901 by Niehhinitu (see Fig. 2, Plate 
CXIV. ) ; in 1902 it was worn by Hit^huu, Hin^nibe (Red Man), 
Hin^nnitu (Howling-Man), and Bikaanichu (Smoking-at-Night), but 
only on the second and third days, or the third and fourth paints. 

Throughout the second and third days the body paint was in solid 
white; on the fourth day it was yellow; the design applied upon the 
body paint varied from day to day. On the forehead, on all three 
days, were the tear symbols, and on the nose the buffalo-calf symbol. 
In spite of the fact, however, that the body is painted white for two 
days, this paint in general is known as the "Yellow paint." 

The additional paint of the second day consisted of two parallel 
rows of black dots (see Fig. i, Plate CXVIIL ), representing (accord- 
ing to one informant) rabbit tracks, which encircled both wrists, both 
ankles, and the face, the latter lines passing just over the eyebrows 

i66 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

and above the chin and across the middle of each cheek. From the 
two rows of dots about the ankles were continued two similar parallel 
rows of black dots up each leg to the middle of the breast, where they 
met. Here the two rows on the left side of the body continued in the 
form of a half-circle, and then passed up on the left shoulder, where 
they ran downward, following the curve of the shoulder, and so passed 
down the arm, terminating in the two rows about the left wrist. 
Similar lines of black parallel dots connected the left ankle with the 
left wrist. A complete circular sun symbol was thus formed upon the 
breast, above which was drawn the symbol for the Man-Above. On 
the back was i)ow traced with two similar rows of black dots, the 
usual crescent-shaped moon symbol. 

On the third day (see Fig. 2, Plate CXVIII.) these two rows of 
black dots were replaced by three parallel rows of red dots, occupying a 
correspondingly similar position on the wrists and ankles and on up 
the arms and legs to the body, and on the breast and on the body. 
The moon symbol on the back of the left shoulder on this day was of 
three rows of red dots. 

On the fourth day (see Fig. 3, Plate CXVIII.), upon a solid 
yellow body ground the three rows of red dots of the third day were 
replaced by four parallel rows of dots in green. To give an idea of 
the closeness of the dots on the body, it may be stated that in each 
of the four.lines surrounding the face were twenty-six dots, and that 
m each of the rows forming the sun symbol on the breast were thirty- 
two dots. The moon symbol on the back of the left shoulder on this 
day was of four rows of green dots. 

On the third and fourth day with this paint were worn a head- 
band, belt, wrist and ankle bands of sage, all being fashioned in the 
usual manner, bound with sinew, containing a sprig of cedar and 
having attached to them an eagle breath-feather. 


Owing to the largely increased number of dancers during the 
ceremony of 1902 over that of the performance of the preceding 
year, not only were new varieties of paints shown not used in the 
previous ceremony, but several combinations of paints were used, 
which made the task of recording the paints for this year an unusually 
severe one. 

For convenience the different paints will be taken up in the order 
given for the previous year, with a description, finally, of the paints 
seen this year for the first time. 



Pl. CXIX. Lodge-Maker, Wearing the Fourth Lodge-Maker's Paint, 1902. 

On the left Wadtanakashi; on the right Niwaat. 

PL. CXX. Second Lodge-Maker's Paint. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Beginning on the left: Hathdniseh, Yahiise, Wadtanakashi, and Niwaat. 



PL. CXXI. Dancers. Fifth Day, 1902. 

On the left, Hin^nwatani; on the right, D^tenin. 



PL. CXXII. Dancers. Fifth Day, 1902. 

On the left, Hinennitu; on the right, Henidit. 

PL. CXXIV. Dancers. Fifth Day, 1902. 

Beginning on the left: Wahubahu, Hin^nwatani, Niehhinitu and Wadtana- 




May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 167 


This paint was naturally worn by the Lodge-Maker, Niwaat, and 
the substitute Lodge-Maker, Waatanakashi (see Plate CXIX. ), and for 
reasons which have already been given, by Yahiise (see Plate CXX.). 
The paint worn by these three individuals was exactly similar to that 
worn by the Lodge-Maker and his companion on the preceding year, 
and hence need not be again described. 

Owing to the fact that the Lodge-Maker's paint is supposed to be 
the easiest and the least arduous of all the paints, and perhaps for 
other reasons, not fully understood, the Lodge-Maker's paint was 
worn on the first day, i.e., the fifth day of the ceremony, by Hitehuu, 
Hathaniseh, and Hinenwatani. (See Fig. i, Plate CXXL ) The two 
last-named dancers also wore the second Lodge-Maker's paint on the 
sixth day. 


The second and third of the paints belonging to the Yellow-Earth 
were worn by Heniait (see Fig. 2, Plate CXXIL), Hisehaseh (see Fig. 
2, Plate CXXIIL), and Naka (see Fig. 4, Plate CXXIV). These 
three individuals, however, with the third, i. e., on the sixth day, bore 
the symbol of the cedar tree on their arms and legs, instead of the 
forked-lightning symbol, as did Hitantu on the preceding year. The 
fourth of the Yellow-Earth paints was borne on the seventh day by 
the three individuals mentioned, and by Hathaniseh and Hinenwatani, 
who, as has been noted, wore on the second and third days the paint 
of the Lodge-Maker. According to Hawkan, those painted by him 
represented the elk, with black feet and a yellow tanned hide. 


There were a number of variations used in this paint in the cere- 
mony of this year which were correctly noted down after considerable 
difficulty. The second day's paint was worn by T^peish (see Fig. i, 
Plate CXXHL) and by Hin^nnitu (see Fig. i, Plate CXXH.), whose 
bodies, however, instead of being painted white were painted yellow, 
while the parallel rows of dots instead of being black were pink. 

The third paint was worn during this performance by Hitehuu, 
Hin^nibe, Hinennitu, and Bikaanichu (see Plate CXXV. ), the painting 
in each instance being exactly similar to that worn by Niehhinitu on 
the preceding year, with the exception that the three parallel rows of 
pink dots were placed upon a yellow body paint, instead of white, as 
in the preceding year. (See Fig. 2, Plate CXXVII. ) 

i68 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

The fourth paint was borne by the four dancers just mentioned 
(see Plate CXXVI.), and also by T^peish (see Fig. i, Plate 

The third paint of Tfipeish (see Plate CXXVIII.), not yet 
described, was in general similar to that of Hin^nnitu on the third 
day. The body paint of TSpeish, however, was yellow, and the 
three rows of parallel dots were black. (See Fig. i, Plate CXXIX.) 
He wore the usual wreath about his head and waist, as well as arm 
bands and ankle bands of sage. 

It remains, before passing to the next kind of paint, to describe 
the second paint of Hin^nibe, Hin^nnitu (see Fig. i, Plate CXXII. ), 
and Bikaanichu, which was also worn by Ddtenin. The body was 
painted yellow throughout, including the face (see Fig. 2, Plate 
CXXIX.). Around the wrists and ankles were painted the usual black 
bands, while on the breast and around the face were drawn circular 
lines. Over the breast and face were placed the two usual Man-Above 
symbols. Connecting the circular bands of the wrists and ankles with 
the circular symbols on the breast were black lines, bounded on each 
side by black dots. On the back of the left shoulder in two parallel 
rows of black dots was a crescent-shaped moon symbol. These dots 
were said to represent the tracks of mice, the intervening line to 
represent the path of a mouse's tail. 

The third and fourth paint of D^tenin, yet to be described, formed 
a decided variation from anything seen up to this time. The entire 
body was yellow. (See Fig. 3, Plate CXXIX.) On the breast and 
around the wrists and ankles were the usual circular bands in black, 
radiating up toward the shoulder; down each arm and down the 
breast, on to within an inch of the ankles, were rudely drawn zigzag 
lines, terminating just above each wrist and above each ankle. At 
the termination of the four lines and crossing the lines at the ankles, 
about two inches above, were drawn crescents in black, the two ends 
of each crescent terminating in a large circular dot in red. Around 
the left half of the face was then placed a single line of black dots, 
while around the right half of the face was a single row of small black 
crosses. On the forehead, and above the sun symbol on the breast, 
were two usual Man-Above symbols. On the nose was the black dot 
or buffalo symbol, and under the two eyes, which were painted red, 
was the tear symbol. Upon the back of the left shoulder was drawn 
the crescent-shaped moon symbol. 

No satisfactory account was obtained of this paint. The zigzag 
lines, however, were said to represent the serpent, while the crescent- 
shaped lines on the arms and wrists were said to represent half-moons. 

PL. CXXVI. Dancers. Seventh Day, 1902. 

On the left, Hit^huu; on the right, Hin^nibe. 



PL. CX)«VII. Dancers. Seventh Day, 1902. 

On the left, His^haseh; on the right, Tgpeish. 



J, -3TP^-V,,#' 


PL. CXXVIII. TIpeish. Seventh Day, 1902. 



soer Ml MHow xiM .xixxo .jq 

.(jn'iBq biiill) riabo : . 

PL. CXXIX. Mixed Paints Worn in 1902, 

Fig. I. Tepeish (third paint). 

Fig. 2. D^tenin and others (second paint). 

Fig. 3. D^tenin and others (third and fourth paints). 

Pl. CXXX. Dancers Wearing Yellowhammer Paint. Fifth Day, 1902. 

In line, beginning on left, are VVahusa, Bessie, and Hinenbai. 

', i\ -,r« , 'i 

V " 




Pl. CXXXI. Second Yellowhammer Paint. Fifth Day, 1902 



PL. CXXXII. Yellowhammer Paint, 1902. 

Fig. I. Tliird paint. 
Fig. 2. Fourth paint. 



PL. CXXXIII. Fourth of Yellowhammer Paint. Seventh Day, 1902. 
On the left, Hin^nbai; on the right, Bessie. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 169 

The red dots terminating the crescents represented pulse-beats. The 
dots and crosses about the face were said to represent sun raj's and 

The costume of this dancer differed somewhat from that worn by 
others on these days. There were, of course, the five usual bunches 
of sage at the waist, but he wore neither the head nor waist band of 
sage, nor the sage wristlets and armlets. Thrust in the scalp-lock and 
standing above the head was a yellow-stained breath-feather. 


This interesting paint, on account of its startling and unusual 
symbolism is said to be very difficult to wear. It was borne on the 
three days by Yahiise, Hinenbai, and Bessie (Wood). (See Plate 
CXXX. ) Niehhinitu (see Fig. 3, Plate CXXIV.) also wore the first 
variety of this paint, but on account of physical weakness was obliged 
to leave the lodge before the end of the day. Had he been able, he 
would have made the fourth to have worn this paint for three days. 

Throughout the three days the entire body was painted yellow. 
(See Plate CXXXII. ) For the second and third paints the hair also 
was painted yellow, the face, hands, and feet, however, being painted 
red. The red face, for the second and third paints, was grained. 
Above and below each eye was a straight black line, while on the nose 
was a black dot. Beginning just at the base of the chin and extending 
slightly down on the breast was a band of green, while just below it 
was a narrow line in blue. At the shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and 
ankles, and on the center of the breast, was painted a large circle in 
solid blue. On the back were painted four green rectangular symbols. 

The third paint (see Fig. i, Plate CXXXII.) differed slightly from 
that just described, inasmuch as the circular symbol on the breast was 
painted in black, while across each of the large blue dots were two 
wary parallel lines, made by drawing two fingers across the dots while 
the paint was still fresh. 

The fourth paint (see Plate CXXXIII.) differed materially from 
the second and third, while the paint of the body remained yellow, 
which now included the face, hands, and feet. (See Fig. 2, Plate 
CXXXII.) Around the face, on the breast, and around the wrists 
and ankles were circular blue lines. Above the circular line on the 
face and on the breast were the usual Man-Above symbols. Connect- 
ing the circular breast symbol with those of the wrists and legs were 
the usual straight lines, passing up over the shoulders and down in 
front of the body. Bordering each side of these lines, including the 
wrist and ankle bands, were rows of small green dots. On the nose 

I70 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

and under the eyes were, respectively, the buffalo and tear symbols. 
On the back of the left shoulder was the crescent-shaped black line, 
bordered on its two sides by blue dots. Sage wreaths for the head, 
waist, wrists, and ankles were worn on this day. 

Concerning the symbolism of the Yellowhammer paint nothing 
was learned about the fourth day. Of the symbolism used for the 
second and third paints, however, the following information was 
obtained : The red face and hands represented the sun, or rather the 
heat of the sun; while the grained effect on the face symbolized the 
heat rays, or perhaps it would be more proper to say that the effect 
represented the effect of fire, i. e., a burnt or charred appearance. 
The various blue circular designs, as well as the blue band around the 
neck, represented the holes in trees, or the nests of the Yellowham- 
mer; they were also said to characterize tipi-rosettes which were 
derived from the sun and moon. The yellowhammer, it was explained, 
controls the fire, and is particularly influenced by the rays of the 
sun. The four rectangular designs in green on the back typify the 
vegetation of the earth in general, and were said to be life-elements, 
being four in number, to correspond to the Four-Old-Men, who were 
directly responsible for the breath of life of all living creatures. 


This paint was worn on all three days by VVahdbahu (see Plate 
CXXXIV.), Chanitoe (see Plate CXXXV.), Hochoawa (Running- 
Crow), Neheheih (Little-Bird), KakUyanake (Scabby-Bull) (see Plate 
CXXXVL), and Watdwateeh (Come-up-HiU). 

The body (see Fig. i, Plate CXXXVIL), including the hair, was 
for the second paint, painted red. Over this on the hair, hands, and 
feet, was painted an additional coat of red, bright in color. In the 
center of the breast and on the joints at the shoulders, elbows, groin, 
knees, and ankles were painted bright red circular spots, surrounded 
with a black line. 

For the third paint (see Fig. 2, Plate CXXXVIL) the body color 
was yellow, the face, hair, hands, and feet being red, as before, with 
the same red circular dots at the same places on the body. 

The fourth paint (see Fig. 3, Plate CXXXVIL) consisted of a 
deep black body ground, grained all over the body with red hands and 
feet, and the red circles at the joints on the breast, as on the two 
preceding days. Hochdawa on this day held in his right hand a black 
eagle-tail feather. 

On all three days, on the back was painted, just over the region 

v.iti'cr the 

PL. CXXXIV. Wahubahu, Wearing Second Circular or Thunder Paint. 
Fifth Day, 1902. ... , 

coat OS red, brj^;;' ■ lucrnvu. <. 

' wver the regw>; 



PL. CXXXV. Chaatani, Wearing Fourth Circular or Thunder Paint. 
Seventh Day, 1902. 



PL. CXXXVI. Kakuyanake, Wearing Fourth Circular or Thunder Paint. 
Seventh Day, 1902. 




•TMiAS naoMUHT «o wuuo«iO .IIVXXXO u<» 

.jnir,q bnoa^S 

jnifiq biidT 

.taisq dtiuo • 

.1 .^ii 

PL. CXXXVII. Circular or Thunder Paint. 

Fig. I. Second paint. 
Fig. 2. Third paint. 
Fig. 3. Fourth paint. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Su?j Dance — Dorsev. 171 

of the kidneys, a large red circular spot outlined in black. With 
the second and third paints were worn head, waist, wrist, and ankle 
bands of sage. In the head bands were eagle breath-feathers, stand- 
ing upright. 

In regard to the symbolism of these three interesting paints it was 
stated that the red spots represented the eyes and nostrils of the 
sun, and also of Young-Bull, while the black dot of the fourth paint 
represented the condition of the dancer as having been consumed by 
fire. Before applying the dots, the grandfather took a bite of root 
and ejected spittle upon the dancer's body where the dots were to be 
applied — "to make them cool." 

Concerning the origin of this Circular or Thunder paint, the fol- 
lowing story was obtained : 


When the Sun Dance was taking place years ago, buffalo being 
plentiful at that time, and the different tribes being on unfriendly 
terms, a young man made a vow for his own benefit, to suspend him- 
self with rawhide rope from the center fork. So on the second day, 
his friends provided articles, such as pieces of calico, parfleches, com- 
forts, etc., for him to lie on. His body was pierced at the breast and 
pins were placed. 

The young man took courage and walked about from one side to 
the other, blowing his bone whistle. The singing was kept up for 
some time, for it was a hard task for the young man to break loose 
from the rope. But he kept dancing and pulled back from time to 
time, until a vision came upon him, which was the Sun Dance, being 
painted as in an actual Sun Dance. He saw these paints at different 
times; and after seeing the last one, which was black paint (Thunder), 
he broke loose. 

The people thought that he had some courage to get through ; at 
the same time they praised him because he did not get discouraged. 
He kept to himself what he had then seen, until another Sun Dance 
was held. At this time he went to the Sun Dance priests and told 
them the circumstances of his piercing, and that he wished to be given 
the privilege of painting himself, on all days, during the ceremony, to 
which the priests consented, while they welcomed the painting as 
another element of life to the tribe. . 

So when the ceremony took place, the first paint was shown, and 
so on the other days. This paint was charming to the spectators and 
to others. 

172 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

After the chief priests and servants saw the new paint they 
thanked the young man and placed his gift on the left side of the 
Lodge-Maker's stand. One of the priests did not like the painting, 
and considered it as a medicine paint, which means, not holy before 
the sight of the Father. In all the Sun Dance ceremonies that took 
place, where this paint was worn, one of the priests was jealous of 
the young man; but in the long run this young man thought best to 
reverence the priest, so he gave up a pony to the jealous priest, so that 
he offered no further objections. 

Those who heard the story of this young man praised him, and at 
once welcomed the paint, which was the same as had been used on the 
young man, for his personal good. 


With all the paints, the dancers wear the five bunches of sage at 
their waist, one on each "corner of the body" and one at the middle 
of the back ; these are for the Four-Old-Men and Man-Above. Why, 
with some paints, sage wreaths are worn, and not with others, is not 
known. Before any of the sage accessions are fastened on the dancers 
by the grandfathers, they motion them before the dancer four times, 
and then place them in position. 

With all paints is worn a black dot on the nose, for the buffalo 
calf, and tear symbols under the eyes. The tear symbols with the 
first paint are short, irregular lines; with the second and third paints 
they are an inverted Y-shape. 

The circles about the waist and ankles, as well as the wrist and 
ankle bands of sage, are symbolic of the Four-Old-Men. On the 
breast and left shoulder are respectively symbols of sun and moon, 
who are grandfather and grandmother of the Four-Old-Men. Above 
the breast sun symbol, or over the face sun symbol is the symbol of 
Man-Above, the Father. This symbol is often found on both breast 
and face, but it should not occur in more than one place, the other 
symbol being that of the cedar. 

XI.— The Relation of the Transferrer to the 
Lodge-Maker's Wife. 

Concerning the subject under discussion on this occasion, great 
difference of opinion evidently exists among the Arapaho as a tribe. 
The following account was written after several conversations with 
Hdwkan on the subject during his stay in Chicago. Supplementary 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 173 

information was also obtained by Cleaver Warden during the winter, 
from an Arapaho named Black-Hand, and from this it would seem 
that actual intercourse between the grandfather of the Lodge-Maker 
and the Lodge-Maker's wife does not take place, although it is admit- 
ted that "the temptation is great." 

In former times, in accordance with the fixed rites of the cere- 
mony, the grandfather of the Lodge-Maker, i. e., the Transferrer, and 
the Lodge-Maker's wife, on the night of the day following the erec- 
tion of the Rabbit-tipi, had intercourse. This usually occurred at or 
shortly after midnight, the chief priest of the ceremony leaving the 
Rabbit-tipi first, and calling out the request that all people remain 
inside of their tipis and that every one be quiet. Then the wife, of 
the Lodge-Maker would leave the Rabbit-tipi with the grandfather, 
who carried with him the ceremonial pipe. Both of them, with the 
woman in the lead, would proceed to the distance of about a hundred 
yards toward the east, where each would offer a prayer, in which both 
emphasized the fact that they were about to do that which had been 
commanded at the time of the origin of the ceremony, and that what 
they were about to do was in keeping with the wish of their Father. 
The woman, naked, would lie down on her back. The Transferrer 
stood by her side and prayed to Man-Above and to the subordinate 
gods for their favor toward all the Arapaho tribe. He then offers her 
body to Man-Above, the Grandfather, the Four-Old-Men, and various 
minor gods. During the act of intercourse, the Transferrer places in 
the woman's mouth a piece of root which he has brought with him 
from the Rabbit-tipi. On the return of the two to the Rabbit-tipi, 
the chief priest would again go outside, and would call out in a loud 
voice, "All go ahead now with your affairs." 

Formerly this rite was also performed on the second night follow- 
ing, i. e., on the night of the completion of the Offerings-lodge, with 
the altar, and occurred before the first dance, but after the dancers 
had entered the lodge. On this occasion they went to the west of the 
lodge a few hundred feet. On their return to the Rabbit-tipi, the 
woman leads, and as they enter she addresses her husband, saying: 
"I have returned, having performed the holy act which was com- 
manded," whereupon he, together with the other dancers, says, 
"Thanks!" and they pray for her succe'ss. 

According to my informant, the Transferrer represents the sacred 
Wheel or AU-Powerful (Man-Above), while the woman represents the 
mother of the tribe. The root placed in her mouth she hands to her 
husband on entering the Rabbit-tipi; it represents the seed or food 
given by the All-Powerful, while the issue of their connection is 

174 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

believed to be the birth of the people hereafter, or an increase in 
population. It is also a plea to all protective powers for their aid and 
care. "If the Transferrer keeps his heart straight and his hands from 
doing evil to the woman, it is a blessing to the people and means an 
increase in population and stock and property. But if the Transferrer's 
conduct is such as to wrong the woman, even in the slightest (the 
temptation being very great) the connection does not benefit the 
people, and moreover, the Transferrer's life would be shortened." 

It is interesting to compare the above statement, based on 
Hdwkan's and Black-Hand's description, with the following account 
of observations which the author actually made during the ceremony of 

Just before the departure from the Rabbit-tipi of the grandfather 
and the wife of the Lodge-Maker, Hawkan turned to the author and 
made a statement something like the following: "You are now to see 
this ceremony (the Sun Dance) for the second time. We have kept 
nothing from you up to the present, and we are anxious that you 
should see the entire ceremony. You, therefore, now have the privi- 
lege of going out with Nishnat^yana, where you will see what actually 
takes place. You will see that, contrary to common belief, there is 
nothing wrong in the rite about to be performed." Thinking it pos- 
sible that some element of the ceremony which the author then wit- 
nessed might have been purposely omitted, he determined to see, 
without the knowledge of the priests, the second performance, which 
took place two nights later. This he did, but the ceremony was in 
every detail similar to the first. A description of a single evening, 
therefore, may suffice: 

It lacked but a few minutes of midnight on the night of the second 
day of the Rabbit-tipi, when one of the Criers was heard outside, com- 
manding the people to be silent and to remain within doors. Imme- 
diately after this announcement the drumming and singing, which had 
been carried on during the evening up to this time by several of the 
warrior societies in different lodges here and there in the camp-circle, 
suddenly ceased. Debithe and Nishnat^yana left the Rabbit-tipi for 
a few moments, soon returning. Presumably the object of this move 
was, that Debithe, who was grandfather for the Lodge-Maker dur- 
ing the ceremony of 1901, might explain to Nishnat^yana the part 
which he was to perform in the approaching rite. The wife of the 
Lodge-Maker left her place behind and to the north of the buffalo 
skull, which was her accustomed place while on the Rabbit-tipi, and 
went over to Debithe, who had been seated on the south side near the 
door. She placed her hands on his head, and uttered a prayer. In a 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 175 

similar position she prayed over Nishchdnakati and Hdwkan, and then 
resumed her position in the circle. Hiwkan took a forked stick and 
placed several live coals to the northwest of the fireplace in the 
open space to the north and east of the buffalo skull. The Lodge- 
Maker, followed by his wife, arose and proceeded in a sunwise circuit 
to a point southwest of the skull, where the Lodge-Maker touched the 
ground with his fingers and took up the straight-pipe. He then sat 
down by the side of Watangaa on the south side of the lodge, with his 
wife outside, Nishnat^yana having taken up a position behind the 
Wheel. Hdwkan put spruce leaves on the coals. He then picked up 
the rattle lying south of the skull, making four passes toward it. All 
in the Rabbit-tipi now bit off a small portion of dog root and began 
chewing on it. Hawkan gave to Nakaash (Sage) some cedar leaves, 
which he placed upon live coals, first having placed the latter on the 
footprint made by the Lodge-Maker and his wife as they passed over 
the first incense in making the circuit to the south side of the lodge. 
Chanitoe took up the pipe-stem and began beating the pack containing 
the badger-hide, in unison to the shaking of the rattle by Hawkan. 
The light inside the lodge was extinguished, and Hawkan, Chanitoe, 
and two or three of the other priests began the sacred Rabbit-tipi song. 

Nishnateyana put on the buffalo robe containing the pieces of 
rabbit-skin with the fur side out, while the wife of the Lodge-Maker 
threw around her a buffalo robe, the fur side out. With this robe 
gathered around her she removed her clothing. Debfthe left the lodge 
a moment and brought in their moccasins, for as has already been 
stated, no one enters the Rabbit-tipi except barefooted. The Lodge- 
Maker took the straight-pipe to the grandfather, proceeding sunwise. 

All preparations for the departure having been made, all remained 
exceedingly quiet, while the second sacred song was sung, there pre- 
vailing in the lodge an air of intense emotion. The grandfather arose, 
holding in his right hand the straight-pipe, the bowl of which pointed 
upward. Followed by the wife of the Lodge-Maker, he left the lodge, 
making a sunwise circuit as they passed out, and stepping over the 
rising incense placed by Nakaash'. Having gained the outside of the 
lodge, they proceeded northward to a point about half-way between 
the lodge and the camp-circle. Here they stood side by side for a 
few moments facing the north and praying. Nishnateyana maintain- 
ing this position, the woman, with an exceedingly rapid movement, 
threw her blanket upon the ground and fell, thus exposing her body 
to the moon. This she did twice, whereupon they started back to the 
Rabbit-lodge, the woman in the lead, tightly enveloped in her buffalo 
robe. In their return, they halted four times. 

176 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

The singing in the Rabbit-tipi had continued. Having approached 
within about a hundred feet of the lodge, the woman called out in a 
loud voice the name of her husband. This she did four times, where- 
upon the Lodge-Maker went out, put his hands on her head, and 
received into his mouth the piece of root from her mouth. He then 
went to the grandfather, and also received from his mouth a piece of 
root. The grandfather taking the lead again, they approached and 
entered the lodge. He then took from him the straight-pipe and pro- 
ceeded to the Rabbit-tipi, which he entered, and remained standing 
near the north door until the singing ceased. He then said, "I have 
brought back the pipe," whereupon all said, "Thanks!" The pipe 
was then placed in its usual position. The Lodge-Maker then went 
to Nakadsh, to Debithe, and Thiyeh, where he placed his two hands 
upon the head of each. He transferred from his mouth to theirs a 
portion of the root, which he had received from his wife and from the 
grandfather outside the lodge. 

This same performance was repeated on the Second night after 
this. The time was again about midnight, on the day of the comple- 
tion of the Offerings-lodge and its accompanying altar. On the return 
of the two began the dancing of the Sun Dance proper. The follow- 
ing observations are from one of my informants: "The grandfather 
spat on the ground five times, beginning at the southeast, then south- 
west, northwest, northeast, and in the center, thus forming a 'wallow. * 
Upon this wallow is spread the buffalo robe of the woman and here 
the intercourse takes place, the woman facing the moon. It repre- 
sents intercourse between sun and moon, bringing strength to the 
people and increase to the tribe, for thus were created the beings of 
the world. 

"The root given and received by the husband, is the seed of the 
grandfather. The straight-pipe is the penis or root of man ; so the 
intercourse happens between the sun and moon for a blessing upon 
the tribe. 

"The grandfather takes the lead in going out of the lodge and 
the wife on returning brings back the word that it was done. The 
husband, hearing the report, gives thanks for the seed, and goes out 
to receive it by kissing her. He chews the root and rubs himself with 
it. The grandfather, being the sun, makes things to grow; and the 
grandchild, being the moon, gives birth to the beings of the world.^* 

It is interesting to compare with the above the following com- 
ments on this rite, obtained from a priest of the Northern Arapaho. 

The wife of the Lodge-Maker is looked upon as the mother of the 
tribe. She ceases to be such when the ceremony is over, after the 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 177 

people hang the children's clothing on the forks and branches. She 
obtains temporal blessings for the people, but has no special relation- 
ship with the tribe. 

The symbolic connection occurs twice, because the people wish 
to reach old age. There is no difference in the manner of the two 
occurrences. The giving away of the wife is from the Old-Man of Day 
to the Old-Man of Night, leaving out two of the four Old-Men. The 
desire of the Lodge-Maker is to live and prosper to old age. When 
the connection takes place the buffalo personifies the moon ; therefore, 
she exposed her body to the moon. Moon was married to the human 
woman, and so the first intercourse happened. The woman gave birth 
to a boy, called Lone-Star, which is the morning star. The wife 
represents the hilman being, Thawwathenennetare — Human Being, or 
Rising (from earth) Person. After she receives the stroke she gives 
birth to human seed, just as Blue-Feather's son was born. Young- 
Buffalo is the son of Blue-Feather; but Splinter-Foot did not have any 
child from Lone-BuTl, for the reason that she was soon taken back. 

The moon is our mother. She gave birth to a lone star, which is 
the morning star. When the sun and moon, then children of heaven 
and earth, courted the creatures below for wives, the moon, being in 
the form of a porcupine, took up the human woman, by means of the 
extension of- a cottonwood. The sun, having succeeded in enticing 
the toad, took it up to the Father. The brother hated the sister-in- 
law on account of her looks and also on account of her habits. The 
suspension of the wife (eloped with the moon) is imitated by the 
piercing and suspending of the dancers. The toad got mad at her 
sister-in-law and jumped to the breast of the moon, and has remained 
there ever since. That is what is seen on the face of the moon. That 
picture, visible to the naked eye, is the flow of the woman. The toad's 
appearance corresponds to that of a pregnant woman. The child 
which went down with the mother remained on earth for a while, and 
then ascended. He is that morning -star following the mother and 
father. The rising of the Morning Star tells the origin of the human 
race. When the grandfather goes out with the woman at night, the 
woman returns with the root, meaning the gift from him. The grand- 
father personifies the sun, and the woman the moon. 

The first menstruation happened with the woman who eloped with 
the moon, by their connection. This flow, or menstruation, means the 
child. For the drinking of blood, note the story of Clotted-Blood. 
The people, men and women, first drank of the blood when Garter- 
Snake received the big Offerings-lodge. That sweet-water is the 
blood that was shed by the woman. That water is made of vegeta- 

178 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol, IV. 

tion. We eat the animals, drink the tea of weeds, herbs, roots, and 
barks of trees, and eat the fruits of all kinds, and thus we have the 
impulse to propagate our kind. 

When the Father (heaven or sky) told the moon (son) that he 
was glad to have a grandchild from his daughter-in-law, it happened 
unexpectedly. "My daughter-in-law, I think it is not wise for you to 
give birth in that way ; so you shall have ten moons in which you shall 
have a birth, so that you may know from the beginning to the final 
occurrence," said the sun; that is to say, from connection to birth. 
The blood shall be followed by a child. There shall be a discharge 
of blood for four days, making one month bloody (left out), then eight 
months counted, as without blood, then the last month (tenth) is very 
bloody; from the small finger of the left hand to that of the right. To 
enable her, she was told, to count her husband (moons) by the fingers. 
So after the flow (one month) the woman counts the moons until the 
ninth month. If she does not have the flow, she then informs her 
husband and mother about it. Then the woman is pregnant. The 
Indians are very fond of boiling the blood of animals to drink, for the 
fact that they are all descended from it. 

XII.— Offerings-Lodge Songs. 

All the songs have similar tunes, in accordance with the noises in 
nature. They come from different persons, who hear them in their 
dreams, but do not see the Offerings-lodge. It is the Lodge-Maker 
who sees the lodge constantly in his dreams, but he seldom hears or 
knows any song. When some one has made a vow for an Offerings- 
lodge, one or two songs are introduced. Some of the songs contain 
words, calling upon some spirits or gods, but most of them are made 
up by the singers. Some of the songs originated from other tribes, 
but they are not harmonious. Those that contain the words arouse 
the feelings of all the people, as well as the dancers. For instance: 

"My Father, my Father, surely I am a different man!" 

"Look down upon me!" 

"The Sun will surely be merciful to us!" 

"The Young-Bull stands still!" 

But the majority of the songs are almost meaningless, or are 
intended to try to divert or distract the attention of the dancers, and 
are of a joking nature. Such are: 

"Old-Turkey, now useless, looks across the lodge!" 

"That short man struck his wife's face secretly!" 

"Secretly, there is good time!" 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 179 

"Turkey, take him home from here!" 
"He is singing, but he is saucy!" 
"You are a darkey, don't smile at me!" 
"Sleep with him, for he is not married!" 
"He smokes twice!" 
"Leave your husband, he is ugly!" 

"That ugly person is trying to sing; he thinks he is a beauty!" 
"The man with a dark complexion laughs at me!" 
Formerly, there were a great many songs with serious words, but 
gradually they have been forgotten. 


No forms of torture have for many years been practiced in con- 
nection with the Offerings-lodge. This is due, not so much to the 
decree of the Indian Department forbidding it, as to the fact that the 
reason for the torture no longer exists. The undergoing of the tor- 
ture on the part of those who were to dance was strictly a rite and 
was only undertaken with the idea of war in view, it being supposed 
that by undergoing this torture they would escape all danger in battle. 

In former times, when torture was practiced, it came on the third 
day of the ceremony, i. e. , on the day of the third paint, or on the day 
following the completion of the lodge and its altar. Those who were 
to undergo torture danced during the other days of the ceremony in 
line with the other dancers. 

The Lodge-Maker never underwent torture. According to my 
informant, there was only one form of torture among the Arapaho. 
By this method the priest inserted two small wooden skewers in the 
breast of the devotee, which were fastened to the ends of a lariat, the 
other ends of which were made fast to the two slits, already 
described, in the buffalo robe in the fork of the center-pole. No 
special paint belonged with torture, the devotee on that day wearing 
the paint which he would have worn otherwise as one of the dancers. 


In connection with torture should be mentioned a custom formerly 
much in vogue, and which to-day is practiced in a ceremonial manner. 
Reference is made to piercing the ears of children by the Sun Dance 
priests. According to the former custom, all children born since the 
erection of the last lodge, or who for any cause whatsoever had not 
before been treated, were brought by the mothers and fathers on the 

i8o Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

afternoon of this the third day, where to the east of and near the 
center-pole their ears were pierced with a porcupine quill, generally 
by the priest, or by others, who from their position were permitted to 

The piercing of the ear typified the striking of the child by a 
lightning bolt, and thereafter it was supposed proof against arrows of 
the enemy in times of war. At the present time children are still 
brought to the center-pole by their parents, who also provide them- 
selves with presents of calico or of a pony, to be given to the priest, 
who now steps up, and taking the child by the ear, makes a motion as 
if to pierce it. According to Hdwkan, this custom of piercing the ears 
at the time of the Sun Dance was learned from the Cheyenne, who 
retain this same custom in a similar form to-day. According to the 
same authority, the ears of the children of the Arapaho were formerly 
pierced by medicine-men, but always in the privacy of the lodge, and 
irrespective of the season of the year." 

Of interest in connection with this statement of Hawkan's is the 
following account of a ceremonial piercing which took place some years 
ago, the story being given as it was obtained from the narrator: 


"The Arapaho think much of their children, from birth to adult 
age. Indian children are brought up 'easily,' and are therefore very 
soft. Young men have their pleasures entirely independent of their 
parents. They are to a certain extent under obligations to attend to 
the ponies for their parents. They have all the time they wish to 
sleep, and they get up whenever they wish. Their parents do not 
disturb their rest. There are some who constantly watch their chil- 
dren in order to make them useful in life. 

"It is told by our grandparents that certain young men were very 
lazy and dirty, and their fathers would criticise them harshly for their 
conduct. These young people finally made up their minds to be great 
in the tribe, so they started out voluntarily in search of 'distant won- 
ders,' after washing and dressing themselves neatly. All these young 
men were the children of the chiefs and well-to-do families, but were 
by nature too lazy to wash themselves or to comb their hair. Some 
of them were of great annoyance to the tribe, and disgraced their 

"In order that the child may be welcome at strange places by 
different tribes; that he, though young, may show his good will toward 
brethren; that he may anticipate going through a battle and receiving 
a wound, his ears are pierced; thus the whole tribe sees him in pain, 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 181 

and hence the remainder of his life shall be in peace and joy. Instead 
of the enemy inflicting a deadly blow, this piercing of the ears answers 
the child's fate. 

"If the young child is unhealthy and of great expense to its 
parents, the father or mother pledge that its ears shall be pierced at 
the time of the Sun Dance, or at a special gathering. 

"There was a Sun Dance, and many other tribes were present 
witnessing the ceremony. The visitors were treated well in the way 
of presents and horses. 

"The man who said that his child was to be 'punished' prepares 
his pony. In the first place, if he himself is not a warrior, he takes 
the pony to a good warrior, who paints the pony as if about to go to 
war; he also indicates wounds on the animal. If the record on the 
pony is a true and clean one, it means good life and prosperity to the 
child. Sometimes the painting on ponies is recognized by distinguished 
warriors. The pony (about to be given away) is led back and loaded 
with all kinds of goods, and the child is dressed in its very best 

"The women (including the mother of the child and other moth- 
ers) supply a whole bed, consisting of mattress (willows fastened 
together), two lean-backs, blankets, beaded bags, painted parfleches, 
pieces of bright calico, weapons, leggings, moccasins, and pillows, and 
take them to the lodge, where the bed is at once erected. 

"All the spectators see the pony and the goods. The father goes 
to one of the criers and tells him to call for Black-Coyote, that Two- 
Babies wants him to pierce the ears of his child. He cries: 'Where 
are you, Black-Coyote? Come forward quickly and pierce this child's 

"Black-Coyote comes with his wife, daughter, and friends, rubbing 
the faces of the people (thereby receiving the gracious gift). Before 
they take the presents, Black-Coyote, if a good warrior, takes the awl, 
and stepping before the singers, tells his war story: 'It was about this 
time of day that we started on the war-path. Being one of the young 
men in the party, I did not have much to say or do, except the necessary 
chores. As we were going along the valley we came upon a human trail. 
Our leader ordered us to stop, and at once detailed the spies to go and 
follow the trail. I was lucky enough to be one of the party. We 
started, four in number, and soon reached fresh tracks, and ahead of 
us there was smoke extending up from a camp-fire. After locating 
the enemy we all started back, feeling happy at the prospect of a fight. 
Just at a short distance from our companions there was a hill. We 
went to this hill and made our ponies go in a zigzag manner, and one 

i82 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

of our men howled like a coyote, which meant that we had spied the 
enemy. They then put on their paint and war costumes and joined us. 
One of our party told our companions the location of the enemy's 
camp. Then we divided equally and charged for the enemy, a good 
run of seven to ten miles. My pony gave out just before we reached 
the enemy, and my companions warned me of a man in the bush. 
"Well, friends, have you struck him?" said I. "No, he is a bad 
one," came the voices. "Thanks! Thanks!" said I. Without listen- 
ing to my companions, I rode into this bush, and just as this man (a 
Pawnee) was in the act of pulling his trigger, I struck him [the sing- 
ers here beat upon the ch-um as he says he struck the enemy] on his 
head with the butt of my gun. Toward the last I got all his horses, 
goods, and food. Brothers and sisters, this is a true story. ' 

"Black-Coyote then advances to the bed where the child is lying, 
the parents holding the child so that he may fight. Black-Coyote takes 
one ear at a time and pierces it with an awl belonging to Two-Babies, 
and inserts a brass ring or stick. 

"After the piercing is done, Black-Coyote's wife takes the pony 
with the bed out of the lodge. Thus the child is saved from delicate 
health or from the enemy's weapon. (The ear-piercing is also a 
token of love to the child on the part of the parents, and of good will 
on the part of the child, to all other tribes of Indians.)" 


Having even a more remote bearing on the descriptive account of 
the Sun Dance are the two accounts which here follow, but both relate 
to certain phases of sacrifice, which idea is prominent in the Sun 
Dance and for this reason it has seemed not entirely inappropriate to 
append them. Both accounts are given as obtained from the inter- 
preter : 

When any member in the family is taken severely ill suddenly, 

one of his relatives makes a vow in the presence of the family. He 
says to them: "In order that my brother may get well soon let it be 
known to all spirits that early in the morning 1 shall cut seven pieces 
from my skin, and in lieu of my brother I will bury them." 

This sick brother, in the mean time, is being attended to by one 
or more medicine-men. He feels that his own brother thinks of him, 
and takes courage. Those who heard the vow may express sympathy 
for the stricken brother. The medicine-men work on the sick man 
the remainder of the night. 

During the night the one who made the secret vow, goes to some 
one and tells him the circumstances of the trouble and kindly asks 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 183 

him his services in the morning. The "auxiliary" prepares himself 
for the task. Just before the sun rises the one who made the vow, or 
the "pledger," goes to the auxiliary, and he knowing the object, gets 
up quickly and dresses himself. He takes up his pipe and tobacco 
pouch. Both walk out from the camp-circle, or beyond the village 
limits, each praying that their sacrifice may be heard and conveyed to 
the Sun. 

The auxiliary fills the pipe with tobacco and lays it in front of 
them. While the pledger has an awl and sharp knife in readiness, he 
prays to the rising sun, saying: "We are meek and lowly in this 
earth; do not know your holy wishes this day; your children have 
taught us to do this; we hope that you will extend your sympathy and 
protection. We know not how to pray to you and to the other sacred 
beings, so please be merciful to us individually, and above all, when 
you (Sun) have risen to give light to this earth, let your ray of light 
shine upon this sick brother! Instead of leaving him in intense pain, 
please come to him with all your mighty power and remove it. We 
request you to help us in our daily lives and cause your light to reach 
us that we may see the 'right road,' that our children may be blessed 
and grow rapidly, like young birds, and live to be old men and women. 
Send us plenty of rain for vegetation and please watch us closely, that 
we may not slide ! We are under obligations to call for your assist- 
ance, my Grandfather (Sun), on behalf of the sick man. Extend your 
rays to him, so that he may get well!" 

The auxiliary then takes the sharp knife and awl and advances to 
the pledger. Both face the east, to meet the rising sun. Just as the 
first rays of light come out from the heat of the sun, the auxiliary, by 
thrusting the awl with his left hand, slightly raises the skin from the 
flesh, and with his right hand cuts the skin with a knife. He hands 
each piece to the pledger, who holds it in his outstretched palm. The 
auxiliary continues until he has cut seven pieces of skin, all being 
given to the pledger. 

The auxiliary cleans a place in front of them and digs a small hole 
or "ditch." The pledger then says in behalf of the sick man: "Now 
these are seven pieces of my skin, which I do hope all of you Super- 
natural-Beings and Spirits will take, to the end that my dear brother 
may recover. So all look this way! Here in this hole I bury them." 
The pledger goes through the motion of cleansing his hands by rub- 
bing them together, while the auxiliary covers the skin. The burying 
is done before the edge of the sun is seen above the horizon. The 
auxiliary then lights his pipe and points the stem to the rising sun and 
smokes it with reverence. He points the same to the east, then over- 

184 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

head, and to the west, passes the pipe to the pledger, and after both 
have smoked the pipe, it is cleaned. 

Thus the sick man is saved in offering this sacrifice. Both men 
return to their own tipis. The auxiliary is compensated for his ser- 
vices the same as the medicine man. 

The pieces of skin are sacrificed to the temporal spirits in the 
presence of the Sun that they may save the man from death. The 
man buries his own skin in preference to allowing his brother to go 
under ground. The seven pieces of skin are food to the spirits; 
hence, if they accept them, this sick man recovers. There are many 
different figures cut on the skin in these tortures, such as a cross or star, 
a pipe, and various straight lines, indicating the number in families. 

The above tortures are practiced when the Indians are in trouble. 


The tribe had been on a buffalo hunt; therefore, all had plenty of 
meat. The women felt happy when they had heard that the camp was ^ 
to remain for several days, for this gave them aipple time to dry and 
tan the hides. Different organizations of men were having their 
rehearsals at different parts of the camp-circle. The children were' 
playing within the circle very quietly. The warriors (as is their duty) 
had their best horses staked out near by the tipi, in case of emer- 
gency; their war weapons were hung on the lean-backs. The women, 
knowing that at any time they might be attacked by the enemy, had 
arranged things in order, but kept on with their usual work. There 
were no sentinels around the camp-circle; but all young men were 
supposed to be on the alert. Generally, they are out late at night, 
dancing with their companies. Some of course are out courting the 
young women. In many instances, the tribe is saved from being 
massacred because the young men are continually going from one 
tipi to another. 

One night a man named Powder-Face ordered a feast prepared, 
and directed the Crier to invite the Lime-Crazy society to come over 
to his tipi for a smoke. The old man went out, walking around 
within the camp-circle, and cried: "Come over to Powder-Face's tipi 
now! You are invited to smoke and eat food. All the members of 
this lodge are invited, and those head men of' this lodge who desire 
to be present will please come!" The tipi was large, but was filled 
up soon. 

Before there was any question before the society, there were 
many jokes and hints directed toward the head men, and they, too, 
would make jokes at their brothers. (When the head men are 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 185 

selected, the feeling of brotherly love is established, therefore they 
address each other as brothers. ) 

After the company had eaten the food and enjoyed themselves, 
Powder-Face said to them: "Now, my brothers, we have had a 
delightful time. I am sorry that some of the principal head men are 
not here with us to discuss an important matter, but I hope they will 
come soon. We know that our parents love us dearly, that many of 
you have families, that some of you own many horses, and further- 
more, you do not like to leave your handsome tipis and your pretty 
wives. But, my dear brothers, you have attained to the right age to 
become great men, and we have a splendid chance to distinguish our- 
selves in order that our names may be known and remembered here- 
after. It is true that your own parents would not permit some of you 
to go, but let me say to you again. When are you going to be men 
among your people? If the whole tribe has nothing but 'home-cow- 
ards,' who is to face the enemy and protect the children? I want all 
of you, brothers, to think and decide what is best. You are to die 
some day. Would you rather suffer by some disease, or be killed for 
the sake of your lands and people? I, for my part, wish to make a 
name, and I know that my dear Young-Chief will agree with my propo- 
sition. He, too, wants to become a good warrior. See his wounds! 
Look at him, my brothers ! He is inspired by my advice. I know by 
his actions that he will go along! Will you go, , Young-Chief?" "Oh, 
yes, I will start with you any time," said he. While Powder-Face was 
talking, his companion would fill the pipe which was being smoked. 

"Now, listen, brothers. Who will venture to carry a pipe for a 
war-party, to start to-morrow?" said the head man, Powder-Face. 
There was no answer from the society, so he put the same question 
again. "Well, since there is no one to carry a pipe for a war-party, 
and because I am getting tired of staying at home, I will take it, and 
I hope Powder- Face will come along with some of you, brothers," said 
Young-Chief. "Good! Good! Young-Chief! I had intended to 
start out and call you for a companion, but I thought I would call our 
brothers, to get a war-party to start out from the camp-circle, ' ' said 

Many men volunteered to go along. Thus, a war-party was made 
up. The head men who were present spoke some encouraging words 
to the men. "Well, since the occasion has been a pleasant one, and 
my friend Young-Chief has volunteered to carry the (war) pipe, and 
the party is made up, I want all of you who are going along to get 
ready to-night, and all to come over early in the morning. We will 
all start together, and follow my friend Young-Chief. Do you think 

i86» Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

I had better hold my peace?" said Powder-Face. "Oh, no! What- 
ever you say to them, I agree with you, and I do hope that to-morrow 
will come soon," said Young-Chief. 

"Well, let us have some war songs ("Comanche songs"), devise 
some means to meet the enemy, and tell the Crier to call for some 
women to help us in singing," said Young-Chief to Powder-Face. The 
head men and young men started with their songs, while the old man 
cried, stating that Young-Chief, together with his companion, would 
start to-morrow on the war-path against the Utes, that it was neces- 
sary to have women to come over and help in the singing. 

Small drums were provided and men and women were enjoying 
themselves that night. Many old men sang their songs, encouraging 
the party. It was very late in the night when the people ceased. 

Early in the morning the young men of the Lime-Crazy society 
went over to Powder-Face's tipi, mounted on their best horses in full 
war costume, i. e., having their war weapons with them. Some rode 
good, fat ponies and led their best running horses. The people were 
also up early, and were standing by their tipis, some of them on hill- ■* 
tops, watching the war-party collecting at Powder- Face's tipi. There 
was singing by the old people as the men started off. Hairy-Face,, 
the wife of Young-Chief, and Powder-Face led the party out toward 
the Ute country. 

As soon as the party started off, Hairy-Face, the wife of Young- 
Chief, made a vow that she would have her left finger cut off in order 
that her husband might be victorious and return home safe. 

A few days after the party had gone, Hairy-Face went to a 
middle-aged woman, who was well known for her ability to perform 
operations of this kind on the fingers, and told her that she had vowed 
a "secret" and wished to get rid of it, in order that she might save 
her husband. The woman set a time for the operation, which was at 
noonday. She took Hairy-Face to a good open place, where buffalo 
grass grew thickly, and both sat down facing south, toward the sun. 
Then the woman who was to perform the operation prayed: "Please 
listen to me, Grandfather (Sun)! This woman comes before you to 
offer her last finger as a sacrifice to the Supernatural-Beings and other 
gods, that her husband, who has just started out in search of the 
enemy, may come home safe, and that the party that he takes out may 
return to us, all happy, and that her desire for them to win a big vic- 
tory may be fulfilled. So please, Grandfather, help me to do my work 
successfully that this sacrifice be a pleasing sight to you and food to 
the earthly spirits! Be merciful to us and protect us women from 
dangers in the world ! 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 187 

"Now since this is the way that our grandmothers used to do in 
respect and reverence to your daily light, I will now take this knife, 
root, and tobacco, and perform this operation. Let it not be painful, 
and let the finger heal quickly!" 

The woman then bit off a piece of root, chewed it, and spat upon 
the finger. She then marked a ring around the finger with the pipe- 
stem. She called a woman to assist her to hold the arm steady, while 
she took the small finger of the left hand, and with her right hand 
cut it off. After the finger had bled a while, she placed a piece of 
tobacco against the end to stop the bleeding and pain. A fat piece 
of tallow was then placed over the tobacco and finger, and tightly 
wrapped, the bandage remaining until the finger healed. Then the 
woman lifted the piece of the finger which she had cut off upwards to 
the Sun; then buried it in the ground for the pledger (Hairy-Face). 

Both returned to the tipi, feeling much relieved after the painful 
occasion; but said it was for the good of the war party. Thus the 
man was saved. 

After a long time the war-party returned, parading through the 
camp-circle, inside and outside, in full war costume. Young-Chief and 
Powder-Face led the parade, showing that they had each struck one 
or two men in the fight. The rest of the men returned unhurt, but 
their horses were shot down. Some of them came home as famous 
warriors, bringing horses and goods for their folks. Quite a number 
took scalps from the Utes. 

After their return there were scalp dances all night for some days. 
Those who didn't go along were rebuked by the people. 

Some years afterwards, Powder-Face and Young-Chief were 
wounded so that the people often coaxed them to stay at home when 
a war-party was going out, but they both always went along. Young- 
Chief was shot and killed by hay-makers near Fort Riley, Kansas, 
while Powder-Face was frozen to death in Oklahoma seventeen years 
ago. Both were leading chiefs at one time, and their names are still, 
spoken of to this day. 

XIV.— CHILDREN'S Games During the Sun Dance 


In connection with the more serious rites of the great Sun Dance 
ceremony occur many interesting minor events among the people at 
large in the camp-circle, who are not personally connected with the 
ceremony. The presence of the entire tribe in one camp naturally 

i88 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV, 

furnishes favorable opportunity for certain games and amusements, 
which opportunity is heightened by the prevalence of much religious 
fervor on the part of many, and of a feeling of good-natured fellow- 
ship on the part of all. While these games and amusements have no 
direct, or at best only an indirect, connection with the ceremony 
proper, yet the following accounts of some of the sports of children 
are deemed worthy of reproduction in this place. All the accounts 
are recorded as related by the Indians themselves. 

When there is a full moon the children within the camp-circle 
gather together for various amusements. They are permitted to 
indulge in such amusements when they have reached the age of seven 
years, and then on until they are fourteen. Generally the older ones 
watch over and direct the games; for they are supposed to know 
exactly what is to be done. There may be an indefinite number of 
players. If some of them are unruly, the crowd disperses; or if the 
crowd gets too noisy near the old folks' tipi, or any of the Water- 
Pouring people, they are ordered off. 


The children (boys and girls) sit in a row, the feet placed forward, 
looking towards the boys and girls (any number) selected to carry 
them to another place. The children who sit in a row sing thus: 
"Come over this way! Come over this way!" They at the same 
time move their feet in order to be touched by the "Carriers." 

The Carriers then start off in search of those who were singing 
for "help." They of course pretend to be blind, and therefore, 
naturally will instantly walk toward the singers. The singing is 
kept up in a high pitch, the Carriers going to touch them with 
their feet. As each singer is touched, he ceases singing, and prepares 
to be carried off. The Carriers then pick him up with head upwards 
or downwards and take him to a place of safety. 

When the Carrier reaches the place of safety, he unloads his 
burden. The above course is followed until all the children are 
carried off except one who is called the "victim." This last one 
keeps singing, "Come over this way!" As the children are unloaded 
they are deposited in a row, where they sit in silence. 

The minute there is but one left at the starting-place the song 
ceases. Any of the Carriers then go for the victim ("the gift from 
the spirit") and bring it (boy or girl) to the row of children. This 
child, "victim," is supposed to be dead buffalo, and is laid in the 
center of the row, on the children's legs. It is then beaten by the 
children with their hands, while they say in their song (to them- 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 189 

selves): "Here is my marrow in the bone! Oh! Here is my marrow 
in the bone!" The song is exciting toward the last part, to attract 
the giver of the food, i. e., the spirit. 

After the children have selected their parts on the person (buffalo), 
they regard it the same as a blessing for future prospects in the family 
they belong to. They then get up and chase each other around. Then 
some will play at leap-frog, while the rest sit down on the ground 
and chat, making love, or telling stories. The last person is the buf- 
alo, which is brought to the people for food. 

During the Sun Dance ceremony, or at the beginning of the dance, 
the rawhide corresponds to the victim, and is thought of as the bless- 
ing given by the Father, and thus is received by the people. 

Just as the children beat the last one for choice of marrow in the 
bone, so with the singers upon the rawhide. The singing and the 
beating upon the drum dramatized the food or buffaloes, just as the 
thunder does. When there is a voice from the thunder, the people 
stir about, and naturally seek for shelter. The cry of the singers 
upon the arrival of the rawhide answers to the voice from the thunder; 
so in this respect, it is for the tribal blessing as received. 

•The singing and dancing then go on, thus showing the gratitude 
of the people. It is also a prayer to the Father for future care and 
protection. Some pray that their sins be cleansed, while others wish 
for longevity and prosperity. In all, it is a general good time — 
grievances are forgotten, pains are relieved, sorrows in bereaved 
families are wiped away, and there is a wish that good-will be estab- 
lished with the white people. 


After going through the first play, as just explained, they lie 
down on their backs, facing or looking at the stars in the heavens. 
Two or four of the children (the oldest ones) pass in single file behind 
the heads of the other children, and each asks the boy or girl who his 
relatives are; i. e., these boys or girls question each other in the line, 
at the same time touching the center of the forehead of the one 
addressed. Thus, one asks, "Who is your father?" The answer is, 
e. g., "Big-Mouth." The next one asks, "Who is your mother?" and 
receives the answer, "Bitchea, " and they continue, "Who is your 
grandfather?" "Two-Babies." "Who is your grandmother?" 
"Shave-Head." "Who is your uncle?" "Spotted-Corn." "Who is 
your brother?" "Lone-Man." "Who is your sister?" "Star- 
Woman." "Who is your nephew?" "One-Dog." "Who is your 

190 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

niece?" "Turtle-Woman." "Who is your cousin?" "Running- 
Much." "Who is your friend?" "Killing-with-the-Stick," etc. 

The above questions are used during the play. Then, after they 
have completed the first act, they go back and begin questioning the 
children's choice of trees: "What kind of tree do you belong to?" 
"Cedar." "What kind of tree do you belong to?" "Willow." 
"What kind of tree do you belong to?" "Cottonwood." "What 
kind of tree do you belong to?" "Redwood." "What kind of tree 
do you belong to?" "Oak." "What kind of tree do you belong to?" 
"Hickory." "What kind of tree do you belong to?" "Black- 
jack," etc. 

After this is done they go along the line again, and begin lifting 
the children, one by one, until all have risen from the ground. The 
boys and girls, lying on the ground, stretch their bodies perfectly 
straight when the others lift or raise them from the ground. If they 
hold their bodies rigid, their future prospects are considered good, but 
if not they are considered worthless. The latter has reference to 
those who do not take part in the ceremonies. Each child does his 
best to play well ; for the mysterious powers are supposed to watoh 

After this play is acted, then comes the game of Grandmother 
against Wolf. One of the largest girls is selected to be the grand- 
mother, and a large boy is selected for the wolf. All the boys and 
girls are in a long line, all clinging to the grandmother by holding 
each other tightly. The boy (wolf) catches the grandmother and 
wrestles with her, and at the same time tries to catch one of the chil- 
dren for food, but the grandmother protects each one of them by 
fighting the wolf. If the grandmother throws the wolf down it is a 
victory over all enemies, but if not, somebody in the war-party gets 

The children may now continue in other kinds of games. 

When the Indians have formed a camp-circle, the children are 
likely to get lost by playing away from home. Usually, the different 
bands camp together to avoid confusion. If the Indians have not 
gathered for some time, and the children grow up men and women, 
the other people do not know them. So this play of asking who is 
your father, etc., is of value. Any child could answer similar ques- 
tions on other occasions. Also the selections of the grandfathers by 
the Sun Dancers, etc., are initiated. 

In regard to the kind of trees, it will be noticed that cedar, red- 
wood, and Cottonwood are mentioned. These trees are used in the 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 191 

altar where the Pledger stands during the ceremony. The rest of 
the trees mentioned are used for firewood or other useful purposes. 


When the boys are playing on a sand-bar, they make a small 
mound, and then with their elbows they make a hollow place on top 
of it. Then they kneel down over this small mound and urinate into 
the hollow place. After the water has soaked in the "sand-bowl" 
they take it with the right hand and throw it up in the air toward the 
sun, saying, "Sun, you may have this for your drum." It drops and 
breaks into pieces. When the boys throw the sand-bowls up in the 
air they try to get away, because when the sand-bowls light on the 
ground, they break and scatter in various directions. 

This is done by the young men to prevent disease. The young 
boys play according to this method, when they get older they cease 
doing it. 

When the children are swimming they sometimes plaster the right 
toe with some clay and then carry it across, swimming on the back 
and holding the foot up out of the water. If the water is deep, they 
have to keep the foot with the clay out of the water in order to "save 
their grandchildren." The foot represents an old man or an old 
woman, while the clay represents a child. If the clay is washed away 
from the foot, the "child is drowned." In other words, the future 
prospects of the child are indefinite. 

After they get through with the play, they go on the bank and 
select a small white cloud in the sky. They swing both hands to and 
fro, occasionally looking at the cloud, saying, loudly, "An elk with a 
pointed vulva," until the cloud vanishes. The sentence is repeated 
by the child or children until the cloud vanishes out of sight; by this 
time the body of the bather has become perfectly dry. 

XV.— Sun Dance Myths. 


At one time there was a deluge on the face of the earth. A man 
with something in his arms was seen for four days and nights walking 
around on the water. 

One time, as he was wandering and thinking of this solitary habi- 
tation and also planning secretly how he could preserve his pipe, 
which was somewhat flat, he said, weeping, "Here I am alone with my 

192 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

pipe. What shall I do to save it? For I do love it; besides, it is my 
sole companion." At times this man would fast in order to know 
what was best to be done, or to get an idea of something. During 
fasting he gradually got acquainted with small objects. For six days 
he walked around on the surface, carrying the Flat-Pipe on his left 
arm, weeping at the top of his voice. 

On the evening of the sixth day, after he had fasted, he said, 
looking around as far as. his eyes could reach: "This Flat-Pipe is just 
and upright and a good counselor, I do wish that there would be a 
land where I could keep it holy and reverently. Yes, to have a true 
and peaceable companion excels, therefore a good piece of land is 
necessary. Since I have been fasting with this Flat-Pipe, I have 
come to the definite conclusion that for its safety to the end, instead 
of being alone, there should be an earth with inhabitants, creatures of 
every description. I hope this desire may become a reality." That 
night he again walked around on the water in deep thought and at 
times wept for good results. ' The water was calm and there was a 
gentle breeze from all directions. 

On the morning of the seventh day he came to a resting-place on 
the water. "Well! There should be an earth for this Fiat-Pipe t^o 
live on. He is my sole companion, who has been just and upright 
with me; therefore, I shall see if it can be done," said he, bracing up, 
and with much spirit and command. 

So he stood off to a place in the northwest, carrying his Flat-Pipe, 
and coughing a little to clear his throat, with a loud voice (as Hdcheni 
does when announcing the lodge): "Hea — ! People! Hea — ! 
People! Hea — ! People! Come, all of you! Come and make 
an attempt to search for earth!" He then walked off to another place, 
lifted up his head a little, looking very far, took a deep breath of air 
and cried with a loud voice. "Hea — ! Hea — ! Hea — ! Come all of 
youl Come over and make an attempt to search for earth!" This 
was the announcement to the northeast to beings (birds and animals). 
Again he walked to the southeast, coughing a little to clear his throat, 
stopped, standing firmly, and lifted up his head and looked a great 
distance, took a deep breath and cried with a loud voice, "Hea — ! 
Hea — ! Hea — ! Come, all of you! Come over and make an attempt 
to search for earth!" 

After each announcement at the places specified, there were 
returns of "thanks" from the distant waters. "May they come with 
great blessing and peace and good-will!" said he, as he walked off to 
the southwest. He stopped, took a solid stand (like a foundation), 
coughed a little to clear his throat, lifted his head, drawing in a deep 

Mav, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 193 

breath, and cried with a loud voice, "Hea — ! Hea — ! Hea — ! Come, 
all of you! Come over and make an attempt to search for earth!" 
and he returned to his original place. 

Then the man said, "Let there be, at short distance from me, 
seven cottonwood trees of medium height and size!" at the same time 
taking a deep breath, and looking off over the water. After he had 
thus commanded, there were seven cottonwood trees standing upright, 
being healthy in appearance. 

He then returned to his original place, when there came forth 
birds of every kind with songs of praises, and reptiles of every kind, 
at the same time enjoying themselves in being assembled. They 
lighted on the tops of the trees, chirping and fluttering in the 
branches. The reptiles, of course, swam to the gathering, and they, 
too, uttered their voices of gratitude. 

"Now listen to me attentively and think of it seriously," said he, 
moving a little and with a great deal of dignity. "Since you have 
come from different quarters of the horizon, it is probable that some 
of you might know where the land is located. I am unable to locate it, 
nor have 1 any idea of the land. So please, I do wish all of you would 
inform me of any piece of land that you may know of, so I can be 
satisfied," said he, looking up toward the trees and around him. 

"Say, I think I know exactly where it is, for I have heard abgut 
it," said the turtle. "Keep quiet," said he, slightly touching him at 
the knee. 

The birds were chirping on the branches relative to the question 
and the reptiles were in solemn thought and occasionally made sharp 
noises among them. 

Finally, there came an answer from the turtle, that he had heard 
of it beneath the deep waters. The others of greater faculty did not 
have any idea of the land being under the waters, so they were greatly 
astonished at the turtle's answer. All expressed their full gratitude 
to the turtle. 

"Now listen to me! Who can dive in the water and search for 
the bottom of it? I am sure that some of you are able to accomplish 
the task, for you have the strength," said he, looking around the 
interesting crowd. "Say! I will dive first and try to find the bot- 
tom," said a little fowl (a bird with long, slender bill, rather short 
body, long, thin legs, with feathers white from neck to stomach. ) 
"Oh, pshaw! I can beat him in diving," said another water-fowl. 
"Say, partner, be quiet, let him do it himself; they selected him to 
do the task," said another water-fowl, wiggling briskly. So the 
first little water-fowl advanced for orders. The owner of the Flat- 

194 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol, IV. 

Pipe then said with a loud voice, "You may all know that Turnstone 
will now dive in search of the bottom of the ocean, for our benefit," 
The people (animals and others), were standing with anxiety to see 
the results. So the bird straightened its head, fluttered its wings and 
dived, leaving circular ripples on the surface. All the rest were of 
course delighted to see the first attempt, and really put confidence 
in the bird for good results. Just after the sun had risen, this 
little water-fowl was seen floating on the surface near the gathering. 
"Well! Well! Here comes the errand boy, and now we shall hear 
rhe report," said the man, moving his head a little. "I cannot find 
a trace of it. It is quite deep, therefore I could not go farther," 
said the bird, breathing just a little, as its stomach was well loaded. 
"You may all know that he has returned and reported that the water 
is very deep, and he saw no trace of the land," said the man. It 
being a very important undertaking, there was quite a dispute among 
the people for another errand or messenger (this means that a man is 
appointed for an important duty). Finally there came forth two water- 
fowls, with the same features and size, and took a proud stand before 
the owner of the pipe. "That is the way to feel, and in the long run 
you will accomplish a great task," said the man to the young men 
(water-fowls). "Now it is my duty to give notice. You people may 
know that these two young men will now dive in search of the bottom. 
Let us all be united in our prayers for their success," said he, in manly 
voice and with great gesture. So they took deep breaths and dived, 
leaving ripples on the surface. For two days these two young men 
were absent. Just after the sun had risen the young men came up, 
floating on the surface. "Well, here come those young braves, and 
now we -shall know this day the results," said the man. "We cannot 
see any signs of land. The water is very deep," said the fowls. 
These fowls were both exhausted, and their stomachs were quite full 
of water. 

"You all may hear that these two young men have returned and 
reported that there are no signs of land and the water is still very 
deep," said he, coughing a little to attract attention, and at the same 
time looking around the people. Many others ventured to undertake 
the perilous task, but careful selections were made. After due con- 
sideration among the people, three water-fowls, among which was the 
kingfisher, were appointed, who came forth and stood proudly before 
the man. "Yes, boys, if you continue with your energy, great joy 
may follow. I am feeling very proud of your ambition," said the 
man, smacking his lips together. "You may all know that three 
young men will now dive in search of land," said he, with much spirit 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 195 

and clear voice. The people were in their respective places convers- 
ing, and were in deep thought with the young men. The birds of 
every species had then begun building their nests in the cottonwood 
trees, and others made homes in such a way around the man. These 
three water-fowls then dived, leaving ripples on the surface and were 
absent for three days. Just after the sun had risen there came out to 
the surface from below these water-fowls. Each made an effort to 
become conscious by breathing all the air that surrounded them. 
"Well! Well! Here they come, finally, and now we shall hear the 
report, so please tell me what encouraging news you have," said the 
man. "We cannot find any signs of land, for we have gone to a con- 
siderable depth, and still the water gets deeper," said they, in weak 

"You may all know that these young men have arrived and 
reported that they have seen no sign of land, and the water gets 
deeper," said the man, turning his face to the interested crowd. All 
the people dropped their heads in deep thought, and conversed freely 
relative to the great task. After considerable argument among 
them, there came forth the otter, beaver, packed bird, and garter- 
snake, who stood before the man. These people had been appointed 
and ordered to come forward. "Good! Good! It is the desire that 
great deeds may be done by some young people. There is no reason 
why you cannot do much good to your people," said he, as he care- 
fully moved his Flat-Pipe and looked all around with sympathetic 
appearance. "You may all know that our young men will now dive 
in search for land for our benefit," said he, swallowing his saliva, 
which gave a sound as though a stone were dropped in the water. So 
these young men lifted their heads, raised their hands, uttered a word 
of prayer, then dived and were absent for four days. After the sun 
had risen these young men returned, each floating on the surface close 
to the gathering. "Well, here they come back, bearing good expres- 
sions. Now we get the best results to-day, for these men have excel- 
lent characters," said he, with signs of faith. All the people responded 
to the gathering to hear the news and there was tranquillity in the 
crowd. "We cannot find any signs of land, although we went to a 
considerable depth," said they. "Yes, I think positively that there 
is no bottom, for I cannot feel the impulse for success," said the 
beaver, with signs of despair. At the above remark there was a great 
stir among the people, and the birds and water animals chatted with 
much emotion. 

The people then selected men of greater strength for the next trial. 
Finally there came forth five young men well built, and stood before 

196 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

the man. In this party there was a black snake, two kinds of clucks, 
a goose, and a crane. "Yes, I have thought many times that an 
ambitious heart does more good than a poor one. You men are physi- 
cally strong, and I hope that in spite of the perilous duty before ^ou, 
you may succeed," said he, winking his eyes and glancing at the 
crowd. "You may all know that these young men will now dive for 
our benefit," said the man. So they all looked around, threw out their 
deep chests, wiggled, closed their eyes, and dived in search of land. 
The people, after seeing the water ripples left by them, wondered 
whether or not they would be successful this time. For five days 
these short, but healthy-looking young men were absent from their 
companions. After the sun had risen these five young men had 
returned. Each one was floating on the surface, breathing rather 
hard from exhaustion. "Well! Well! Here they come, and we are 
sure to have a good report this time," said he, looking at his Flat- 
Pipe. "We cannot find any signs of land, although we went together 
and were gone very deep, still the water looked green," said they, 
looking very tired. Straightening himself, the man said, encourag- 
ingly to the people, "You may all know that these young men have 
returned and reported that they saw no speck of land, but that there 
is a continuous green appearance to the water." Again there was 
quite a stir among the people, and all conversed upon the subject. So 
finally, after they had a. talk and decided, there came word from them 
that an appointment was uncertain this time, for all those who had 
strength and flight had failed. 

"Say, can I make an attempt alone?" said the turtle, secretly to 
the man. "Hush! I want all of them to search for it," said he, in 
low voice. While the turtle had gone back to its place, which was 
close to the man, he advanced a little and said to the people, who 
were still talking and singing for better results, "Well! Since you all 
have failed to make good selections to-day, I think that on behalf of 
my Pipe and for ourselves, it is a wise proposition for all to seek for 
the land. So I want all of you to come forward and make a dive 
around me and bring a good report, ' ' said the man, in a clear and manly 
voice. So all the birds, reptiles, and others came close, with much 
delight, each expressing a desire to accomplish the task. "For the 
good welfare and prosperity of my Pipe, I pray you all to seek dili- 
gently for the land and I will await for the results," said he, looking 
at the turtle, which meant that the turtle was to remain with him. So 
every one then took deep breaths and glanced at each other. All at 
once they dived for the bottom of the water. After they had dived 
simultaneously, there were pretty ripples left on the surface; each 

May, 19C3. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 197 

made a circular one. The man with the Pipe and the turtle were the 
only ones left to witness the return. For six days there was a deep 
calm over the water. During the absence of these animals, the man 
with the Pipe bowed his head and listened attentively, and winked his 
eyes softly, and at times coughed a little to attract the attention of the 
turtle. Some of them returned to the surface in one day, some in two 
days, some in three days, some in four days, some in five days, and a 
very few on the morning of the sixth day. The sun had risen and it 
was nearly noon when all had returned, when the man said to them, 
"You have been gone in search of land for days and nights and 
returned by parties, and since this is an important affair I would like 
to know if there is any prospect to-day," said he, as he straightened 
his position with the Pipe. There was no answer from any particular 
one, but all answered that there was no sign of land underneath. "I 
do not think that thece is any land underneath." "Yet, if there was 
a land under the water one of us would surely have found it, but there 
is none." "Yet we may have gone by a wrong course." "Maybe, 
we all came back a little distance from it." These were sentences 
spoken by some of the thoughtful ones. 

"Now, people, since you have failed to find the land underneath 
this water, and in view of the fact that I have such a good companion 
and desire to place it on solid earth, I wish to inform you that I will 
seek for it, that Turtle will accompany me. I do hope all of you will 
remain on this spot and await for our return. In the mean time you 
can enjoy yourselves, and be on the lookout all the time. On the 
seventh day I want all of you to be contented and patiently await for 
my return. Watch the spots where we dive with good desires and 
faith." (This man knew where the land was, for he was a part of it, 
but for the good he had called every fowl of the air and animal in the 
water to search for it. ) The people who had gathered around him 
listened with respect and honor and each prayed with great reverence. 
"Now, people, watch us carefully and bear in your minds to watch 
patiently on the seventh day," said he, moving a little to one side. 

So this man took his Flat- Pipe carefully from his left arm and 
embraced himself with it, first to the left shoulder, then to the right 
shoulder, then back to the left, then to the right, and lastly to his 
breast. At this fifth time, the Flat-Pipe became his body, i. e., it 
adhered to him in the center, having turned into a red-head duck. 
"Now, partner, get ready," said he. "Come with me," said he, as 
he dived easily, the turtle doing the same. 

There was a big ripple on the surface where they left, and the 
people wondered at it. There were quite a good many comments 

198 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

exchanged among them, but at the same time all were in one thought. 
For days and nights the red-head duck and turtle were gone, and 
there was a deep calm over the water. Even among the birds and 
reptiles, etc., there was tranquillity. They bowed their heads, listened 
attentively, and watched the spots mentioned. The seventh day 
came, and in the early morning there were no signs of their return. 
In spite of their having no signs that morning, the birds who had built 
nests on the trees and others sang songs of praises and exchanged 
words of cheer, prancing around and enjoying the gentle breeze, and 
in general, peace prevailed. For a whole day they watched with 
anxiety at the deserted spots, until just as the sun was about to set in 
the west, there came bubbles on the surface of the water. The 
people, seeing the appearance of the water, gathered close together 
and gazed at one particular spot. Finally there came out to the sur- 
face greater bubbles, after which the red-head duck stuck his head out 
from the surface, shook it, and snorted a little. Swimming gracefully 
before the rest, the duck gradually got back to its original place, 
while at this time there came out another sign of bubbles; from them 
a turtle was seen floating on the surface with spread feet, looking to 
the man. 

The moment "the red-head duck returned to its original place on 
th^ water, there was a man again, with the Pipe, awaiting the arrival 
of the turtle. This turtle, swimming to the man, grunted a little from 
exhaustion and stood near the man. On their arrival there was great 
rejoicing and thanksgiving. Each brought a small piece of clay for a 
specimen, but they went after it and brought it to the people. (This 
has reference to the two sods in the Sun Dance lodge). • The owner 
of the Flat-Pipe then said to the turtle, '*Come over and let me see 
how much of the clay you have brought," at the same time opening its 
palms. This man (Hinawaye, Arapaho) gathered pieces of clay from 
the lines of the palms of the red-head duck, just as from the human 
hand, for the duck was a part of the human being. "Take mine from 
my sides (at the feet or legs), and you can tell better," said the turtle, 
stretching its legs. So this man gathered the small pieces from the 
turtle, compared them, and found them of equal size and weight.' 

This man then placed the two heaps of clay upon his pipe and 
spread it in thin layers. Taking his pipe, he lifted it easily from 
him and held it to let the clay get thoroughly dry. While he was 

' The sods varied in size in the biglod^e. In regrard to those standing in a row at the altar, 
they represented a grove of timber with a spring or lake behind it. The ditch is a path. The 
Lodge-Maker stands there and receives the lesson from the grandfather. In other words, he is 
traveling the same road that the first man had trodden. From that road all the ceremonial 
performances in the Oflerings-lodge are conducted. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 199 

holding his pipe in the air, he bowed his head reverently, and at the 
same time looked at the clay to see if it was getting dry. Whenever 
he looked up to see the clay he would then bow his head, closing his 
eyes, for then he was in deep thought. Finally, the clay was per- 
fectly dried and was very clean. It did not seem to blow away. This 
man then scraped it together into a heap and protected it frona the 

"Now, people, listen to me. I want all of you to watch me. 
Wherever you shall be, remember that you saw me do this (that is, 
create the earth); whenever you shall undertake to do anything, 
remember this; and above all, remember me in everything," said this 

"Please watch me closely that you may follow my footsteps aright," 
said he, straightening himself, together with his Flat-Pipe, and clear- 
ing his voice. So, facing to th^ southeast, the man then took a small 
heap of this dried clay and held it carefully. With manly voice he 
sang four songs which are similar to those used in the Rabbit-tipi and 
Offerings-lodge. "Now, people, will you please watch, and follow the 
course of this dried clay as far as your eyes can reach," said he. So 
this man with his right hand gave a diving motion, holding the clay at 
his finger tips and letting it go, saying, "See it go far!" The dry land 
was made in one big strip, which the people saw extended to a great 

Then he took another small heap of this dried clay, faced the 
southwest, held the clay up in the air, carefully sang four songs with 
clear voice, and said with much spirit, "People, look at the course of 
this small heap of clay as far as your eyes can reach!" With his right 
hand he gave a diving motion, and the dry land was made in a big 
strip, which was clean and broad. 

Again he took from the Flat-Pipe a small piece of clay and held 
it carefully in the air, singing four songs with great emotion. "Peo- 
ple! I want all of you to watch the course of this small heap of clay 
as far as your eyes can reach," said he, breathing lightly. Facing to 
the northwest, he gave a diving motion which formed a big stretch of 
dry land. The land was clean and broad in its appearance. 

Then he turned to the northeast and stood still for a little while, 
gathering the remainder of the dried clay. He again took the small 
heap of dried clay and held it carefully in the air. "Now all of you 
people, I want you to watch the course of this clay just as far as your 
eyes can reach," said he, winking a little. While he was holding it, 
he sang four songs with greater spirit and expression, and then with 
a diving motion of the hand he let it go. During the time that he was 

200 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

performing this work, he would raise his hand in the air with his finger 
spread and pray with it (rub it on his forehead). Thus the earth was 

He then sat down on the dry land and carefully laid his Flat-Pipe 
on the ground, facing the sunrise. The placing of the clay at the 
fifth time was made by the Flat-Pipe, and that is when he sat down. 

After the earth was made with every living creature, there was 
great rejoicing and thanksgiving for some time. So great was the 
Flat-Pipe that all kinds of birds and animals came to it and saw it. 
This man who preated the earth sat silently by his Flat-Pipe, and in 
deep thought. 

At this time, this man awaitfcd with his Flat-Pipe to complete the 
creation. So Turtle stepped up before him and said, "Since there is 
no one that will make the first choice, please take and accept me. I 
want to tell you that I am a harmless creature, slow to anger, have a 
quiet disposition, and am very charitable. Again, may I tell you that 
I want to represent the earth in such a way, and also that my name 
will mean, to cleanse the sick, to comfort the bereaved, and to paint." 
(The Arapaho term for turtle is, to paint — blood-egg, or blood-stain). 
All the others heard that the turtle had made the best choice of life, 
and this perhaps set them to thinking. Then said the man, "All you 
people have heard Turtle's remarks to-day, and I am glad that he has 
made a wise choice; it is very acceptable to me. And in view of the 
facts brought out for our benefit, his whole body shall represent the 
creation or earth with all things; that is to say, the markings on 
the back of Turtle shall represent a path, its four legs typifying the four 
Old Men or Watchmen ; its legs or feet shall be somewhat red ; by its 
shield are represented mountain ranges and rivers. Look at Turtle 
closely, and you will see that it contains the fulfillment of the desires 
requested." So the turtle was placed with Flat-Pipe. 

Then said Kit-Fox, standing conspicuous in solemn attitude: 
"Since I am very pretty and charming, and have very quick actions, 
and since my fur is soft, I desire to place myself next to Flat-Pipe — 
may it be acceptable to you. I wish to live long on the earth, and 
that people may respect and honor me. If the people should take my 
body and offer it for their sacrifices to you, I request that, if it be 
pleasing to you, you may look upon them and give them four hills or 
divides of life." "All of you people have heard Kit- Fox's choice, 
and it is a very good one and touching," said the man. So the body 
was placed along the side of the Flat-Pipe. 

Said Otter-Weed (Yiayanakshi, Fourth-Day-Lodge): "Well, I 
am very anxious to be a partner with the Flat-Pipe, although I am a 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 201 

low creature. Nevertheless, I desire to be used by him as a cleaning 
or packing stick, for my whole body is solid, even at my joints. I 
wish to say further, I am very quiet and amicable in company; besides, 
I am very genial and good-natured." "All of you people have heard 
of the desire of Otter- Weed. You have heard his remarks, which are 
very good and acceptable to me," said the man. So Otter-Weed was 
then placed with the Flat-Pipe. 

Now Cat-Tail, or Tallow-Weed, said: "Well, how about me? You 
may know that my entire body is solid and of a healthy glow, besides 
bearing a soft and generous heart. I am very fond of company and 
ready to take the last of everything (that is the reason why the cat- 
tail stands a little distance from the spring), and in all, kind to 
others." "All you people have heard Cat-tail's remarks, which are 
very good and acceptable to me. Although there is one already, it 
can be permitted for good," said the man. So Tallow-Weed was then 
placed together with Otter-Weed.' 

Then said White-Buffalo: "Well, I cannot help but show myself, 
for I am meek and humble. Please take and accept my request that 
I may live long in happiness and prosperity. You may know that I 
am very quiet and peaceable, besides, have a benevolent disposition. 
Now in order that I may never be forgotten — and furthermore, I desire 
to be useful in every way — I want to ask that my body may be utilized 
as a robe; that in urgent cases I desire to be provident; that if people 
should take my body for sacrifice they rnay be pleased to remember 
me, and give four hills of life; that my body can at any time be used 
in making a cap, belt, arm bands, knee-bands, pairs of moccasins; 
and above all, I wish that I may be used on all occasions." (This 
animal made a good selection or choice for the future, and since that 
time, its body has become quite useful among the Indians.) "You all 
have heard distinctly the kindly remarks of White-Buffalo. As far as 
I can see, his desires are very good and acceptable to me," said the 
man, looking at his Flat-Pipe. So the white-buffalo robe was then 
placed with the Flat-Pipe. 

Said the eagle: "Well, I wish to be included in this affair, for 
which I come to give to the Flat-Pipe two of my wing-feathers — the 
very last one at the shoulder — and hope sincerely that they will be 
accepted. You see yourself, man, that my body (feathers) is pure and 
holy. Therefore, I desire that my two corner wing-feathers be used 
as 'combs,' so that my father (Flat-Pipe) can scratch his head with 
them instead of with his fingers," said the eagle. "All of you have 
heard those wise remarks of the eagle, which are good and plain, and 

' This explains why there are two messengers at the Rabbit-tipi and at other lodges. 

203 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

acceptable to me," said the man. So the eagle wing-feathers were 
then placed with the Flat-Pipe. 

Then said Garter-Snake (Henegei, At-the-Arrow), as he looked 
up with tears in his eyes and with pitiable appearance: "Having 
thought the former choices over and over, I cannot help but make 
this plea, which I do hope may be pleasing and acceptable to all. 
Furthermore, I am very low in spirit, and I desire to place myself away 
from harm and violence. You may know that I am very innocent and 
delicate in every way, I have a very faithful disposition and am ener- 
getic in my ways and reverent toward my neighbors. So, on behalf 
of these people, I want to make this proposition openly, and with a 
view to the future welfare of all, that instead of fasting seven days 
for thq. accomplishment, the time of fasting and offering of prayers be 
limited to four days. Furthermore, it will be easier all around and 
more care and greater respect will be paid to the Flat-Pipe. I also 
request that 1 may be given what is necessary for all concerned, and 
that I shall bear all things for the universe. I repeat again that I 
desire to be located away from harm, and be a circumference of the 
earth. Please accept my earnest plea, to the end that I may survive 
through eternity," "All the people have heard the remarkable 
request of Garter-Snake, relative to future prospects, which are good 
and promising. They meet with my approval, for they contain bene- 
ficial ideas and at the same time point to solid matters which eventu- 
ally shall be our temporal blessings," said the man, as he took a good 
glance at the earth and its people. Garter-Snake was then placed 
with the Flat-Pipe. During the time that this young man, Garter- 
Snake, was asking for future blessings, there was great silence, and 
when he got through, they responded in unison, with prayers, asking 
that his wishes be granted. The young man, Garter-Snake, had gone 
for four days in search of land, and failed to get to it, but seeing that 
this "fast" of seven days meant good things, he decided to request 
the method, which was granted. 

"Now, people, I wish to tell you that I am quite finished with my 
work, so I wish you would wait patiently until I get ready, so that you 
can see for yourselves," said the man. So he took the corner wing- 
feather of the eagle (hathii, onward, or chief weapon) and pointing it 
toward the southeast he motioned it toward the west, thus forming 
mountain ranges. "This is the way the rivers should run," said he. 
He then motioned the feather several times to the east. He then 
motioned again with the feather, making the rivers to run westward. 
After this act, because of the mountains, there were beautiful land- 
scapes, and because of the rivers, fertile valleys with trees having 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 203 

green foliage, afld in fact the earth was clothed with an abundance of 
grass. After he saw what he had made, he was much pleased with the 

While this man was preparing for another important matter, there 
came Nih'a"Qa° with a staff. The people knew him and called him 
Nih'a"9a", Bitter-Man, from the fact that he reached the gathering to- 
ward the last part of the creation, carrying a cane, such as a leader uses. 

"Well, I have just arrived, for I didn't hear of the gathering. 
Nevertheless, I am glad to be here. Is the creation of the earth with 
all the essential parts finished? If not, I would like to make a plea, 
although all things may have been mentioned," said he, still panting 
and in restless attitude. "Oh, no, the gathering is not over yet, and 
I am still placing objects for guidance in the future," said the man. 
"Say, Man, can I have a word in the matter, subject to your approval?" 
said Nih'a"(pa". "It will be all right for you to give your views, but 
everything is taken or occupied," said the man. At this time the 
man repeated what position each man had chosen, his usefulness, 
etc. Nih'a"9a", seeing this man doing wonderful acts with the feather 
as a pointer, was fascinated with the power. When White-Man had 
just arrived and stood resting on his staff before the man, he was 
asked of the article and its meaning. "This is my staff (hagada, 
payment for service),' it is made of the cat's tail, only I have bent it 
at the top for a handle," said White-Man, taking occasional breaths 
through his nostrils. "Well, since others have made their choices, 
and no doubt they are worthy, but being quite late, I want to tell you 
that my sincere desire would be to have the understanding, intelli- 
gence, and wisdom to make and think of things, and that I desire to 
have a share of this land which has recently been made," said he, 
looking around with sharp eyes and signs of energy. "I saw you 
motioning the mountains and rivers with that wing-feather, and those 
things were actually made. In view of the fact that I desire the abil- 
ity of doing things, may I lift my staff and motion for mountains and 
rivers?" said Nih'a"<pa°. "All of you may know that Nih'a"9a" has 
arrived and makes the earnest plea for wisdom and a share of this 
land. We are aiming for the good and it is a good proposition, so it 
meets with my approval," said the man. So Nih'a^^a" was told to 
make the motion for more mountains and rivers, if he desired. With- 
out further plea, he lifted his staff and motioned in every direction, 
forming hills and creeks of all sizes. All the people stood murmuring 
against him, for they were much amazed at the choice. 

• From this can be better understood why the grandfathers obtain payments from others for 
being teachers 

204 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

*'Now, people, I want all of you to watch and listen to me that 
you may do these things in your favor and to lighten your footsteps. 
On behalf of my Flat-Pipe, I want to say that there will be four paints 
scattered and be sure that you know them perfectly," said he, as he 
glanced at the Flat-Pipe. So this man then took up a small heap of 
earth, and said, with strong voice, "This shall be the black paint 
(wahtapa, dark blood)," throwing it with a diving motion of the hand, 
thus locating one Old-Man. Taking another small heap of earth, he 
said, with strong voice, "This shall be a yellow paint (nehwana, 
growing blood)," throwing it with diving motion of the iiand, thus 
locating another Old-Man. Taking another small heap of earth, he 
said with strong voice, "This shall be the red paint (hinawu, man's 
blood)," throwing it with a diving motion of the hand, thus locating 
another Old-Man. Taking another small heap of earth, he said, with 
a strong voice, "This shall be the green paint (nagawthinash, eagle- 
feather arm)," throwing it with a diving motion of the hand, thus 
locating the fourth Old-Man. At the same time the paints were placed 
at these cardinal points; thus were night, day, summer, and winter 

"Now, people, come closer and see how I am going to do for 
your sake," said he to all around. So he took up some cottonwood 
pith (thoksa, boiling-hide, an expression for brittle), and threw it 
into the water. This pith of course sank into the water when thrown, 
but came up quickly to the surface of the water. "This is the way all 
of you people shall live on this earth," said the man, in solemn voice. 
All the people saw it come up to the surface and thanked him for the 
decision, but there was no answer from Nih'a"<;;a". 

Nih'a"(pa", stepping closer to the man, requested that he might 
say a word relative to the life hereafter. "Well, let me know what 
your ideas are for life hereafter, and the people can hear you plainly," 
said the man, looking down at the ground with sympathetic expression. 
"Say, the earth is not very large. I think, that if we should increase 
rapidly, there would be no room for the rest, therefore another propo- 
sition might be better," said Nih'a"(;;a", with eyes rolling briskly. 
"Well, let us hear the proposition, and we will think about it," said 
the man. So Nih'a^^a" got a pebble, and threw it into the water, 
and it sank for good. "That is the way life should be hereafter," 
said he. "All you people have heard distinctly of Nih'a"9a"'s 
remarks relative to the life, and it is a plain one," said he, with low 
but manly voice. 

"Now, since you have requested a share of this earth, I shall make 
another one at another place for you. Beyond this there will be an 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 205 

ocean, which will separate us," said the man. So this man took a 
handful of earth and threw it hard across the ocean and said, "Wherever 
this earth shall light let there be an earth like this one for Nih'a"9a"!" 
still sitting with his Flat-Pipe. The people conversed with each 
other in one tongue, i.e., the various kinds of birds and water animals 
upon the new earth. "Now, people, remember this as long as you 
shall live upon this earth, and I wish to say yet, that Garter-Snake will 
be your comfort and aid in the future. So now I will proceed to do a 
favor for you," said the man, glancing at his Flat-Pipe. 

"Come over here, Garter-Snake, and sit down close to me, so 
that you can see what is to come," said the man. Many people came 
and offered themselves as material for the Wheel, but many were indi- 
rectly unsatisfactory. One young man, Long-Stick, a bush that has 
a slender body, with dark red bark, and very flexible, came up and 
said, "Since this occasion is for future good, I therefore come to offer 
my entire body for a circumference of the Wheel. You may know 
that I am very quiet and inclined to go out and do good. So please 
accept my earnest plea, so that my name may live a long time." The 
offer was accepted and Long-Stick was made into a ring for the Wheel. 

Said the eagle, stretching its broad wings: "I am a bird of great 
flight and besides my body is pure and holy. It is spotless in appear- 
ance. You may know that I have strength and power. In view of 
the facts above-mentioned, I desire to be used for symbols of the 
Old-Men, and that my whole body may be utilized at all sacred rituals. 
If the people should take feathers from me and give them to you for 
honor and respect, please remember me and give them a helping hand." 
"You may know that this man has this day requested faithfully that his 
body be allowed to be used for various purposes, being more especially 
anxious to be attached to the Garter-Snake (the Wheel)," said the 
man. So the eagle feathers were tied in four bunches and laid by the 
side of the Wheel. 

After the Wheel was nicely shaped, this man in the usual method, 
painted it, and placed the Four-Old-Men at the four cardinal points. 
Not only were these Old-Men being located on the Wheel, but also the 
morning star (cross); a collection of stars sitting together, perhaps 
the Pleiades ; the evening star ( Lone-Star) ; chain of stars, seven buffalo 
bulls; five stars called a "hand," and a chain of stars, which is the 
lance; a circular group of seven stars overhead, called the "old- 
camp"; the sun, moon, and Milky Way.' 

'Sun means " snow eye," while moon means "night eye.'' The path mentioned is that 
streak which is made across the water in the wooden bowl, also in the center of the skull. The road 
which the rest of the things bear is the ditch in front of the buffalo skull. 

In regard to the two paints on the tallow, it is said that red paint was the starting-point 

2o6 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

Since there were four distinct paints laid down by the man, two 
of them were used in order that good may be obtained in the future, 
i. e., not doing the things beyond the natural law or commandments. 
Thus, the Wheel was completed and given to Garter-Snake, and he 
was very happy to be an emblem to the people. 

Then said Badger, "I am very anxious to be taken in and to be 
allowed a privilege in the affair. I want to tell you that it is my sin?- 
cere desire to be used as material for the undertaking. You may 
know that I am always on the alert during the night, and my ways are 
such that they are pleasant; besides, I have strength and endurance 
against evil. Oh, yes, my habits are meek and humble, and therefore 
I come forward that you may accept my plea." "All of you people 
have heard the badger's desire, and I am in sympathy with the request, 
so you know that its body. can be used," said the man to Garter-Snake. 

Said the Cottonwood: "Since this undertaking is for the general 
good, I respectfully request that I may be used as the framework. 
You may know that I am always happy, for the fact that I grow 
rapidly and am very clean. I am meek in my ways and always ready 
to do much good." "You may all know that this young man before 
us makes this earnest plea, and it is quite satisfactory to me," said the 
man. So this young man was accepted, and his entire body distributed 
properly and widely. 

Said Cedar-Tree: "May I be taken and accepted without the 
slightest objection, for I am very faithful and full of vigor. No matter 
how embarrassing it may be, I am contented to stand solid in my 
ways. You may know that I am always happy, and ever delighted 
with everything that makes life sweet. My whole body is pure and 
everlasting, so please, I desire to be used as material." "All of you 
have heard of Cedar-Tree's desire. In view of the facts stated by 
him, I fully concur with him," said the man to Garter-Snake. So 
Cedar-Tree was then taken. Its usefulness was stated and it was laid 
with the rest. 

Said Willow: "Since there is not one at present to make the next 
choice, I wish to make this request: That I may be permitted to be 
used as a part of the material. You may all know that I am just and 
upright and ready to respond and have a good feeling toward every- 
body. I think that I should be allowed for the fact that I am a gener- 

being on the right side, while black paint was placed on the left, making a division for bad and 
good. The object of placing the red paint on the right side is to symboTize the fact that the head of 
the garter-snake protects from injury, as does also the right hand: the right hand represents blood- 
shed or war, for it strikes for protection. When we have temptations to do wrong we use the right 
hand for bad deeds, etc. The hind part of the snake is harmless; it means peace, etc. The black 
paint is an emblem of peace and good-will. It typifies innocence and brotherly love among the 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 207 

ous creature and want company all the time. " "You all may know that 
this young man has requested earnestly before us to be used in the 
occasion, and his statements are justifiable and benevolent," said the 
owner of the Flat-Pipe. So Willow was then placed with the res^ at 
the proper seat, and its usefulness pointed out. 

Said Red-Bush: "Well, seeing what is going on, and fully under- 
standing the object of this gathering, I cannot help but step forward 
and make this plea: First, I want to tell you I am an honest man and 
full of compassion, besides, my whole body is healthy and I have a 
happy glow in my face. So please take and accept me." "You have 
just recently listened to this young man's desire, and as his reputation 
and character are so good and clean, it meets with my approval," said 
the man. So Red-Bush was then placed at the proper position, and 
its usefulness stated. (It is used for tipi breastpins, tipi stake-pins, 

Said Water-Grass: "Say, please take me and accept my body for 
material on this occasion. You may know that I am all right, faithful 
in my ways, and reverent with everything. I have a very peaceable 
disposition and am inclined to do good." "You may know that this 
young man makes this plea to us, and in view of his statements, it 
agrees with me. He is just in his thoughts," said the man. 

Said Rabbit- Weeds, in unison: "Well, we cannot help but step 
forward and make this request before you: We desire to be used on 
the occasion. We are good people, with kind deeds and good actions. 
We are so fond of everything that we want to be conspicuous, in order 
to be known widely, so please take us, and accept our earnest desires." 
"You people, listen to me! Having heard the ambitious remarks of 
these young men, and considering their idea, I am in harmony with 
them," said the man. So Rabbit- Weeds were then placed with the 
rest, in their proper position. 

Said Rabbit: "Yes, all of my friends have made their choice for 
one or more purposes, so, seeing that nearly all the places are being 
occupied, I come forward to make this plea, which I do hope you will 
grant: You may know that I am innocent, gentle in many ways, soft 
in my words, happy in company and elsewhere, and in every possible 
way intend to give kind and sympathizing advice. Furthermore, my 
entire body is clean and soft, yet strong. So, please, I "desire to be 
used throughout the occasion, so that my name will be remembered 
eternally and that I may be a useful companion." "All of you people 
have heard this young man's remarks, which contain many good 
points; therefore I fully conform to his desire. He shall be a great 
comfort and an adviser for days to come," said the man. 

2o8 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

The eagle and white buffalo, seeing the people engaged in the 
interesting undertaking, and in view of the valuable lessons outlined 
and previously given, requested for good points or for better usage, 
and again requested that they, too, be taken in and accepted in the 
occasion. Each repeated the same words they gave to the man at one 
occasion. "You may all know that the eagle and white buffalo have 
again expressed their desire to be used as the material of the occasion. 
In view of their thoughts, I am fully agreed with them," said the man, 
looking at Garter-Snake. Thus the whole thing was directed and 
made holy, with all the care and much thought. 

After the earth was fully made, with the animal kingdom and 
vegetation, the man who had floated for days and nights on the water 
made an image of a woman for a companion, and breathed life into her. 

Having lived together for some time, enjoying natural resources, 
the owner of the Flat-Pipe decided that they should have a child to 
live with them. So one day, while they were out wandering and view- 
ing the beautiful land, the man again made a clay image of a boy 
child, and put life into him. 

For some reason, this boy became sick and became very thin in 
flesh. Since the father and mother were fond of the boy and did not 
like to lose to him, the father made a vow that a Sun Dance lodge 
should be erected for the resurrection of the sick boy. The mother 
thanked her husband for the kind deed. 

So one bright morning the owner of the Flat-Pipe started off, 
stopping at four different places, and announced it with a loud cry to all 
the birds and beasts, who were very much pleased at the undertaking. 
In the course of time the sick boy was made whole and gave thanks 
for his recovery. 

All the various species of birds and beasts of every kind then con- 
gregated for the ceremony. The whole lodge was prepared and put 
up by the man and wife, aided by the birds and beasts. This lodge 
lasted four days and nights. When it was over, it gave quite a good 
deal of satisfaction to all, besides healing the boy. 

The owner of the Flat-Pipe, with his wife, were the "Givers" or 
pledgers, for the benefit of their boy. 

Time lapsed and the man and wife with their boy multiplied, thus 
forming a big camp-circle. In one family there was a boy who was 
suddenly taken ill, and gradually sank. Since he was the only child, 
his father went to the owner of the Flat-Pipe and requested that a 
similar lodge be put up immediately for the benefit of the sick boy. 
The owner of the Flat-Pipe responded in good manner and tone, say- 
ing that the pledger had done what was just and upright. So the whole 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsev. 209" 

camp moved into another place and formed in a circle. The owner 
of the Flat-Pipe then taught the people the proper way to conduct the 
ceremony by having an old man carry a pipe, buffalo tail, painting 
himself with natural red paint, and making the announcement of the 
lodge: "All you members of the Kit-Fox society, members of the Star 
society, those of the Club-Board, Thunderbird, Lime-Crazy, Dog- 
soldiers', Buffalo, Old-Men's, and Water-Pouring lodges, listen this 
day, that all the remainder of our days may be brighter, that there 
may be an abundance of vegetation, that through the merits of Flat- 
Pipe we may be protected from plague." So now he called every one 
to be in one accord, that in the end, they should be prosperous and 
abide in peace hereafter. 

When the old man went out, there were many people standing 
outside in front of their respective tipis, to see and hear the first 
announcement. Seeing the old man stopping affour places, and hear- 
ing him mention the different lodges and cry with a loud voice, the 
people uttered words of thanks, such as: "May this cry of mercy be 
sympathizing unto me, so that I may become an old man!" "Oh! I 
do wish to be healthy; so with my dear children!" "Thanks! May 
I overcome trials and hardships and follow a straight path!" "Yes! 
I want to get well and be able to get around." "May it be pleasant 
and forgiving in my daily footsteps!" "I do wish that hereafter I 
may live in peace and harmony!" "Thanks! Joy to me, and also to 
my relatives!" 

Then the Rabit-tipi, in which all the things are made and painted 
for the big lodge, was placed within the camp-circle. The owner of 
the Flat-Pipe made a shallow circular hole back of the skull and ditch, 
which afterwards contained water that remained until all had taken 
a good drink for health and prosperity. 

When he had caused the water to be in that little hole, there came 
a flock of geese flying, cackling, and circling as they advanced. Fly- 
ing in file they came down and drank four times; then the rest of the 
people followed, doing the same way; but there was a continuous 
flowing of sweet-water. After all had quenched their thirst there was 
plenty of it left. 

The Lodge-Maker and dancers wore paints alike during the entire 
ceremony, i. e., they were painted in white clay, decorated with dark 
circles at the wrists and ankles, also diamonds in black, green, yellow, 
and pink. 

When the lodge was about to be put up, the birds, animals, and 
trees volunteered themselves for the material of the lodge, so that all 
those things were admitted, according to strength, purity, and height. 

210 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

When the Sun Dance was nearly over, it being the last day, there 
came a Nih'a"Qa" from a distant land. Hearing the beating of the 
drum, and the people singing at the top of their voices, he went to the 
queer-looking object standing in the center of the camp-circle. As 
he advanced closer to it, he saw quite a crowd of spectators all around 
the lodge, except a little opening at the back of it. The people did 
not notice him much, tor there was great rejoicing among the men 
and women. After failing to see the inside of the lodge at both sides 
and at the door, he walked around it and made his way until he suc- 
ceeded in getting a glance at the dancers. Since there were continu- 
ous noises by the singers, old men and old women, to cheer the 
dancers, Nih'a"9a° gradually pushed forward until he stuck his head 
into branches of Cottonwood, which was an elk skull. After he had 
stuck his head into the skull a crowd of large and small mice dispersed 
from the interior. These creatures were the people who had had the 
Sun Dance lodge. Nih'a°<;:a" was very much pleased with the cere- 
mony, so that he took pains to witness the interior. 

Nih'a"(;:a" walked off toward, the river, feeling his way as he went. 
"What kind of weeds do you belong to?" said he, as he felt them. 
"Well, Nih'a"9a", you may know that we belong to a sage weed," 
said they. "That will do, I am on the right path to the river, for 
these weeds grow just a short distance from the river, " said Nih'a"9a". 
He then started off again, feeling as he went, because he had an 
elk skull for cap. "To what kind of weeds do you belong?" said 
he, as he felt. "Well, Nih'a"9a", you may know that I am a blue- 
stem grass," said the grass. "Good I Good! I am still getting 
closer to the river, for this grass grows in the swampy places along 
the river," said he. He then started again, feeling as he went along. 
"Say, to what kind of tree do you belong?" said he, as he was holding 
the body of a tree. "Well, Nih'a''9a", you may know that I am an 
elm tree," said the tree. "Oh! that is good, I am so glad to get 
along nicely, for this tree stands in the open near the river," said he. 
He then walked off slowly, feeling as he went along. "Well! Well! 
To what kind of tree do you belong?" said he, holding the body of 
another tree and embracing it. "Nih'a"9a", I am a cottonwood 
tree," said the tree. "Oh, yes! I know who you are, that is a good 
companion. Surely I am going to the river," said he. So he walked 
away, feeling bushes as he went along. "Well, who are you? What 
kind of bush do you belong to?" said he, holding some bushes at the 
tops. "Well, Nih'a"9a", you may know that I am willow, who stands 
just at the edge of the water," said the willow. "Good! Good for 
me! I am thankful to you for your kindness and hospitality," said 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 211 

he, standing impatiently. So he walked off slowly and carefully, u.ntil 
he stepped on a sand-bar, then to the water, throwing himself into it. 
Instead of being annoyed with the skull, he enjoyed himself, as he 
floated down the river. 

Farther down there was a large company of young women bath- 
ing and enjoying themselves in playing bear on the sand-bar, and play- 
ing leap-frog into deep water. One of the young girls, looking up the 
river, saw an elk skull floating conspicuously, and told her companions 
about it. The young women got out of the water and stood viewing 
it with amazement. One of them, a mischievous one, went and 
brought over with her a rawhide rope and lassoed the skull. To the 
surprise of all, the skull had an attachment of a human body, with 
white skin. 

Finally the women dragged the man with an elk skull on to the 
dry sand-bar and viewed it carefully. Another mischievous girl 
brought a stone club and said, "Oh, partners, let us crack the skull 
wide open and see whose it is!" "All right," said they in one voice, 
and standing together. "Please strike in the center, and be caretul 
not to hit me," said Nih'a"(pa", inside the skull, as he lay on the sand- 
bar. Then the girl took the stone club and struck the center of the 
forehead and broke it into two pieces. "Thank you, sister. Surely 
you are very kind and courteous," said he, as he got up from the 

He continued thus, "Well, sisters, since I am quite tired and 
sleepy, I would like to have you sit down on this sand-bar and allow 
me to lay my head on your laps. Then I want you to louse me," said 
he, smiling pleasantly at them. "All right, we are willing to do that, 
since we are at leisure. Come over and lay your head on our laps," 
said they, sitting in a semicircular row. "Thank you, dear sisters, I 
shall be refreshed to continue my journey, " said he, scratching his 
head and gaping as he walked toward them. He then laid his head 
gently but timidly on their laps. "Be free with us, just lay your head 
solidly, and we can search better," said they, touching each other 
secretly on their sides. "Oh, my dear brother, you have many nits, 
and they are quite fresh. Brother, here is a fat one, you take it and 
crush it. My dear brother, you have quite young ones, and fat. 
Yes, they crack very nicely," said they, as they went through his 
hair with their fingers. Sometimes they cracked the sand, to make 
him feel good, and finally he went soundly to sleep. 

After Nih*a"9a" had gone to sleep, these women (cockle-burrs) 
collected so thickly and tightly on his head that his entire face was 
drawn and quite painful. When he awoke he found himself alone and 

212 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

his face felt peculiarly. He reached to feel of his head, as any one 
would do after a rest, and he found it covered with numberless cockle- 
burrs, tangled thickly. "Oh, my! Such is the luck! I cannot help 
it, for I am careless sometimes," said he starting off and following the 
course of the river. 

As he was traveling, he ran across a mouse, and said, "Say, 
partner, stop a moment, will you. I wish you would go out to your 
kind and tell them that I want you with them to cut my hair closely," 
said he. "All right, I shall run over quickly," said the mouse, run- 
ning fast and dragging his tail on the smooth ground. White-Man 
waited in agony for some time until the mice had come. So he lay 
down on the ground, and the mice went to work cutting his hair 
closely. These animals were having a good time — some of thein 
carried his hair to their quarters for some purpose, while others ran a 
race on his arms and legs. Feeling quite relieved, he got up and 
walked away in despair. 

Before he reached home he was crying unmercifully toward his 
tipi. "Oh! That crazy Nih'a"(pa", he must have met with an acci- 
dent, or he must have been misguided," said his wife. "What is the 
matter with you?" said she, looking angrily at him. He could not say 
anything, but kept on sneezing, coughing, and weeping till at last he 
said to his wife, "Oh, my dear, they told me that my whole tipi was 
massacred, and I went to work and cut my hair to mourn my loss. 
Oh ! I cannot help but weep bitterly, for I do love you deariy, and 
the children," said he, wiping his tears away, 


In the sky there is a big camp-circle, controlled by a man and 
wife, with two boys. This family was innocent, yet very generous in 
heart and very industrious, manually and mentally. 

Their tipi was formed by daylight, and the entrance (door) was 
the sun. This tipi was fastened by means of short eagle-wing feathers 
from next to the shoulder. 

These young men were on the go all the time, and of course would 
see many people and animals. They would be absent from home most 
of the time, while the parents remained at home thinking about them 
and their belongings. 

One night when these two young men were at home they were 
consulting each other about looking for wives. Finally they agreed 
to search for their respective wives. So when the next night came, 
the oldest son. Sun, clearing his throat and seating himself erect, 
stated their desires to their father, saying: "Say, dear father, we have 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 213 

been single long enough, and besides we have carefully thought and 
thought over the matter, not only for our own individual welfare, but 
to lessen your toils and to make you be more contented. We want to 
be at home most of the time; and in that way you old people would 
not worry much about us. We can be made happier and be freer 
in our speech than by getting out separately. Therefore, in view of 
the facts mentioned, for your sakes, we would like to start out and 
search for wives. We are very earnest in this undertaking, aod in 
order to be successful, we respectfully request your consent and advice. 
My dear brother and I would like to get out and court some women 
below. Can't you let us go and search for wives?" said Sun, with 
manly voice, to their father who was leaning against his lean-back with 
his legs crossed, his wife occupying the other end of the bed, sitting 
by him and facing the door. 

"Well, dear children, it is your pleasure to do what is best and 
acceptable to all concerned. If you and your dear brother have had 
private council and decided to get out and search for wives to the end 
that we may all be happy and contented, I cannot see anything wrong 
in that pursuit. Do you think so, dear wife?" said the father, respect- 
fully. "Oh, no, it is of no use to keep our children from nature's gifts," 
said the mother. "Well, then, dear children, mark my word. Your 
mother has just said that she hasn't the slightest objection, because 
you are both at your prime of life. Inasmuch as you are energetic for 
the undertaking, I want to give this caution to you, although you are 
still young in thought and weak in conscience, remember that both of 
you have a father and mother to live with. When you leave us, think 
again that we shall be on the lookout for good results. I want you, 
my dear children, to be careful on the way, guide your footsteps, and 
be sure and look ahead. When you reach the place, don't stay too 
long, but come back early. Be obedient to us, dear children," said 
the father, still lying on the bed with his head against the lean-back. 
"Say, dear children, behave before the people. Please remember that 
you must return soon. Show yourselves before the others to be true 
men, and above all, be careful in your selections, be honest in your 
dealings, and bear in mind to come home soon," said the mother, 
with pathetic voice and much emotion. "All right, we shall try to be 
good, to come home soon," said Sun, 

So both started off independently and with eagerness to succeed. 
Their home was on the left side of a river called "Eagle River." 
This river ran from west to east. Before starting off, Sun asked his 
brother what kind of wife he was going to get. After Moon had 
looked along his road where he had seen different types of people, he 

214 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

decided to persuade a human woman, thawwathinintarihisi (resur- 
rected woman). But Sun chose a water animal from the river. "Say, 
brother, I think you have not made a good choice, for this reason, 
and it is a fact, too. When I am traveling along and look upon the 
people below, those people look homely and ugly about their faces. 
When they look up toward me their eyes almost close with a mean 
appearance. I cannot bear to see their disgusting faces; therefore, 
in my judgment, I consider my choice is the fascinating one. In view 
of the complexions of the people I have found that the toad excels in 
beauty and form. When the toad looks at me, she does not make 
faces like the human woman. She gives her attention to me without 
a single wrinkle about her eyes, and has a very pleasing mouth. She 
has a disposition to love dearly," said Sun, proudly, referring to the 
sticking out of its tongue. "Well, dear brother, when I pass the tipis 
of those human women and they look at me, they are so handsome 
and benevolent. It is of no use to talk; those women are genuine. 
Their ways and habits are decent, and they are law-abiding. Of 
course I don't want to turn you from your choice; it is simply an 
explanatory statement on my part. Well, dear brother, we must be 
going," said Moon. 

The older brother went down the river, while the younger one 
took his journey up the river. Their journeys began when the "moon 
died," or on the disappearance of the moon after the full moon. They 
went in opposite directions, viz., east and west. On their way they 
had two days of cloudy weather (dark), two days of "rest" (holy), 
and two days before new moon. All this time both went on the jour- 
ney, seeking for their wives, until they reached the place. 

Moon, walking up the river, finally reached a big camp-circle. 
From the distance he heard much noise of people and dogs. The 
tumult in the camp arose from the games and occupations of the 
people. To him the atmosphere from all directions, fragrant with 
vegetables, herbs, and weeds, was pleasant, while the scenery at the 
horizon was grand. The earth he had trodden was well bedded, and 
the river he saw mirrored trees and heavenly signs. As he advanced 
closer to the camp-circle, he was delighted with the sweetness of the 
melody of the birds and reptiles and insects. 

Looking at the natural resources on his way, and thinking what 
grand and glorious things the people had, he saw two young women 
coming down the river, carrying lariats. "Now this is what I came 
down for; it is my great chance," said Moon, taking a good look at 
them. Seeing that the two young women were still coming and get- 
ting closer to him, he then squatted down in the bushes and became a 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 215 

porcupine. The women each took their trail for wood. This porcu- 
pine was near a tall cottonwood tree and watched the courses of the 
women. Finally, one of them came within a short distance of the 
porcupine, and the porcupine got up suddenly from the bushes and ran 
away. "Oh, partner, run over here, quickly! Here is a nice porcu- 
pine! Oh, I want to catch it, for its quills! Say, partner! Come 
and head it off. Oh, pshaw! it is up in the tree now," said one of 
them, standing and panting at the foot of the tree. "You ought to 
have hit it before it reached the tree." "I am sorry that I failed 
to hear sooner. Did you have a stick in your hand?" said the other 
one, still gazing at the porcupine that was sitting at the forked branch. 
"Yes, I ran swiftly after him, but he got on the other side of the trunk 
of the tree and ran up out of my reach. Oh, he is a splendid creature, 
partner, besides bearing such beautiful and large quills. I am going 
to climb up and get it; you may be sure! I shall kill it, and I shall 
be proud to get such a specimen. Look at his long white quills. My 
mother is out of quills, and I have got to get them for her," said the 
one who saw the animal first, taking a long stick and beginning to 
climb the tree. When she had come within a short distance from him, 
she raised the long stick to poke him off, but the porcupine raised its 
head and moved up farther, leaving her at a distance again. "Say, 
partner, I do wish you would run over and get me a longer and stouter 
stick than this," said the one up in the tree. So her partner did as 
requested. Climbing up farther, and with the long stick, the girl tried 
to poke the porcupine off from the tree, but she could not reach him. 
This porcupine advanced farther, but at such a slight distance as to 
encourage her to make greater and greater efforts to reach it. The 
tree had excellent branches, affording easy climbing, because the tree 
was like a stepladder. "I have got to have you for those long quills 
and I am going up to get you, too," said the woman, making further 
steps toward the animal. Stepping solidly on the branches of this 
extended tree, she raised the long stick and tried to reach him to poke 
him off, but without success. Her partner then saw that she was up 
a great height, and began to discourage her and call her to return, but 
she could not hear the warning. 

"Now, woman, you are to know that I came after you. There! 
Look down below and see your partner. I want to let her know where 
we are going to," said the porcupine, moving around a little. This 
woman, hearing the human voice, which meant separation from her 
partner, turned her head and looked down. "Now, woman, follow 
me. We are going to my home," said the porcupine, straightening 
up and turning around, a perfect young man. 

2i6 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

This woman, seeing that he was a real young man and greatly 
charmed by his glorious attire, started off with him without hesita- 
tion. The young man was clothed in fine skins, and had a handsome 
buffalo robe which was nicely quilled and ornamented. His complex- 
ion was very fair, and he had long black hair. His footsteps were firm 
and persevering, and his hands bold and grasping. Reaching the sky, 
he opened a spot by pushing up a circular object. "Here we are at our 
father's camp. Come up through this opening," said Moon. The 
eloped woman hastily climbed up and went into the opening above and 
landed on another soil, 

"Wife, there is the big camp-circle where my father lives with his 
wife," said Moon, covering the opening. This he did to prevent her 
from knowing her destination, and that she might forget the position 
of the entrance. 

"Oh, yes, that is a beautiful camp-circle. Surely the life over 
yonder must be grand ; for around it is that gentle hazy atmosphere, 
besides the magnificent scenery,"' said the wife. The whole camp- 
circle was on the left side of the river at a good distance from its 
source. The parents of Moon camped close to the head of this river, 
which was called "Turtle River" (turtle painted red, i. e. , Red-Look- 
ing Water, or Pink River). Turtle River ran from north to south. 
It did not have much timber, but there were many cat-tails, tall grass, 
willows, and numberless birds — cranes, ducks, geese, and other species 
of water-fowl. The current of Turtle River was moderate, but it was 
deep. The people received their water at the head of it. 

Moon, after pointing to the camp-circle, took his wife around to 
the four main directions of the camp, and showed her the earth below. 
"See, that camp-circle near that big river. You are from that camp. 
There is another one. See how nicely they look from here. Let us 
go over there," said Moon. So they both went and stopped. "Say, 
wife, come here. Look, there is another camp-circle. That is 
very nice," said Moon. Thus, the eloped wife saw big camp-circles 
below. The couple did not go to Moon's parents for some time, but 
occupied their time in viewing the land. Finally they walked to the 
old folks, who had pitched their tipi in the center of lodges (nSriahta- 
baa, center-place-of-lodges or camp-circle, meaning, "on red side"), 
and entered proudly. 

The eloped couple seated themselves "on red side" or center of 
lodge. "Well, dear child, I am glad that you have returned safely. 
I am very much pleased with my daughter-in-law," said the mother. 
"Yes, she is beautiful and has very striking features," said the father, 
quietly. The mother, who had made different wearing apparel during 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 217 

the absence of her sons, then reached behind their bed and pulled out 
a nicely ornamented buffalo robe, that is called, *'the fortieth (buffalo) 
robe," and gave it to her daughter-in-law as a wedding gift. This 
buffalo robe had forty parallel lines from the head to the tail, in fine 
porcupine quills; at the bottom it had binding pendants. 

"Where is your other daughter-in-law? Is she doing some 
work outside? She must be very timid and bashful," said Moon. 
Sun had at this time returned (sunwise) and seated himself on the 
north side of the lodge. . It was his own bed. "Well, dear child, your 
brother has just returned. I don't know what kind of a trip he has 
made," said the mother. "Well, I would like to see my sister-in-law. 
Ask your son where she is," said Moon, with a hint. "Say, dear child, 
where is my other daughter-in-law," said the mother to her son. "She 
is down at the edge of the river," said Sun. This was Eagle River, 
and ran by the lodge or camp-circle. "Well, you should have reported 
the matter sooner. I must go after her," said the mother, taking up 
her water vessel 

Reaching the river and passing through tall grass, she noticed a 
toad leap toward her. Dipping the water with her pail, she then 
looked around to find her, but there was no sign of a human woman. 
Passing the tall grass again, she noticed this toad sitting close to the 
trail and leaping forward in front of her. Believing that it was her 
daughter, she said, with an affectionate voice, "Come on, my dear 
daughter-in-law." The toad made another leap on the trail, then 
became a real woman, following the mother closely. Both reached 
the tipi and entered. When the mother saw this toad leap toward her, 
it left a drop of water behind, which was disgusting. "Old man, I 
have brought into our tipi a toad woman or frog woman, who is our 
daughter-in-law; she was waiting impatiently at the river, and 
responded quickly to rriy call," said the mother, seating herself by 
the side of the old man with a sympathetic expression on her face. 
"Good! Good! Is that our daughter-in-law, Water-Woman, or 
Liquid-Woman? I am so glad to see her enter with her husband. 
Stir around, dear, and entertain our daughter-in-law," said the father, 
with compassion, and at the same time coughing loudly, perhaps to 
attract attention. "Well, dear, do you call our daughter-in-law 
Water-Woman, when I told you she was a toad woman?" said the 
mother, seriously. "Well, just so she has a good name, it matters 
not how you call her, so long as it is in accordance with nature. 
Everything is satisfactory to me," said the old man in friendly way. 
The mother then presented Water- Woman another nice buffalo robe, 
the same as that of Moon's wife. 

2i8 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

Moon vyas displeased with his sister-in-law. He would look at 
her with contempt. Water-Woman looked so homely and wrinkled- 
up in body that she was somewhat timid before her brother-in-law. 
"Can you make that wife of yours look decent and persuade her to be 
social?" said Moon to Sun. Sun was unusually silent, for he was 
fascinated with the human wife; he didn't pay any attention to his 
own wife, but kept on looking at his brother's wife. This wife of Moon 
was fair in complexion and had long hair. She also had a pleasing 
appearance. Every movement that the human wife made Sun would 

At this time the life was being discussed, objects of use men- 
tioned, things were planned out, the desires of man and woman were 
pointed out, precautions were given, and subsistence was named. 

After the parents had fully provided their daughters-in-law with 
necessary articles, etc., they told their sons to search for buffalo, so 
that their wives could eat the meat. Since both young men were full 
of adventure, they did not hesitate to go. During their absence, the 
human wife would help the old woman to do the various chores, etc., 
but Water- Woman would sit at her bed, solitary; she was so timid that 
she faced toward the wall of the lodge; but the human woman was so 
industrious that she did a good deal for the old woman, which pleased 
her very much. In fact this human woman was learning the way to 
live and how to do the things about the tipi. "What is the matter 
with our daughter-in-law, Water-Woman? Did her husband tell her 
to remain in that position? Can you make things to please her?" said 
the old man. "I am sure I don't know what to say to her," said the 
mother. "Yes, you can be sociable with her," said the father. 
"Well, then, dear daughter-in-law, get out sometimes and sun your- 
'self. See the beautiful land. Perhaps you are feeling homesick. 
Walk around a little," said the mother. 

Finally the young men returned from the hunt and brought beeves 
for the folks. (Compare the killing of the buffalo bull at the last Sun 
Dance ceremony, by Tall-Bear and Left-Hand, in front of the Rabbit- 

"Now, dear wife, I want you to boil that meat ("first meal or 
taste") and give each of our daughters-in-law a piece of it to eat," 
said the father. So this mother then soon boiled the meat in a kettle 
and gave the wives pieces of meat. Both relished the food thus pre- 
pared and given. Moon was still watching his sister-in-law, as if to 
find fault with her, and Sun did the same, but being enticed by the 
human woman, he did not care much for his own wife. "Now, dear 
wife, I want you to get that tripe and boil it for our daughters-in-law, 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 219 

so that they both may eat it. Get it done quickly," said the father. 
"All right," said the mother, frankly. So she then proceeded and 
soon got the tripe boiled. She gave them each quite a big bowl of it. 
The human woman took her bowl quickly and began to chew the tripe, 
cracking it nicely. The old folks were very much pleased by her 
quality of sharp teeth. While the human woman was eating, and the 
parents were watching her mouth, the frog woman or toad woman 
slyly procured a small piece of charcoal and put it into her mouth. 
When she placed the tripe in her mouth she looked around and chewed 
it, but there were no musical notes from her mouth, because she didn't 
have the teeth to grind it. While she was chewing away, the black 
saliva was seen running down from the corners of her mouth. "Oh! 
Look at her! She has no teeth, poor thing. Say, mother, look at 
her. Surely she has not the grinders. Laugh at her," said Moon, 
laughing vigorously. "My dear child, don't act mean to your sister- 
in-law; speak kindly to her," said the mother. 

"Now, dear children, I want .you to continue with your hunting 
expeditions and supply us with beef, so that these women may be 
contented," said the father, with emotion. So both young men, with- 
out the slightest objection, started off in opposite directions. 

Shortly after they had gone off, the father got his wife to make 
two digging-sticks' for his daughters-in-law. After the presentation 
of the stick, the mother of Moon then showed the women the use of 
them. "When you go out to dig vegetables, strike^the ground at the 
southeast corner of the vegetable, then at the southwest corner, then 
at the northwest, and then at the northeast corner of it; then receive 
it by raising it at the west. That is to pry it out from the ground," 
said the mother. The human woman still assisted her mother-in-law, 
while the other one was idle. 

Finally the young men returned from their hunt, bringing more 

' The sticks were made of niyahah (camping-near-river) wood. This wood is very solid and 
grows very tall, standing at the edge of the rivers. It has a red-looking, slippery bark with white 
dots, and is used extensively for breastpins and stake-pins for tipis. This stick has four notches of 
bark at the top. It is painted black at the top, and the rest below is painted red. The dark red 
notches of bark represent the Four-Old-Men. This digging-stick after it was finished represented 
the earth, day, night, camp-circle, and human being. 

When the father-in-law gave the occupation to the women, he made a combination of digging- 
sticks for both women, red and black, making one solid "stake-pin that binds us all.'' Each paint 
on th^ digging-stick bears two of a kind, i. e., Four-Old-Men, being the stake-pins of the father's 
lodge and also of the people's lodges. There are four digging-sticks stuck in the ground, two on 
each side, at the bottom of the center fork, but there is only one plain one. This plain stick is used 
in getting the sods for the Offerings-lodge, and signifies the present temporal life. The painted 
stick indicates spiritual and temporal beings. Since there was no "blood-stain" with our father, 
the sign for virtue was black paint (wahahshe, black paint — charcoal woman). Therefore the dark 
or black paint on the stick typifies our father's country, and the stick with red coloring typifies the 
human blood, the shedding [of blood] or connection of Moon with the human woman, for that it 
is painted red at the end 

220 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

beef for all. While the mother was cooking a meal, the father pre- 
sented the sticks to his daughters-in-law. "These shall be your 
instruments every day. You can use them in erecting your tipis and 
in digging eating-roots and weeds, etc. They will be useful in every 
way," said the father, giving the sticks to the women. The young 
men watched and listened attentively to their father, for their wives 
were being educated. 

"Say, come over quickly," said the human woman, as she squatted 
down with a deep breath from her mouth. "What is it?" said the 
mother, reaching out to her body. To her surprise, she found a well- 
formed baby struggling for life under her limbs. "Well, well! Here 
is my dear grandchild. Say, old man, he is a nice boy. Look at 
him," said the grandmother, holding up the young baby. "Good! 
Good! Well, I am so happy to have a grandchild. He is a cute little 
baby. What delightful features he has," said the grandfather, 
lovingly. The young baby was wrapped with pieces of buffalo hide 
(beksaw, beloved, or I love you). Moon was still looking at his 
sister-in-law with a scornful frown on his forehead. The old folks 
talked pleasantly over the arrival of the baby. "Oh, pshaw, you make 
me tired of your foolishness; because you hate me and criticise my 
appearance inhumanly I will be with you all the time. In this way 
people will see you plainly hereafter," said the frog woman, leaping 
up and landing on Moon's breast and adhering.' "Say, dear child 
(Moon), I have not yet finished my gifts to your wives, but what I 
have already given is sufficient. In order that you may know here- 
after the conditions of your wives, I want to tell you the signs. I am 
well pleased with the arrival of your sweet baby, but I don't like the 
method of your wife in giving it birth; it is without preparation. The 
time of delivery is unexpected and comes with surprise; therefore I 
consider that a better method may be adopted, for the ease of all con- 
cerned. So I want you to tell me where you got this nice baby," said 
the father to his son, Moon. "Well, father, I got it after I arrived 
here," said Moon. "Well, then, let me see. You started here one 
day — When did you get there, and when did you get back?" said 
the father to Moon. "We started off at the same time, and I got 
down the same time as my brother; in other words, the lengths of day 
and night were about the same. But I came back with her on the 
same day that I reached the place below, and may you know that 
those people know of our elopement, for there was a companion with 

• So the moon bears the picture of Water-Woman, and at the same time typifies the growth 
of humanity. It also signifies the " seeds of women " thereafter. The appearance of the toad on 
the belly indicates pregnancy of the woman. The '• face of Moon " bears the mark of the first men- 
struation of the woman. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 221 

my wife when I saw her, and both of them were searching for fire- 
wood," said Moon. "I am very proud of your success, but I want 
both of you to know this in order that you may be careful, and 
besides, prepare for delivery. The fact is, I don't like the method of 
sudden deliveries, and have decided to remedy it. It is not humane 
for women to give birth unexpectedly. They must know the first sign 
of the offspring. It would not be justifiable to have improper births. 
Women do not want to give birth from an insect, beast, or by any 
other animal; therefore, remember this, my dear son, that you may 
count that the time for your wife from the time she has menstrual flow 
to the time of delivery, shall be eight months of pregnancy. In 
this way the child may be brought to life in nine months. In the 
beginning the child preceded in the flow of blood, but toward the last, 
or at the outcome, the greater flow of blood shall precede the child, 
from the first to the tenth finger. Bear in mind that the time shall be 
from the last quarter to the first quarter of the moon — from the day 
you started away from us to the day you finally arrived," said the 
father to Moon. This was through the kindness and generosity of 
the father and mother upon the children. Sun and Moon. 

The young child was growing rapidly, for his father provided 
fresh beef for him. The human wife was very industrious and quick 
to learn. Seeing the old woman at various kinds of work, she soon 
picked up an extensive knowledge of the mode of life. When her 
husband started off to hunt she would make sinew thongs for tahnirig. 
She would make sinew threads for her mother-in-law and herself. 
When her husband saw her working on the sinew; industriously, she 
said with anxiety, blowing her nose and placing the things in front of 
hier: "I am making these strings preparatory to tanning the hides that 
you have brought over. I have already given some to your mother." 
"When I am gone away from home if you should go out for exercise 
with your digging-stick, I want you to be careful about yourself. 
There are good eating foot-potatoes, •elk-potatoes, hog-potatoes, and 
four-potatoes. (The foot-potato is a long pointed root, therefore it is 
called foot or leg potato; the elk-potato is an oblong plant or root 
which is somewhat whitish in color. The hog-potato is a black root; 
it has a dark skin, with real white seed, something like a turnip in 
shape; the four-potato has on each root or plant two seeds, three 
seeds, four seeds, five seeds, six seeds, and seven seeds.) But there 
are some dead withered plants in some localities, that I do not want 
you to touch. Remember that when you get enough potatoes you are 
to come home at once. I think you are somewhat lonesome, or 
worried, so it is best for you to get out and amuse your boy," said 

222 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV, 

Moon. Sun and Moon were constantly on the alert and in search of 
something away from home. 

At this tihie the human woman had saved enough sinew strings, 
knotted together,* to serve her purpose. So she went out with her 
boy, carrying her digging-stick and nicely coiled string of sinew. 
When she reached a patch of foot-potatoes, she saw a withered plant 
that attracted her much. When she thought of the restriction given 
by her husband, she hesitated a little in approaching it. Looking 
around to see if anybody was in sight, she said, bravely, "I am going 
to see what this means." So, approaching with a firm attitude, she 
digged the withered plant, and to her surprise, she found a hole. 

Stooping over the hole, she looked into it and saw an earth below. 
I<ooking down through this hole, she also spied a beautiful camp-circle 
along the river. "Well, I am glad to see the way to get down," said 
the human woman seriously and with energetic disposition. So, talk- 
ing away about her splendid chance of escape, she uncoiled the sinew 
lariat (hawtare, standing — camp-circle — plural hawdaha, carried-it-on 
side, like a woman with a knife scabbard ), and attached one end of it 
to the digging-stick. The other end, after placing her boy on her 
back, she then fastened securely around her body under her arms. 
Placing the digging-stick across the hole, facing the pointed end to 
the east, she then squatted down and slid slowly and carefully down. 
As she was working herself, untwisting the sinew lariat, she finally 
got down within a short distance (about the height of the center fork) 
from the earth, for the sinew lariat was not long enough to reach the 
bottom.^ For some time she was suspended in the air, until she was 
getting impatient and tired. 

There was no sign of her return, and every little hope was 
expressed by the people. "Well, father, I have again returned," said 
Moon, unloading himself at the door, and then entering the tipi. 
"Where is my wife, dear mother?" said Moon, seating himself on his 
bed. "She has not yet returned. Maybe she will be coming home 
yet," said the mother. "Oh, no, it is getting too late for her. I told 
you to watch her and have her come home earlier," said Moon, in 

Without much fretting or imposing upon the old folks about her 
wanderings, he went out and searched for her. Walking around from 
place to place, he found a digging-stick lying on the ground, and the 
footprints of his wife leading to it. "Well, well! I declare!" said 

' Compare the knotted and painted strings of the Dog-soldiers. 

•She did not come to the place where she and Moon landed, or else she would have reached 
the earth below in safety and without trouble. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 223 

Moon, stooping down to see the course of the sinew lariat. To his 
surprise, he saw his wife and their little son suspended just a little 
way from the earth. "Well, there is only one way to do it. She 
wanted to get away from me, and therefore ran a risk of meeting with 
an accident. I shall have to make her return to me," ' said Moon, in 
manly way. So, reaching out from the hole he procured a round, flat 
stone called "heated stone." Spitting five times on the stone, he said 
to it, full of faith and desire: "For the benefit of my boy, I want you 
to light on top of her head, though remember you are not to fall on 
my boy's head, but on hers. Please do this for me," and as he said 
this he dropped the stone, which lighted on top of her head, breaking 
her off from the suspended lariat and killing her instantly. This 
woman landed with her boy on the south side of the river, at a short 
distance on a small elevation of ground. This was Eagle River that 
runs from west to east. 

The little boy was so young that he did not know that his mother 
was dead. For some time he lived from his mother's breast, until she 
was fully decomposed. By this time the little boy, not satisfied with 
his mother's milk, was entirely exhausted. He went down to the 
river to quench his thirst. This trail was a small ravine leading to 
the small bank of the river. Just as the little boy reached the bank, 
an old woman (Old-VVoman-Night), had come up to the spot on the 
other side. "Well, well! dear grandchild, I am so glad to see you. 
Where are you going to?" said Old-Woman-Night, with reverence. 
"I came over to quench my thirst," said the little boy, hastily. 
"Where did you come from, dear little boy?" said the old woman. 
"I came down from above," said the little boy. "Well, well! Are you 
Little-Star (or Lone-Star)? I am so happy to meet you. This is the 
central spot where everybody comes to. It is the terminus of all the 
trails from all directions. I have a little tipi down on the north side 
of the river, and I want you to come with me. It is only a short dis- 
tance from here. Come on, grandchild, Little-Star," said Old- Woman- 
Night, taking him by the hand and leading him toward the tipi 
mentioned. As they followed the winding course of the stream they 
finally came to a big thicket along the bend, and just a few paces from 
the edge of the woods was a well-smoked tipi, the outskirts of which 
were well trodden. "This is my abiding-place, grandchild. See the 
dense forest and my surroundings," said Old-Woman-Night, smiling 
as they slowly approached the tipi. 

Entering the tipi, Old-Woman-Night had a bed on the south side 
of the fire. It had a willow lean-back and many articles strung along 

' This remark of Moon's shows us that there is another place for dead people. 

224 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV, 

behind the bed along the wall of the tipi. Shortly afterwards, Little- 
Star having been directed to the splendor of the timber, the musical 
notes of the birds, and the pecking of yellowhammers — all affording 
harmony throughout the forest — asked his grandmother to make him 
a bow and four arrows. "Well, well! My dear grandchild is very 
ambitious and full of life," said Old-Woman-Night, taking up her 
stone knife and going out of the tipi to cut sticks for bow and arrows. 
The old woman brought in the sticks and began to make a bow and 
arrows (origin of the so-called "lance," or "coyote-bow"). The 
stick for the bow was not a choice one, for it had a knot near one 
end that gave the bow an awkward appearance, throwing the "belly" 
to one side of the center. The arrows were not exceptionally good 
either. They were roughly peeled, had short corner wing- feathers 
attached; the feathers were not sliced, but were yet in parts when 
placed on the arrows. Two were painted red, the other two black. 
After the old woman had finished them, she gave them to the boy, who 
immediately went out and shot at a standing stick that he placed 
against a mound. 

Early in the morning, this old woman said to the grandchild who 
was about to go out to play in front of the tipi: "Say, dear grand- 
child, I want you to rema'in inside, while I go out and see if my traps 
have caught anything. You see this fireplace? From this there are 
paths leading out to the ends of these traps. There is always a chance 
for all of them," said the old woman, starting out from the tipi. 

After meal time, and while the boy played about, this old woman 
would put away something around their lean-back.' She kept doing 
this until the boy suspected her. Finally the old woman came back 
with a whole buffalo and carried it into their tipi. "I should like to 
know why you put things away behind the lean-back," said Little-Star 
to Old-Woman-Night. "Oh, for my lunches," said she. This was 
done several times, until one morning, after the old woman had gone 
out to seethe traps, Little-Star said to himself : "lam going to see 
what is behind that lean-back. My grandmother always places some- 
thing behind there," said Little-Star, in a ridiculing voice. 

It was not long before> the old woman left for her traps. So 
Little-Star went around the lean-back, and to his surprise, saw an 
animal with two horns and blazing eyes, eating or chewing away at 
the food given him by Old-Woman-Night. "Well! This is the crea- 
ture that eats all the food that my grandmother puts away for me. If 
that is the way this creature does, I cannot allow it," said Little-Star, 
angrily. So, taking his bow and painted arrows, he shot the monster 

' Compare the placing of food under the skull for sacrifices. 

May, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey. 225 

between the neck and shoulder, sending his arrow out of sight; 
another one he shot at the other place, sending it out of sight, too, 
killing the animal instantly. This gave a red appearance to the river; 
because this monster extended into this tipi from the river. He then 
took up a stone club and beat the horns off from the monster and let 
it go. 

Just then the old woman returned with some more beef for them- 
selves. "Say, grandmother, here are two beautiful horns that you 
can use for spoons," said Little-Star, joyfully. "Well, my dear 
grandmother, after you had gone, I saw a big creature eating up our 
victuals that you had laid away. I then took my bow and arrows and 
shot him dead," said he, before the old woman had a chance to speak. 

"Oh! Did you really kill him? My dear child, he is your grand- 
father," said Night-Old-Woman. (She was actually married, secretly, 
to this water monster. She might have told Little-Star before that 
the monster was her husband, but she had kept this a secret. ) 

After they had had their breakfast on the morning of- the next 
day, the old woman said to Little-Star, who was amusing himself 
inside the lodge: "Dear grandchild, I want you to remain at home 
while I go out into the woods after 'yeaneeshe' "(which means, pitched- 
tipi, refers to the erection of the Offerings-lodge), a red bush that 
grows in bunches in river bottoms. Late in the afternoon Old-Woman- 
Night returned and entered the tipi in gloomy spirit. 

"Well, grandmother, what is the matter with your legs?" said 
Little-Star, looking at his grandmother's legs. "Dear grandchild, 
my legs got scratched up terribly when I was going through the 
thicket this morning, and that is why they are somewhat bloody," 
said Old-Woman-Night, with a sigh. This old woman had tortured 
her legs by gashing the muscles crosswise, leaving a clotted blood 

For some time Little-Star remained with his grandmother and 
grew up to be quite a young man. During that time she made his 
bow into a beautiful lance,' using the feathers that she had carefully 
preserved in her tipi. She caught eagles and other species of birds 
and various kinds of animals at her traps. 

When Little-Star had completed his lance ("coyote-bow"), he 
said, in manly way and with signs of adventure, to his grandmother, 
who was in the act of cooking a meal: "Well, grandmother, I am 

' The lance was like that of Lime-Crazy in appearance. At the bottom were numerous kinds 
of feathers of small and large birds. The bow was reversed for a lance, the end with the knot being 
next to the ground; in this position it had owl feathers at the lower end. then just above them 
magpie feathers, then at the knot bluebird feathers, while near the top was a hawk feather, and at 
the top an eagle-wing feather. 

226 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

going away to leave you. I think I have done enough with you. It 
is better for me to go back to my father. So this day I shall leave 
you, dear grandmother." So he took his lance and went out of the 
tipi, starting on the journey toward the east, following the course of 
Eagle River. For days and nights he walked and walked, until he 
came to a place well trodden by people. 

The ground was smooth and slippery in appearance, and beyond 
it there was a black tipi painted with black paint. It was about twi- 
light when he ran on to a snake. "Say, get up, you lazy thing. The 
day has already gone far enough," said Little-Star, poking at the 
snake with his lance, which made the snake rigid. "Well, are you 
that sensitive?" said Little-Star, laughingly. As he went on he 
repeated the same trick with the serpents yet asleep. Amusing him- 
self by killing the serpents with his well-feathered lance, he would 
laugh very heartily, until he awoke some people at a distance who 
gave the alarm. "Ah! Get up all of you people! You might all be 
exterminated by Little-Star. He is very mischievous and very daring. 
Stir around, you people, and let us obstruct his journey and thus save 
our kindred. Look at him with that 'crazy' lance," said a man (per- 
haps a chief), with commanding voice. So the serpents, small and 
large, woke up and moved about, and soon covered the earth entirely. 

Little-Star, seeing that it would be quite an undertaking to pass 
the people, walked to and fro to find a trail to get to another land, 
but the whole horizon was thickly covered with serpents. For four 
days and nights he walked about in search of a passage, but without 
success. At this time he was getting somewhat tired and sleepy. As 
he walked about to steal a passage through the crowd, he said to his 
lance with great faith, "Now, if anybody comes to injure me while I 
am resting (sleeping), I wish you would fall on top of me." So, stop- 
ping on good level ground, he staked his lance, his head at the foot of 
it, and went to sleep to renew his strength. As the serpent came up 
to attack him, the lance lighted on his body, waking him instantly. 
"Get away from me or you will get hurt," said Little-Star, gaping and 
getting up with his lance and beginning to walk around again. Find- 
ing a good level place, he again staked his lance, laid his head at the 
foot of it, and went to sleep. Shortly after he had gone to sleep, 
another serpent came crawling slowly for an attack, but this lance 
lighted on Little-Star again and awakened him instantly. "Oh, pshaw! 
Keep away from me, you ugly creatures, or you will get hurt!" said 
Little-Star, gaping, dusting his hair, and getting up with the lance. 
Wandering to and fro along the vast throng of serpents he finally got 
sleepy again, and rested on good level ground at the foot of his lance. 

Mav, 1903. The Arapaho Sun Dance — Dorsey, 227 

During his slumber, another serpent came crawling slowly to him for 
an attack, but the lance lighted on him, thus awakening him. "Oh, 
pshaw! You just go back at once! I don't want you about me," 
said Little-Star, angrily, getting up with the lance. At this time he 
was getting very sleepy and tired. Seeing a nice soft grass spot on 
level ground, he staked his lance in the ground and went to sleep 
right away, and it was about the fifth day. Shortly afterwards there 
came a big serpent crawling noiselessly for an attack. The lance, as 
ordered, lighted on Little-Star's body, but he did not awake this time. 

"I thought surely at this time I would get you," said the big ser- 
pent, advancing behind Little-Star, recklessly. Still Little-Star was 
sound asleep. So the big serpent crawled slowly into his rectum, up 
through his spinal column, into his skull, and then completely coiled 
up within the skull and remained there, which totally disabled Little- 
Star physically. 

Little-Star was conquered for being fast asleep on the open prairie. 
When the serpent got into his skull, he was made to lie on the ground 
until his entire body was a perfect skeleton. Little-Star found him- 
self with a heavy burden in his skull, and remained motionless until he 
was a perfect skeleton. But the ligaments kept the bones together, 
thus leaving some sense for him. In this condition he gave his image 
to the people as a cross. 

When Little-Star was in normal condition, he said in .a somewhat 
fainting voice, but to the point, "Now I wish there would be two days 
of pouring rain, and after that, two days of intense heat." After he 
had so said, there came big black clouds and much thundering. In a 
short time the rain came down heavily all over him, thus soaking him 
completely. Then the sun came out, throwing its heat rays on him 
for two days. About noon the serpent became so restless in the skull 
that it finally made its way out and stuck its head out of Little-Star's 
mouth, panting from exhaustion. The serpent was thrusting its tongue 
out and blinking its flaming eyes, when Little-Star secretly moved his 
right hand under his chin and suddenly grasped the serpent's neck, 
and then got up, sat down on the ground, and pulled the serpent out 
of his mouth. 

"Now I have you at last. You know very well that I am all right 
and possess some wonderful powers. You caught me when I was 
sound asleep, but you cannot kill me. Here is a fine chance to get 
even with you," said Little-Star, angrily, regaining his usual robust 

Little-Star was holding this serpent's neck tightly as he scolded 
him. Just as he was about to injure the serpent with his poisonous 


228 Field Columbian Museum — Anthropology, Vol. IV. 

lance, the captive spoke, saying to Little-Star with an earnest plea: 
"You know that I have given myself up to you. For your honor and 
integrity I give my skin to you to wrap your lance with, and to the 
end that you may remember me in my supplications. " This he said 
with pitiful expression and signs of fatigue. "All right; it is a good 
thing that you are willing to give up your skin for my lance; you have 
saved yourself by your promptness and willingness to me. Well, let 
me see; if your skin does not obstruct my hand from peeling it off 
easily, then your assurance of your willingness to be subdued is agree- 
able to me," said Little-Star, taking the neck of the snake with his 
right hand, and with his left hand peeling off the skin.* "Now, Little- 
Star, take this skin of mine and wrap it around your lance or coyote- 
bow and keep it there," said the big snake. The serpent was then 
turned loose, and went back to his kind, with less power. 

Little-Star then continued his journey until he reached the black- 
painted tipi and entered it with his lance. Reaching the Father, Sun 
(he was related to him, as Moon was a brother of Sun), at short dis- 
tance, he advanced recklessly and spied everything in front of him. 
"Well, well! That mischievous boy is coming. He is a hard case,., 
and therefore he ought not to enter this lodge, because it is pure and 
holy," said Sun. "Say, young man, I think it is best for you to 
return, for your lance is a lawless one. So please go back to your 
grandmother, who made the lance for you," said Sun, in earnestness 
and much thought. Little-Star, without further approach to his 
father, returned to the east and went out of this black lodge. Little- 
Star removed from his lance the attachments, thus cleansing it. 
Turning around, he placed his lance above the door of this black 
lodge. Thus he became the morning- star, so-called the cross, "but 
really the Little-Star, following his father and mother, Sun and Moon. 

That small group of stars early at night, with a row of stars along 
the side represents the hand of Little-Star with his lance. That was 
the erfd of his journey. '^ 

* From this time on these snakes shed their skins annually. 

* The story relates to the whole Sun Dance ceremony. The center fork signifies tlie father's 
home. The unwrapping of this lance corresponds to the people placing children's clothing on the 
ceoter-pole. The dancing out is the return of Little-Star. The smoking of the Straight-Pipe, and 
wrapping of the wheel, and other things is the continuation of the Sun and Moon with us. It is the 
place of holiness and glory. 



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