The History of Blackfoot Dance
Their most important ritual was the Sun Dance. This ritual
had three or four days of dancing, feasting and religious ceremonies.
Part of the ceremony was a test of a young warriors strength and his ability to
take pain. His pectoral muscles would be cut and rope would be attached to
the muscle. The other end of the rope was then tied to a centre post
of Sun Dance lodge until either the muscle broke or the warrior fainted from
pain or exhaustion!
Today, the Sundance is still practiced. Some dances have changed from ceremonies to a combination of a dance,
celebration, family reunion, and a festival! Powwows are held all over
North America. Powwows are famous for their beautiful costumes, dances and music.
Most powwows include First Nations people from many nations. Together they
celebrate their native heritage through dance, music, and song. The dance
styles seen at today's powwows come from many different regions of North
To learn more about powwows and the different dance styles, please visit these
(*Photos below are from these sites)
Powwow Dance Styles
|Men's Buckskin and Women's
The dancers in this dance dress in their traditional
Blackfoot outfits. The men and women wear white suits and dresses
which are decorated with beads. They also carry eagle feather fans.
The men also wear eagle feather headdresses. The dancers are usually
wears a porcupine hair roach on his head and a feather bustle. The
dancers step quickly, crouch and rise as they imitate the mating dance of
the prairie chickens.
wear items that would have been work into battle. The dancers dance
out fighting and their victorious return to camp.
|Women's Fancy Dance
dance is also called the Fancy Shawl dance. It is a dance that comes
from the southwestern United States. It comes from the Navajo.
It is a dance about a young teenager growing into a woman.
|Women's Jingle Dance
dance is about the Anishinabe. It is a story of the Anishinabe who
were sick and dying. A young girl has a dream that she makes a
special dress and helps to heal her people. By listening to her
dream, she helps her people. The young girls wear a satin dress
decorated with tin jingles.
|Men's Fancy Dance
dance is from Oklahoma. It is a bright and exciting dance and the
men are very athletic. They leap and twirl in this dance. The
bright feathers and tassels flash in the light.
This dance was
originally from the east where the grass was tall. Young men would
trample the grass before setting up camp. In Blackfoot territory the
grass was short so they did not have to trample it before setting up the
tipis. This dance shows how the grass was to be trampled.
love to participate in dancing. From a very young age they dress in
costumes just like the adults and they also join in the fun!
this dance, everyone is invited. This includes everyone from the
audience. You don't even have to be wearing a costume.
||* information courtesy: The Glenbow Museum
Would you like to see some videos of powwow dancing?
Click here to see some video clips of a powwow in
Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada and of Otacimow, a Cree dancer and story