Caribou Dance
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White Caribou

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by Ernest Thompson Seton

The easiest of our campfire dances to learn, and the best for quick presentation, is the Caribou Dance. It has been put on for public performance after twenty minutes' rehearsing, by those who never saw it before; and it does equally well for indoor gymnasium or for campfire in the woods.

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In the way of fixings for this, you need four pairs of horns. Real deer horns may be used, but they are scarce and heavy. It is better to go out where you can get a few crooked limbs of oak, cedar, hickory or apple tree; and cut eight pair, as near like a, b, c, in the cut as possible, each about two feet long and one inch thick at the butt. Peel these; point the square ends of the branches, then lash them in pairs, thus (d). A pair, of course, is needed for each caribou. They are held in the hand and above the head, or in the hand resting on the head.

The four caribou are best in white. Three or four hunters are needed. They should have bows but no arrows. The Medicine Man should have a drum and be able to sing the Muje Mukesin, as given; or other Indian dance tune. One or two persons who can howl like wolves should be sent off to one side, and another who can yell like a lynx or panther on the other side, well away from the ring. Otherwise the Medicine Man or leader can do the imitations.

This is sometimes presented as part of a play. For this we have first a village scene, with evidences of starvation. The hunters go forth but come back empty-handed. Then the medicine bow of the old chief is given to his son, who stops and says: "I cannot be sure of success unless you do the Dance of the White Caribou."

The Birch Bark Roll

 

 

   

 

 


Additional Information:

White Caribou ]

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Storm Cloud ] Lone Scout ] Shoshoni Dog ] [ Caribou Dance ] Animal Dance ] Hopi Corn ] Spring Dance ] Fall Dance ] Snake Dance ] Courtship Eagles ] Peace Pipe ] War Dance ] Refference ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Native Skills ] Totem Poles ] Indian Sign Language ] Indian Ceremonies ] Indian Dance ] Indian Songs ] Birch Bark Dances ] Birch Bark Songs ] Birch Bark Plays ] Indian Games for Boys ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.