The Sun Dance

Published on August 2, 2011 by Amy

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The Sun Dance
The Sun Dance

The Sun Dance associated colors are red, yellow, white and black. The colors represent the following:

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Red = the sunset
Yellow = forked lightning
White = light
Black = night

This dance is observed in late June or early July, wherever the first full moon closest to the summer solstice lands. The Sioux aren’t the only tribe that performed this dance. It’s also performed by the: Arapaho, Arikara, Asbinboine, Blackfoot, Bungi, Comanche, Cheyenne, Crow, Gros, Ventre, Hidutsa, Sioux, Plains Cree, Plains Ojibway, Sarasi, Omaha, Ponca, Ute, Shoshone, Mandan, and Kiowa, tribes. As with all cultures, the Native Americans also feel that seasonal and celestial cycles are important to them, mostly because they migrated so much in their past.

The ceremony lasts 16 days. The first 8 days are spent in preparation. The performance is 4 days. Then 4 days of abstinence. This is a time for renewal and healing. They feel it was crucial this ceremony be held at midsummer when the sage plant was succulent and when the sun was at it’s highest point in the sky.

The participants of the dance fasted (not eating or drinking) during the actual dance. They’d take a sweat bath in the morning on the first day. Then they’d paint their bodies in the symbolic colors mentioned above. They’d dress in a deerskin apron and wristlets. They wore anklets made of rabbit’s fur. And, they had a feather in their hair. Members from tribes many miles away would come and set up their tipis to form a circular dance area around the sun pole. This sun pole had been cut and painted in advance. (See below) The music accompaniment of the Sun Dance is a large drum, along with ceremonial songs. The dancers will circle in procession as a way of communing with the creator, the sun and the earth.

Source: brownielocks Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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