Notes on the Buffalo-Head Dance of the Thunder Gens of the Fox Indians

Notes on the Buffalo-Head Dance of the Thunder Gens of the Fox Indians

Notes on the Buffalo-Head Dance of the Thunder Gens of the Fox Indians

Notes on the Buffalo-Head Dance of the Thunder Gens of the Fox Indians

Excerpt

In the Fortieth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, pages 502 and 503, I first called attention to the sacred pack belonging to Pyätwäyā'A, and presented evidence to show that the ceremony belonging to this pack followed the general pattern of Fox gens festivals. (See also Bull. 85, Bur. Amer. Ethn., pp. 56, 102, and the literature cited.) With the accumulation of new material (including some as yet unpublished) it is also clear that the ceremony is not closer to the ceremony of Those Who Worship the Little Spotted Buffalo than to several other Fox gens festivals.

The two accounts given with Indian text supplement but also slightly contradict each other. Where they disagree I presume the first account is more trustworthy, for the author of the second version (Sam Peters) has not taken a prominent part in native Fox ceremonies for several years. The author of the first account (whose name is withheld in accordance with agreement so that he may not suffer socially) is very active in Fox religious ceremonies and has proved a good informant.

Pepyä'me'ckwi'A was given the sacred pack by her father, as he had no sons; for he desired to keep the sacred pack in the family. When Pepyä'me'ekwi'A was given it her boy was so small that he knew nothing. Her daughter Pyätwäyā' A (hypocoristic for Pyätwäyāgä''kwA "Sounds, her wings as she cormes") was accordingly given it, as she was older. The sacred pack was formerly kept at the dwelling of Tetepā'CA, husband of Pepyä'me'ckwi'A. PyittWäyā'A was a female, but this did not prevent her from being the custodian of the most important sacred pack of the Thunder gens of the Fox Indians. Pyätwäyā'A belonged to the Thunder gens because from the native Fox point of view being named under a special circumstance she would belong to the gens of her (known) grandfather; not because her mother was a member of the Thunder gens, as I presume Mr. Hartland would fondly imagine. It may be added that the sacred pack has recently (before 1924) been transferred to Tta ki ta ko si (Chuck).

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