Turkey dance (R. nu'Gano'caniya': nu', turkey,
cano'caniya', going to dance) is danced by women only, circling two by two
around the centre pole, their step a turkey trot. To sing for them is a choir of
three or four men, who sit down around their drum, anywhere convenient. There is
no dance leader. The dancers wear a broadcloth blanket, lots of bead work, and
tied to their hair-braid at the back a plaque studded with small mirrors and
brass tacks, with ribbons pendent. (Fig. 5.)
Neither in connection with this dance nor at other times is there any
ceremonial use of turkey feathers, and turkeys are eaten. The Turkey dance is
not accounted a religious dance, it is merely "to pass the day away."198
There are other pleasure dances performed not on the dance floor but
off to the south side.
GakiDia'naGa' (R.) ("You are
in front of somebody")
Two big fires are built, east and west, from ten to fifteen yards apart, and
around them anti-sunwise circuits are danced. (Fig. 6 A.) A man leader gives a
shout and other men fall in behind him, the leader singing, the others singing
back. After the men have made this start the women fall in, two women behind two
men, the leader only going single. Serpentine figures are made, coiling and
uncoiling. (Fig. 6 A.) No drum, no special dress. "Stamp dance," White people
call this summer pleasure dance.199
This is started by the women who stand in half circle about the drummer
and choir for the first song. At the second song, the men fall in, alternating
with the women, all holding hands, and now proceeding to dance around the two
fires in a cord formation. (Fig. 6 B.)
Fig. 6. Dance formations
A. GakiDia'naGa' B.
Gani'Ga'niasiwa' C. GaGi'dj'aniican
GaGi'GO'ani' (R.) (to grab)
The women form a circle around the drummer, moving forward and back and
singing with the drummer. They sing to the men to come and grab them. The men
look for the girl they want, striking matches the better to find her. Each man
holds the girl with her blanket around both, and the couples dance on around.
This is an old tribal dance.
GaGi'dj'aniican (R.) (shake bells)
This is danced towards morning, i.e. it is the conclusive dance. Several men
stand in line, from thirty to forty, White men among them. They face the east. The leader shakes the bells, sleigh bells strung on a strap. All
sing. Then they start to go around the fires, the women, "after a good start,"
falling in behind the men they want to dance with, and taking hands. Each faces
the direction moved in, one hand forward, the other back. (Fig. 6 C.) Fifteen or
sixteen songs are sung.
In August there is a week of intertribal dancing, by Cheyenne, Kiowa,
Comanche, Wichita, and Caddo, at Washita or Anadarko or Wahtunga. The tribe that
is giving the dance sets the dance pattern, i.e. the other tribes dance what
their hosts dance. Were the Caddo the hosts, they would have the Ghost dance and
the Stomp dances, the former for two or three days or five or six days, followed
by the pleasure dances. In the Ghost dance the visiting tribespeople "would get
in anywhere," dancing with the Caddo.
In 1919 a scalp dance was held at Wahtunga in connection with two scalps
brought from Europe by Cheyenne soldiers.
taken into a society or adopted into a clan. He had gone on a war party with his
hosts and killed an enemy.--Compare Choctaw clan marks (Swanton 3: 163).
Possibly here again White Moon is confusing eponymous clan beings with
According to fray Francisco Casañas de Jesus María (1691) war paint was to
keep enemies "from recognizing them" (Hatcher, XXX, 214).
197 In the modern iruska ceremonial of the Pawnee a dance
chief says, "You dancers must be careful with the things you are wearing for if
you drop anything, one of those old men will have to take it up and tell of his
deeds. Then you must pay" (Murie, 627).
In Choctaw war dances the men w re on the head as many broken white
feathers as they had killed men (Swanton 3: 163).
198 It was danced among other dances when Absentee Shawnee visited
the Caddo "to make friends" through gift exchange (1882-1891) (Voegelin).
The Shawnee and many other tribes of central Oklahoma have these night social
dances or "stomp dances" in summer. Shawnee say this form of dance, with leader
shouting and no drum or gourd rattles used, is borrowed from the Creeks
Notes on the Caddo
Notes About the Book:
Source: Notes on the Caddo, Memories of the American
Anthropological Association, Elsie Clews Parsons, 1921.
Online Publication: The manuscript was scanned and
then ocr'd. Minimal editing has been done, and readers can and should expect
some errors in the textual output.
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Notes on the Caddo