Books 1983 Omaha Harvest Celebration Pow-Wow Fieldnotes by Dorothy Sara Lee
There was a series of honoring songs for contest dancers and spectators more or less by tribal affiliation or by state. Omaha people came first, followed by the Winnebago, Sioux, and then dancers from various states, including Oklahoma and Florida. Each group danced by themselves once around the arena and some care was taken over choice and duration of songs. The Omaha danced to Hethu'shka songs; Sioux dancers were honored with fast Grass dance songs performed by the Honey Creek Singers, who were Sioux. A lone dancer from Florida danced around the arena—no other dancer joined her. The San Juan group was also honored, but seemed unsure at first of what to do. They started out on the dance ground with their drums, and Mr. Wolfe had to explain that they were not performing, but were being honored instead. Eventually, they entered into the spirit of the dance and two of the four singers tried out a few fancy dance steps as they went around the arena, much to the delight and approval of the crowd.
After several general dances, Mr. Wolfe announced an Oklahoma Two-Step, which proved to be a rather wild social line dance for couples. The Whipman and the Pow-wow Princes led the dancers, and soon a line of couples snaked and looped around the field at a seemingly frantic pace, which caused some couples to stumble and lose ground. At several intervals the front couple stopped and formed a bridge with their hands, through which the other couples danced and followed suit.
There was an interesting bit of interaction between the Whipman and two young women in traditional dance costume who were seated slightly in front of me. The Whipman seemed to have the task of encouraging contest dancers to participate in the general dances. During one of these, he paused and danced in place in front of these women, who did not move. After a while, one of the women got up and whispered to him and he danced away. Later that evening, there was a special honoring segment in which these two women were involved. A man carrying what looked like an eagle feather moved from the spot in front of the grandstand toward the drum shed. Facing away from the shed, he spoke quietly and waved the feather slightly, and after repeating this at each of the four sides of the shed, moved back to the front of the arena. The two young women stood together directly in front of the grandstand. The man, holding his eagle feather in one hand, passed his hands down the head and shoulders of each girl. Then the man, both girls, and family and friends participated in a honoring dance. The MC explained that this was a special dance marking the young women's return to the dance arena after a period of mourning, and the gestures the man used represented a symbolic combing of the women's hair.
Roger, who was understandably anxious about his expectant wife, left with the rest of the Lincoln group fairly early in the evening. Maria arrived around 9:30 and immediately discovered that her friends from San Juan Pueblo were featured performers at the pow-wow. In fact, she arrived just in time for their performance of the Buffalo Dance. All afternoon, I had heard about the San Juan dancers from