As a so called (non-paid) local Tribal Historian (White Guy age 73)I write down and distribute essays on various topics. I am wondering if any of you can help me with the Wounded Warrior pantomime that was part of the Grass Dance.
Twenty / thirty years ago local people described the event, but as they were children, they could not provide much information. I know during the society meeting they would sing a Soldier Song during which one of the members would fall to the ground. They said the fallen warrior would kick a foot to show he was still alive. Two dancers would each grab and arm and drag him off. Then they would giveaway. No one could even remember the names or even the Dakota name for this pantomime. Naturally each of the three participants had to have actually accomplished this event they were portraying. Once these Grass Dance Society members died or retired, so ended this demonstration.
Can anyone help me locate similar descriptions or provide additional information? Louie Garcia Ft. Totten, ND
maybe, this is an answer for your question . I am not sure.
Various kinds of dances are usually performed during the course of a powwow. The Sneak-up Dance, also called the Scouting or Wounded Warrior Dance, is often done first.... One version of the song tells of a brave warrior who has been wounded in battle and is being carried back by his comrades :
„ Le yuha manipe; eca blotahunka ca wisoeyape „ ( They are carrying him; he was a very brave man; so they wounded him )
And here, an explanation by Jonathan Holmes :
I’ve learned from a number of Lakota Elders that the original Hunka bloka olowan (“Honored Warrior Song”), later called the Sneak-Up Song around the time of the wild west shows, had to do with certain warriors who would sneak into the thick of a battle, at great personal danger, to carry a wounded comrade to safety. The song was said to be a remnant of a Warrior Society Dance (perhaps the Brave Heart Society), called Tunweye wacipi (“Scout Dance”), back in the buffalo days. I’ve also learned from Lakota elders that the original version of the dance went something like this: First warriors/veterans known to have been wounded in battle would be escorted to the center of the dance arbor. Then, lying on the ground in the center of the dance arbor, these wounded warriors/veterans would remain during the first part of the dance. Dancers would then line up on one side of the dance arbor, standing side by side, facing the same direction, looking towards the wounded warriors/veterans. When the rolling drum beats start, in the beginning of the song, symbolizing the spiritual power of the thunderstorm, the dancers rattle their bells to increase the sound of the thunder, while making movements which represent the attempts to look for their wounded warriors in the dust and confusion of the battle. The drum beats would then change, and the dancers slowly danced, advancing side by side toward the wounded warriors/veterans in the center. This would represent how they would charge at the enemy to scatter the enemy away from their fallen comrades. When the drum beats stop, the dancers would stop and stay in place in their line. This rolling the drum movements followed by a dancing advance to charge on their enemies and scatter them away is repeated three more times. Each time the dancers would advance only 1/4 of the distance towards the wounded warriors/veterans in the center. Then after the fourth set, the dancers would help the wounded warriors/veterans to their feet and dance with them around the arbor. The Lakota Sneak-Up Song and Dance evolved into a type of veteran’s honoring song after WWI and WWII, and would be sung after a traditional veteran’s honoring song at pow-wows. Today however, although sometimes still used in the traditional way, the original Lakota Sneak-Up Song, and other more modern sneak-up songs that have been composed, are mainly used as contest songs for Men’s Northern Traditional dance contests.
Cinemo: Thank you for answering my request. Basically what I wanted was to set up a separate thread or place entitled Grass Dance. Here we could discuss all the various aspects of this important old dance and ceremony as well as the modern pow-wow. Without showing I am a "know-it-all", as I said I am 73 years old and dancing since I was age eleven.
The Sneak-Up Dance is not that old, dating from 1950's, a show business dance. The words Le yuha manipi eca blotahunka ca wasoseyapi. Le = this; Yuha = you have; manipi = they walk, Blotahunka = Honored male; Ca = so; Wasoseyapi = all mixed up they are. We find this word in Minisose =turbid/ mixed-up water, the Missouri River, sometimes called in English Muddy Water. Yes, the words are referring to a wounded leader. The mixed-up part means they are fighting hand to hand.
Originally the dancers knelt down on one knee and shook their bells, shielding our eyes from the sun looking at the horizon for the enemy, and also pointing to the ground showing we found the enemies track. Then advanced toward the center until the end of the verse and then we turned around and walked back to the starting place. Rattled our bells, advanced, and walked back three times. On the last set we advanced and then the singers continued another (5th verse) and we circled the arbor in a victory style dance. Sometimes the singers added a "Tail"= Sinteodowan. The rez here are "D" speakers.
It is very possible that on the Lakota reservations the Sneak-up was originally the Wounded Warriors dance. Not everyone did the exact same thing. This is what I mean by wanting to have a discussion about the Grass Dance Society / Pow-wow. Now someone else join in with what they heard about the Wounded Warrior / Sneak-Up Dance. Toksta ake wacinyanke kta do, Louie