The Sundance Ceremony

Channel: thereelindian   |   2013/09/14
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The Sundance Ceremony
The Sundance Ceremony
::2013/09/14::
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Fakir Musafar: Sundance.
Fakir Musafar: Sundance.
::2011/10/04::
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The Sun Dance Kids Yoga/Music Video by Bari Koral Family Rock Band
The Sun Dance Kids Yoga/Music Video by Bari Koral Family Rock Band
::2009/04/30::
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Native American - Sun Dance
Native American - Sun Dance
::2009/07/17::
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Sun - Dance (Do What You Wanna Do) (1978)
Sun - Dance (Do What You Wanna Do) (1978)
::2008/01/20::
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Lakota/Dakota Sundance Songs
Lakota/Dakota Sundance Songs
::2010/04/17::
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(Kotaro Oshio) Sundance - sungha Jung
(Kotaro Oshio) Sundance - sungha Jung
::2013/02/24::
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Sundance (2014) - Whiplash THR Interview - Miles Teller Movie HD
Sundance (2014) - Whiplash THR Interview - Miles Teller Movie HD
::2014/01/21::
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NOT ANOTHER SUNDANCE MOVIE
NOT ANOTHER SUNDANCE MOVIE
::2014/01/13::
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Busta Rhymes x Q-Tip -
Busta Rhymes x Q-Tip - ' Butch & Sundance '
::2013/12/11::
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Live@Sundance 1/20 Host: Casey Neistat
Live@Sundance 1/20 Host: Casey Neistat
::2014/01/20::
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Meet The Artists
Meet The Artists '14: Stephane Soechtig - Sundance Film Festival
::2014/01/06::
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Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid
::2012/06/08::
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Sundance Film Festival - 10 Films To See (2014) Film Festival Video HD
Sundance Film Festival - 10 Films To See (2014) Film Festival Video HD
::2014/01/11::
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The Sun Dance
The Sun Dance
::2011/05/01::
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Sundance Film Festival 2014: Day One Press Conference
Sundance Film Festival 2014: Day One Press Conference
::2014/01/17::
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Greyson Chance - Temptation - Sundance ASCAP Music Café
Greyson Chance - Temptation - Sundance ASCAP Music Café
::2014/02/03::
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Live@Sundance 1/19 Host: Shira Lazar
Live@Sundance 1/19 Host: Shira Lazar
::2014/01/19::
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Sundance (2014) - Calvary Official Trailer - Chris O
Sundance (2014) - Calvary Official Trailer - Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly Movie HD
::2014/01/09::
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The Raid 2: Berandal World Premiere Fan Q&A at Sundance 2014
The Raid 2: Berandal World Premiere Fan Q&A at Sundance 2014
::2014/01/27::
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Sundance (2014) - Killers Official Trailer 1 - Rin Takanashi Action Movie HD
Sundance (2014) - Killers Official Trailer 1 - Rin Takanashi Action Movie HD
::2014/01/09::
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Kristen Stewart on Her New Film,
Kristen Stewart on Her New Film, 'Camp X-Ray' | Sundance 2014
::2014/01/18::
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KATIE AND KA SUNDANCE *FIRST* VIDEO TOGETHER (Q/A WEDNESDAY)
KATIE AND KA SUNDANCE *FIRST* VIDEO TOGETHER (Q/A WEDNESDAY)
::2014/01/03::
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Live@Sundance 1/22 Hosted by Casey Neistat
Live@Sundance 1/22 Hosted by Casey Neistat
::2014/01/22::
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Greyson Chance - Animal in the Night - Sundance ASCAP Music Café
Greyson Chance - Animal in the Night - Sundance ASCAP Music Café
::2014/02/08::
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*1997* THE TRUE LOVE STORY OF KATIE AND KA SUNDANCE (ORIGINAL VIDEO FOOTAGE)
*1997* THE TRUE LOVE STORY OF KATIE AND KA SUNDANCE (ORIGINAL VIDEO FOOTAGE)
::2013/12/28::
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Sundance (2014) : Kristen Stewart On Her Pant-Soiling Moment With Robert Redford - THR
Sundance (2014) : Kristen Stewart On Her Pant-Soiling Moment With Robert Redford - THR
::2014/01/21::
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'The Raid 2' Video Review From 2014 Sundance Film Festival
::2014/01/22::
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The Wolf of Sundance
The Wolf of Sundance
::2014/03/04::
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Greyson Chance - Interview - Sundance ASCAP Music Café
Greyson Chance - Interview - Sundance ASCAP Music Café
::2014/02/13::
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Dawn (2014) - Sundance Film Festival Short Film Review by Mark Krawczyk
Dawn (2014) - Sundance Film Festival Short Film Review by Mark Krawczyk
::2014/01/20::
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Live@Sundance 1/21 Host: Casey Neistat
Live@Sundance 1/21 Host: Casey Neistat
::2014/01/21::
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Perséphone - Retro Funky (SUNDANCE remix)
Perséphone - Retro Funky (SUNDANCE remix)
::2013/04/15::
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Mediterranean Sundance - Al Di Meola
Mediterranean Sundance - Al Di Meola
::2009/06/30::
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Sundance (2014) - Killers Official Trailer
Sundance (2014) - Killers Official Trailer
::2014/01/14::
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God
God's Pocket Q&A: 2014 Sundance Film Festival Premiere with Philip Seymour Hoffman
::2014/01/19::
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Sundance (2014) - The Babadook Trailer - Horror Movie HD
Sundance (2014) - The Babadook Trailer - Horror Movie HD
::2014/01/22::
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Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Chapter 1
Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, Chapter 1
::2014/02/05::
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Sundance 2014
Sundance 2014
::2014/01/27::
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Sundance (2013) - Big Sur Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Sundance Movie HD
Sundance (2013) - Big Sur Official Trailer #1 (2013) - Sundance Movie HD
::2013/01/03::
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Anna Kendrick Talks
Anna Kendrick Talks 'Happy Christmas' Role & 'Cups' Success -- Sundance 2014
::2014/01/20::
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Rachel McAdams Shares Favorite
Rachel McAdams Shares Favorite 'Mean Girls' Line & Chats New Film -- Sundance 2014
::2014/01/20::
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Ayoade Jokes About Redford at Sundance
Ayoade Jokes About Redford at Sundance
::2014/01/19::
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Sun Dance By Frank Ticheli
Sun Dance By Frank Ticheli
::2009/07/25::
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Whiplash (2014) - Sundance Film Festival World Premiere Q&A with Miles Teller & Damien Chazelle
Whiplash (2014) - Sundance Film Festival World Premiere Q&A with Miles Teller & Damien Chazelle
::2014/01/19::
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Paco De Lucia, Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin - Mediterranian Sun Dance Live
Paco De Lucia, Al Di Meola and John McLaughlin - Mediterranian Sun Dance Live
::2009/12/15::
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DRAMA Concussion SUNDANCE FF 2013 - Official Trailer | HD
DRAMA Concussion SUNDANCE FF 2013 - Official Trailer | HD
::2013/09/16::
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Lloyd Neck - 2008 Sundance Film Festival
Lloyd Neck - 2008 Sundance Film Festival
::2012/09/03::
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Live@Sundance - 1/17 with Host Shira Lazar and Special Guests Josh Leonard and Janicza Bravo
Live@Sundance - 1/17 with Host Shira Lazar and Special Guests Josh Leonard and Janicza Bravo
::2014/01/17::
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Paco De Lucia & Al Di Meola The Reunion "Mediterranean Sundance"
Paco De Lucia & Al Di Meola The Reunion "Mediterranean Sundance"
::2011/08/17::
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The Sun Dance is a ceremony practiced by Indigenous Peoples of North America prior to European contact. However soon after contact and with the formation of Canada and United States both countries created laws banning ceremonies and even outlawed Indigenous people from speaking their native languages. Those that continued to practice their culture were imprisoned or even killed for doing so. As a result and in order to preserve Indigenous culture for future generations most ceremonies went underground and were practiced in secret.

In contemporary cultures[edit]

In very general terms, there are features common to the ceremonies of the sun dance cultures, such as dances and songs passed down through many generations, the use of a traditional drum, a sacred fire, praying with a pipe, fasting, and in some cases the ceremonial piercing of skin. Certain native plants are picked and prepared for use during the ceremony. Natural medicines are used for health and well being, as are traditional foods. Wood is harvested for a sacred fire, and a firekeeper must tend the fire that burns for many days and nights.

Typically, the sun dance is an agonizing ordeal for those who participate in it. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, young men dance around a pole to which they are fastened by "rawhide thongs pegged through the skin of their chests."[1]

Although not all sun dance ceremonies include dancers being ritually pierced, the object of the sun dance is to offer personal sacrifice as a prayer for the benefit of one's family and community. The dancers fast for many days, and the ceremony takes place over a four day period. The ceremony is held outside in the summer time, in the open air, not fully sheltered from the wind, sun, or rain. Some groups use the same site each year, while others will move from place to place.

At most ceremonies, family members and friends stay in the surrounding camp and pray and support the dancers. People camp at the site for many days, with some arriving from far away places. In preparation for the sun dance, wood, food, and medicines are gathered in the traditional manner, the site is set up, offerings made, elders consulted, and feast food prepared. There are sweat lodges and other ceremonial preparations. Much time and energy by the entire community is needed for the sun dance to work. Communities plan and organize for at least a year to prepare for the ceremony. Usually there is one leader or a small group of leaders in charge of the ceremony, but many elders help out and advise. A group of helpers do many of the tasks required to prepare for the ceremony.

There is a reluctance to talk about the subject in any great detail. Those that know a lot are not willing to share with someone who might abuse the traditional ways. There are concerns about the ceremony not being passed along in the right ways. The words used at a sun dance are often in the native language and not translated. There is a great attempt to have the utmost respect for the ceremony, and this is often done with speaking few words about it. The detailed way a respected elder talks, teaches, and explains is unique and not easily quoted or intended for publication.

In 1993, responding to increasingly common desecration of the sun dance and other Lakota sacred ceremonies, "the Lakota Summit V, an international gathering of US and Canadian Lakota, Dakota and Nakota Nations, about 500 representatives from 40 different tribes and bands of the Lakota unanimously passed a 'Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality'."[2][3] In 2003, the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe of the Lakota asked non-Native people to stop attending the sun dance (Wi-wanyang-wa-c'i-pi in Lakota); he stated that all can pray in support, but that only Native people should approach the altars.[4] This statement was supported by bundle keepers and traditional spiritual leaders from the Cheyenne, Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota Nations, who issued a proclamation that non-Natives would be banned from sacred altars and the Seven Sacred Rites, including and especially the sun dance, effective March 9, 2003 onward:

The Wi-wanyang-wa-c'i-pi (Sundance Ceremony): The only participants allowed in the center will be Native People. The non-Native people need to understand and respect our decision. If there have been any unfinished commitments to the sundance and non-Natives have concern for this decision; they must understand that we have been guided through prayer to reach this resolution. Our purpose for the sundance is for the survival of the future generations to come, first and foremost. If the non-Natives truly understand this purpose, they will also understand this decision and know that by their departure from this Ho-c'o-ka (our sacred altar) is their sincere contribution to the survival of our future generations.[4]

A Cheyenne sun dance gathering, c. 1909.

In Canada[edit]

Though only some Nations' sun dances include the piercings, the Canadian Government outlawed that feature of the sun dance in 1895. It is unclear about how often this law was enforced or how successfully, and, in at least one instance, police gave their permission for the ceremony to be conducted. Many ceremonies were simply done quietly and in secret. With better understanding of and respect for Indigenous traditions, the government has ended its prohibitions. The full ceremony has been legal in Canada since 1951, and in the U.S. since passage of the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act.[5] The sun dance is practiced annually on many reserves and reservations in Canada.

Although the Government of Canada, through the Department of Indian Affairs (now Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada), persecuted sun dance practitioners and attempted to suppress the dance, the ceremony itself was never officially prohibited. Regardless of the legalities, Indian agents, based on directives from their superiors, did routinely interfere with, discourage, and disallow sun dances on many Canadian plains reserves from 1882 until the 1940s. Despite this, sun dance practitioners, such as the Plains Cree, Saulteaux, and Blackfoot, continued to hold sun dances throughout the persecution period. Some practiced the dance in secret, others with permissions from their agents, and others without the piercing aspects. At least one Cree or Saulteaux Rain Dance has occurred each year since 1880 somewhere on the Canadian Plains. In 1951, government officials revamped the Indian Act and dropped the legislation that prohibited the practices of flesh-sacrificing and gift-giving.[6]

In most sun dance cultures, it is forbidden to film ceremony or prayer, so few images exist of authentic ceremonies. Many feel that when money or cameras enter, the spirits leave, so any photo taken does not depict an authentic ceremony. However, in Alberta, the Kainai Nation permitted their sun dance to be filmed in the late 1950s. The result was the 1960 National Film Board of Canada documentary Circle of the Sun.[7][8] Manitoba archival photos clearly show that the ceremonies have stayed quite similar since at least the early 1900s.

To protect, honour, and keep the ceremony sacred, there is a reluctance to relate many details about the event. Decades of disrespect and ridicule are partly to blame. In some cases the elders think that the whole process is best experienced instead of described with mere words. There are too many details to fully explain the whole process in a proper way. Some experience is needed to fully understand what the ceremony is about, what it means, and how it takes place over many days. Greater respect and protection is required to preserve the traditional ways, places, native plants, languages, and to not abuse what was passed down over many generations.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Young, Gloria A. "Sun Dance." Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. The Oklahoma Historical Society. Accessed 28 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Whereas sacrilegious "sundances" for non-Indians are being conducted by charlatans and cult leaders who promote abominable and obscene imitations of our sacred Lakota sundance rites; ... We hereby and henceforth declare war against all persons who persist in exploiting, abusing, and misrepresenting the sacred traditions and spiritual practices of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota people." - Mesteth, Wilmer, et al (1993) "Declaration of War Against Exploiters of Lakota Spirituality."
  3. ^ Taliman, Valerie (1993) "Article On The 'Lakota Declaration of War'." News From Indian Country, Indian Country Communications, Inc.
  4. ^ a b Looking Horse, Chief Arvol (2003) "Protection of Ceremonies O-mini-c'i-ya-pi"
  5. ^ "American Indian Religions Freedom". Native American Rights Fund. Justice Newsletter. Winter 1997.
  6. ^ Brown, 1996: pp. 34-5; 1994 Mandelbaum, 1975, pp. 14-15; & Pettipas, 1994 p. 210. "A Description and Analysis of Sacrificial Stall Dancing: As Practiced by the Plains Cree and Saulteaux of the Pasqua Reserve, Saskatchewan, in their Contemporary Rain Dance Ceremonies" by Randall J. Brown, Master thesis, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, 1996. Mandelbaum, David G. (1979). The Plains Cree: An ethnographic, historical and comparative study. Canadian Plains Studies No. 9. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center. Pettipas, Katherine. (1994). "Serving the ties that bind: Government repression of Indigenous religious ceremonies on the prairies." Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.
  7. ^ Rosenthal, Alan; John Corner. New challenges for documentary. Manchester University Press. pp. 90–91. ISBN 0-7190-6899-1. 
  8. ^ Low, Colin; Gil Cardinal. "Circle of the Sun". Curator's comments. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 4 December 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

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