A healing dance of the Plains Ojibwe
Among the Plains Ojibwe, the Buffalo Dance was held to heal the sick and to bring the buffalo in times of scarcity. It was also a dance that was done to prepare for poundmaking.
Certain men who had dreamed of the buffalo had the right to hold the Buffalo Dance.
In preparation of the dance, a feast was prepared. Afterwards, four men wearing buffalo head-dresses or buffalo masks danced while four others sang the songs for the dance with various breaks to smoke the pipes of the singers and dancers. Eight women also took part in the ceremony.
During the dance, a small buffalo bull skin cap, made in representation of a spike horned calf, was brought out by the buffalo dreamer and used on the sick person (to be healed) and the buffalo spirit was prayed to so that it might cure the person.
The dance was an important group healing ceremony. (A Buffalo Dance song is provided below)
POLITICAL ORGANIZATION, CULTS, AND CEREMONIES OF THE PLAINS-OJIBWAY AND PLAINS-CREE INDIANS. BY ALANSON SKINNER, NEW YORK. 1914.
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