A healing dance that is at the heart of the Ojibwe Nation
The Jingle Dress (ziibaaska'iganagooday) originated among the Ojibwe people long ago.
According to one legend, there was a powerful medicine man who had a beautiful and cherished granddaughter. One day she became sick. The grandfather was very concerned and he prayed to his manitou to help him heal his granddaughter. That night the manitou appeared to him in a dream. They showed him several women wearing beautiful dresses which made a powerful sound when they danced. The manitou taught him how to make the dress and what dance steps were to be performed. The manitou also played and sang to him the sort of songs that would make the dance work for healing his granddaughter and for healing the hearts of the Ojibwe people.
In the morning, the grandfather and his wife started to make the dress together according to the directions given to him by the manitou. When the dress was finished, the grandfather and his wife took the dress to their granddaughter. She wore it into the center of the camp. A man took the drum and proceeded to sing a song as directed by the grandfather. Then, because the granddaughter was so weak, the grandfather and grandmother helped support the girl as she tried to dance around in a circle. On the second time around, she could walk a little more with their help, and on the third time she was dancing slowly on her own. During her fourth time around, she was dancing the Jingle Dress Dance and was healed of her sickness.
Ever since, the Jingle Dress Dance has been regarded as powerful medicine and is considered by the Ojibwe to be the most beautiful of all dances at the pow wow.