Dog Dance of San Juan




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Dog Dance o f San Juan

Two male dancers, nude except for white apron, embroidered in colors; beaded moccasins; bells below knees; wide armlet above elbow hung with ribbons; Sioux war bonnet with long tail of eagle feathers. Each carries a red oblong about i 2 inches wide and 6 inches high, attached at top to a stick, horizontally; feathers hanging from bottom of oblong. This is held in the left hand by the stick, so as to hide the face. Each carries a rattle in the right hand. A long red knitted woman's belt attached at back of waistline, one woman holding the two other ends, The woman wears the conventional black dress, and square white shawl edged with a broad band of red.

The Dogs dance very much bent forward. The two steps they use are:

(at) Single step around selves. Each time they face the woman, she bends knees in curtsey.

(b) As (a), but double time, the woman shuffling.

The Dogs dance in absolute unison, facing the same direction all the time, going round and round themselves.

I do not know whether the Pueblos have a story of the Dog Feast parallel to that of the Dakota. But there are elements in the above dance which suggest such a probability.

The story told by Chief Maza-Blaska is as follows:

"Behold, it was thus: Once, long ago, in the season of falling leaves, the Dakotas went hunting at the edge of the Black Hills. The people were starving, and great was their need of meat. So they vowed: `If only we find buffalo, we will give all our dogs a feast.' This they vowed.

"Lo, soon afterwards they saw a herd and killed many buffaloes, and came back to their camp, weary but rejoicing. Then, true to their vow, they made a great feast for their dogs; in the centre of the camp, they piled all the tallow from the buffaloes, and amid this they scattered the tongues. So they did, giving to the dogs the choicest morsels. Then the men took their dogs and painted them for the feast. With a stripe of red down the back, and red on the side of the jaw, they painted them.

"Then they led them to the pile of tallow in the centre of the camp, and held them in a circle while all sang, `May you feast well, O dog!'


Three times they sang this song, while the dogs strained and growled ,nd yelped. Then a man cried out, `Hold well your dogs. Once more shall the song be sung.'

"So yet again the people sang, while the dogs strained harder; then at the last of the song-away! The dogs flew at the meat, and devoured it eagerly, every morsel. Lo, they as well as their masters had hungered long." (Indians' Book, p. S8.)

Out of this story and the song that goes with it, and with pictures in mind of the SAN ,JUAN DOG DANCE, we suggest:

Song No. 7

Shunka 0lowan-Song o f the Dog Feast (Sioux)

Shun - ka wa - ya - a - a - to - ni - i - i - in Shun - ka wa -

~r ' --- s-

L/ 2

VZ= P, r"

ya - a - a - to - ni - i - i - in Shun-ka - wa - ya - a - a - to -

- -

t =

~0 -

ni - i - i - in Shun-ka wa - ya - a - a - to - ni - i - i - in

-_- _a!-~s-r ---,~--r--!-r1-


Shun - ka wa - ya - a - a - to - ni - i - i - in Shun - ka wa -

-r ya - a - a - to - ni - i - i - in

Natalie Curtis-Indians' Book, p. 88.

e - ya e - e yo

See Also:

Dog Dance of Woodcraft

Rhythm of the Redman






Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
Arrow Dance of the Navaho ] Basket Dance of Cochiti ] Basket Dance of Woodcraft ] Bow & Arrow Dance of Jemez ] Bow & Arrow Dance Woodcraft ] Comanche Dance of Woodcraft ] Comanche Dance of Zuni ] 2nd Comanche Dance of Zunis ] Corn Grinding Dance Woodcraft ] Corn Grinding Song of Zuni ] Coyote Dance of Woodcraft ] Dance of the Mudheads at Zuni ] Deer Dance of the Navahos ] Deer Dance of San Juan ] [ Dog Dance of San Juan ] Dog Dance of Woodcraft ] Doll Dance ] Eagle Dance of Tesuque ] Eagle Dance of Woodcraft ] Green Corn of Santo Domingo ] Harvest Dance of Zuni ] Hoop Dance of Taos ] Hoop Dance of Woodcraft ] Hopi Snake Dance ] Mountain Chant of the Navaho ] Pipe Dance of San Juan ] Rain Dance of Zuni ] Yei-Be-Chi ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.