Sacred Texts  Native American  Plains  Index  Previous  Next 


The Sun-Gazing dance should continue until all the captives have escaped, or until the next day has dawned, when, if they have not escaped, they should be freed from their bonds and the sticks removed from their wounds, and it will be considered that they have been rescued, which is as meritorious as an escape. When all have escaped or been rescued from captivity, the leader should stand at the entrance of the Dance Lodge and announce that the Sun Dance is finished. The red herald should proclaim this announcement throughout the camp and immediately all should come out of the Dance Lodge and the organization of the ceremonial camp is terminated and the ordinary, organization of the camps revived.

The marshals of the camps should require that the tipis and lodges, except the Dance Lodge, be quickly taken down and moved from the ceremonial camp circle. They may permit the people to take such parts of the Dance Lodge as they wish, but they should not permit any one to disturb the Sacred Pole. It should be left to stand with the Fetish and banner of the Shamans at its top until the Four Winds or the Winged God cast it down. When the tipis are moved from the ceremonial camp circle, each band should go its way and resume its ordinary vocations, but the individuals who have danced the Sun Dance may expect a vision in which there will be a communication from the Sun. This may be granted at any place or time before the dispersion of the next winter camp. One who danced the Sun Dance for the purpose of becoming a Shaman should choose a Shaman for his tutor and should be that Shaman's pupil until he pronounces

p. 121

him to be fit to have the Fetish and exercise the functions of a Shaman. Those who have danced the Sun Dance for other purposes should fit themselves for such purposes

A Shaman may alter or forbid any rite or custom pertaining to the Sun Dance, to effect either or all of the constituents. In fact, the form of the ceremony rests with the Shamans, they being the sole authority.

Next: The Hunka Ceremony