By Roseanne McKee
Republished with permission of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
This is part three of a column a style show presented by Osage elder Margaret Bird to Tulsa tourists at the Community Center in Pawhuska on Oct. 26.
Samantha Good Eagle wore a jingle dress, which is heavy because of the metal jingles. She also had buckskin leggings on. Bird shared that as told to her by a northern tribe the jingle dress originated from a dream by an elder father following prayer due to the sickness of his daughter. The elder who had the dream instructed that the dress be made. The girl wore the dress, got better and started dancing, she said. The jingles on this dress were made from snuff cans that had been rolled, Bird said. Several tribes wear this dress, but this one is for the Menominee tribe, she said.
“In the jingle dress they don’t carry a shawl when they’re dancing. They usually have a plume in their hair and a fan,” she said.
Jacquelene Kemohah, who is Osage and Creek, wore a Navajo velvet shirt with silver sewn into it and a necklace of turquoise before it turns blue. She carried a wool shawl. The velvet worn is not like velvet as we know it, Bird said.
“It is fine velvet, and they will take this shirt with all this silver on it, and they will wash it in a pan. They’ll hang it up and they’ll put it on. … They’ll have a big concho belt that they’ll wear with it. There is a binding on the inside of the hem of the velvet skirt, which they call their slip,” Bird explained. Kemohah also wore a necklace of turquoise before it turns blue, and she carried a wool southwest shawl, Bird said.
Kimberly Brave wore “an old-time, on-contact Cherokee dress. When they saw the Cherokee Indians on first contact, this is the kind they wore. … She’s got a necklace with a spider — the Cherokee know about that. … She’s carrying a fan out of turkey, and it’s a quill work on birch bark fan. … She’s wearing a wrap-around moccasin … and this is the purse they would carry,” Bird said referring to the turtle shell purse Brave carried.
“We don’t go out and kill things to make things, we find them already dead. There were bells, so they had contact with the white people because they had hawk bells,” Bird said. The hawk bells were little brass bells the Europeans brought to trade, she said.
In the Carolinas there was a white bird, a Lune, and they took the fluff from the bird and used pitch, or tar, to attach the feathers on the dress, Bird said.
Referring to beads traded with Europeans, Bird said, “a lot of the beads they traded weren’t good for you. When you put the beads under a black light, they just shine. … the beads would have some kind of chemical, but the Europeans didn’t know that. Just like the ribbon had acid in it. After 50 years, the old silk ribbon deteriorates. The colors of the ribbon were also limited not all the vivid, bright colors we can get now.”
Next, Melissa Murray wore a purple Winnebego dress. “She’s got a silver broach. … They put a lot of silver work all over and silver washer pins. They embellished clothes and leggings with silver work and ribbonwork,” Bird said.
Murray also wore leggings that matched the dress, moccasins and carried a shawl and a fan.