Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community
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179 pages

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Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community: A Giving Heritage explores how gift exchange, motivated by the values of generosity and hospitality, serves as a critical component in the preservation and perpetuation of Osage society. Authors, Daniel C. Swan and Jim Cooley collaborate with members of the Osage Nation to discuss this foundational cultural practice over two centuries and in multiple social contexts.

The book begins with an in-depth examination of the Mízhin form of marriage, which bound two extended Osage families together for economic, biologic, and social reasons intended to produce value and community cohesion for the larger society. Swan and Cooley then follow the movement of Osage bridal regalia from the Mízhin from of marriage into the "Paying for the Drum" ceremony of the Osage Ilonshka—a variant of the Plains Grass Dance, which is a nativistic movement that spread throughout the Plains and Prairie regions of the United States in the 1890s. The Ilonshka dance and its associated organization provide a spiritual charter for the survival of the ancient Osage physical divisions, or "districts" as they are called today. Swan and Cooley demonstrate how the process of re-chartering elements of material culture and their associated meanings from one ceremony to another serves as an example of the ways in which the Osage people have adapted their cultural values to changing economic and political conditions. At the core of this historical trajectory is a broad system of Osage social relations predicated on status, reciprocity, and cooperation. Through Osage weddings and the Ilonshka dance the Osage people reinforce and strengthen the social relations that provide a foundation for their respective communities.

Foreword / Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, Osage Nation


A Note on Orthography


1. Mízhin Wedding Ceremonies

2. The Material Culture of Osage Weddings

3. The Osage Ilonshka

4. The Modern Ilonshka and Transfer of the Drum

5. Enduring Values in Osage Society

Appendix: Gift Exchange and the Reproduction of Osage Society


References Cited




Publié par
Date de parution 21 octobre 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780253043054
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 11 Mo

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in cooperation with the
This book is a publication of
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2019 by Daniel C. Swan and Jim Cooley
A free digital edition of this book is available at IUScholarWorks:
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Swan, Daniel C., author.
Title: Wedding clothes and the Osage community : a giving heritage / Daniel C. Swan and Jim Cooley ; foreword by principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear.
Description: Bloomington, Indiana : Indiana University Press, [2019] | Series: Material vernaculars | Indiana University Press, in cooperation with the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Indiana University. | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2019012149 (print) | LCCN 2019021189 (ebook) | ISBN 9780253043047 (ebook) | ISBN 9780253043016 | ISBN 9780253043016 (hardback : alk. paper) | ISBN 9780253043023 (paperback : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: Wedding costume-United States-History. | Osage Indians-Social life and customs. | Osage Indians-Rites and ceremonies.
Classification: LCC GT1753.U6 (ebook) | LCC GT1753. U6 S83 2019 (print) | DDC 392.5/4-dc23
LC record available at
1 2 3 4 5 24 23 22 21 20 19
First Printing 2019
To Preston Morrell Proceeds from the sale of this book will be used to support the open access edition
Foreword / Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, Osage Nation
A Note on Orthography and Osage Surnames
1 | M zhi n Wedding Ceremonies
2 | The Material Culture of Osage Weddings
3 | The Osage Ilo n shka
4 | The Modern Ilo n shka and Transfer of the Drum
5 | Enduring Values in Osage Society
Appendix: Gift Exchange and the Reproduction of Osage Society
References Cited

E NTER INTO THE WORLD OF THE WAHZHAZHI, WHICH IS WHAT THE Osage call themselves. I am a Wahzhazhi.
My grandmother Mary Lookout Standing Bear was the daughter of Principal Chief Fred Lookout of the Wahzhazhi. She was fluent in our Wahzhazhi language and learned the English language and Anglo cultural traditions when she attended boarding school. Before that, the ways of our Wahzhazhi people were the only ways of life that she knew. Most of what I learned about our traditions came from her, from my great-uncles and great-aunts, and from my many other relatives who understood that world.
This book contains rich descriptions of our Wahzhazhi history and traditions. Of the many sources that appear in this book, I personally knew or met a few of them, and every one of them was well versed in Wahzhazhi knowledge and practices. For the many sources whom I never knew, I rely on the professional integrity of the two authors. I met Jim Cooley in 1985 at the Osage Indian Days celebration in Hominy, Oklahoma, and I have known Daniel Swan for decades as a respected scholar on the Wahzhazhi and as a friend.
Osage wedding clothes is the theme of this book, a wonderful subject that connects to a vast range of teachings. This book traces our Wahzhazhi wedding clothes from their beginning long ago as military uniforms that were given to my people. Our ancestors decided that the women in our wedding ceremony would wear the coats. The authors have used a broad range of written and oral sources to describe the Wahzhazhi wedding ceremony. Surrounding these descriptions are related subjects that are themselves vast and complex. The authors then take us into the modern era where wedding coats are used in our largest traditional dance, the Ilo n shka, when a person who is designated as a new drum keeper gives several of these wedding outfits away when he pays for the drum.
I talked to the authors after reading the manuscript and told them that I was amazed that so much information had been collected and then organized into a readable story.
I am just one person with, as I said, a very limited amount of knowledge. I can only speak for myself. Other Wahzhazhi may read this and come to different conclusions. I hope that all people who read this book will find it as interesting as I have.
Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, Osage Nation June 28, 2018
Note: Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community (2019): p. ix-x, DOI: 10.2979/weddingclothesosagecommunity.0.0.01
T HE AUTHORS WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS THEIR APPRECIATION TO THE many individuals who supported and contributed to this book. Projects of this nature are long term and often bridge several tribal administrations and benefit from the contributions of many tribal program officers. This project is no exception, beginning with the endorsement of Chief John D. Red Eagle and his executive office in 2013. Subsequently the project has received strong support from Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear (2014-present), and we appreciate his continued interest and encouragement. His willingness to contribute the foreword to this work is greatly appreciated. We are particularly indebted to Kathryn Redcorn, director emerita of the Osage Nation Museum. Kathryn was an early and tireless supporter of our efforts, and her contributions were critical in facilitating community participation in our research. We also acknowledge invaluable assistance from former Osage Nation Museum employees Lou Brock and James Elsberry in facilitating and documenting the community research events sponsored by the museum in 2014 and 2015. Vann Bighorse, former director of the Wahzhazhi Cultural Center and current director of the Osage Language Department was a valuable partner in our efforts, and we appreciate his interest and contributions to the project. We wish to thank the staff of the Wahzhazhi Cultural Center and particularly Renee Harris and Rebecca Larsen Brave, for their assistance in organizing the 2015 community display of Osage wedding clothes at the Cultural Center.
We also wish to recognize Hallie Winter, director of the Osage Nation Museum and Addie Hudgins, director of the Wahzhazhi Cultural Center for their continued support of the project. The collections of these institutions were central to our effort. It was a great honor to work with Hallie and her staff to facilitate the display of the Wedding Clothes and the Osage Community exhibition at the Osage Nation Museum in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, on May 2, 2018. We are also indebted to Cameron Pratt, Osage Nation Language Department, for his invaluable assistance with the glossary that accompanies this book.
Many individuals facilitated our access to photographs, archival materials, artworks, and cultural objects that were vital to our research. We acknowledge this list may well be incomplete, but we want to recognize the assistance of Marilyn Van Winkle, Autry Museum of the American West; Debbie Neece, Bartlesville Historical Museum; John Lukavic, Nancy Blomberg, Ren e Miller, and Christina Jackson, Denver Art Museum; Holly Hasenfratz, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum; Beau Harris, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium; Susan Buchanan, Diana Cox, and Rob Cross, Gilcrease Museum; Brian Moeller, Huntington Library; Jill Ahlberg Yohe and Heidi Raatz, Minneapolis Institute of Art; Dawn Bonner, Mount Vernon Museum Association; Daisy Njoku, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution; Nathan Sowry, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution; Candace Greene, Felicia Pickering, Kristen Quarles, and Barbara Watanabe, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; Mary-Jo Miller, Nebraska Historical Society; Robert Delap, New-York Historical Society; Tara Dameron and Jon D. May, Oklahoma Historical Society; Kathryn Redcorn and Hallie Winter, Osage Nation Museum; Shannon Shaw Duty, Tara Madden, and Benny Polaca, Osage News ; Christina Burke, Darcy Marlow, and Shane Culpepper, Philbrook Museum; Tom Luczycki, Christina Naruszewicz, Sam Noble Museum, University of Oklahoma; John Lovitt and Jackie Rand Thompson, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries; Lisa Marine, Wisconsin Historical Society; and Renee Brumley, White Hair Memorial, Oklahoma Historical Society; and private collectors Lawrence T. Jones III and George Weston.
We wish to acknowledge the many members of the Osage community who shared stories, photographs, family heirlooms, and memories during the course of our research, including Vann Bighorse; Renee Brumley; Danielle Cass; Joe Cheshewalla; William Fletcher Jr.; Gideon Goodeagle Sr.; Gina Gray and Addie Roan Horse; Berbon R. Hamilton; Renee Harris; Julia Lookout; Mogri Lookout; Charles Pratt; Rise, Billie, and Quinn Proctor; Kathryn Redcorn; Jodie Revard; Romain Shackleford; the Shadlow family; Jerry and Ruth

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