Pictographic Dress, Lakota
(Teton Sioux) (1885)
North or South Dakota
Muslin, graphite and pigment
"Lakota, muslin dresses painted with battle scenes could be worn only by women who had lost relatives in war. This dress belonged to Silent Woman (Ini'laon'win), whose brother, Bobtail Bear, had been killed in battle with the Crow. Painted by a male relative, the individual scenes covering the front and back of the dress represent Bobtail Bear's military exploits and accomplishments. While each side forms and overall pictorial composition, the various episodes represent distinct events separated in time and place. Bobtail Bear's glyph, or name symbol, appears over many of the figures, thus identifying him in the actions portrayed. Other symbols--human hands (touching the enemy), human heads (slain enemies), pipes (war parties led by Bobtail Bear) and horse tracks (enemy horses taken)--represent additional honors.”
"In the 19th century, when Mandan and Lakota warriors returned home after a battle, the tribe would hold a War Honor Dance (also called Victory or Return from Kill Dance), where women would wear pictographic dresses painted with combat scenes to honor their husbands, brothers, or sons killed in battle. They would also wear these dresses on other ceremonial occasions. The battle scenes were traditionally painted by male artists for the woman dressmaker, since only men could create representative art, while women would create designs, sometimes resulting from visions, that would bring power to the wearer." *
Lakota Instructions for Living
White Buffalo Calf Woman
Friend do it this way – that is,
whatever you do in life,
do the very best you can
with both your heart and mind.
And if you do it that way,
the Power Of The Universe
will come to your assistance,
if your heart and mind are in Unity.
When one sits in the Hoop Of The People,
one must be responsible because
All of Creation is related.
And the hurt of one is the hurt of all.
And the honor of one is the honor of all.
And whatever we do affects everything in the universe.
If you do it that way – that is,
if you truly join your heart and mind
as One – whatever you ask for,
that’s the Way It’s Going To Be.
To download a digital file of the Timeline History of the Kaw Nation, click here.
"Meadowlarks play a variety of roles in the folklore of different Native American tribes. The Sioux tribes feel a great affinity for meadowlarks, seeing them as a symbol of friendship and loyalty, and take care never to kill them. The musical song of the meadowlark is believed to be good luck by many Sioux people, and in the past, meadowlark whistles were thought to summon buffalo. The Arikara Indians, on the other hand, consider the meadowlark's call to be scolding, not melodious. The Arikara name for "meadowlark" literally means "woman's nagging." And in the Blackfoot tribe, meadowlarks are a symbol of peace and the presence of meadowlarks was said to be a sign that a camp or village would be safe from attack." [source]
"In Lakota/Dakota myth, larks were the messengers of the god Itokaga (Okaga). Itokaga was the representation of the south wind. South is the direction of the sun and the bringer of warmth, light, and life. Therefore the meadowlark is associated with all of these things, in addition to women’s medicine, which encompasses beauty, fidelity, happy marriage, and fertility. Seeing a meadowlark is good news for the viewer, because the lark brings abundance and impending harvest."[*]