Sacred Texts  Native American  Plains  Index  Previous  Next 

p. 104


When the Candidates have occupied the Sacred Lodge, the Superior should order the red herald to proclaim that the buffalo Procession will be formed. It should be formed near the council lodge with the Superior and Mentors at the head, followed by the escort, and then by all the people who are not otherwise occupied in preparation for the ceremony. The procession should move four times around the inside of the camp circle. This is to propitiate the Buffalo God and the Whirlwind God, for it is meet to please these Gods on the first holy day, because They are the patrons of domestic affairs and of love-making. Therefore, families march together in this procession, though young men and young women may walk side by side. The people should shout and sing in praise of these Gods and call aloud sentiments appropriate to the occasion. The young men and young women may make love and if one of them has a four-headed spear of grama grass it should be openly shown while marching. When the procession arrives at the council lodge the fourth time it should disperse.

Then the women should hasten to prepare food for the buffalo feast and when it is ready the red herald should proclaim an invitation for the old, the poor, and the needy to partake of it. These should assemble in a circle on the area, with the people about them. The women should place the food in the midst of the guests. A Shaman should dance the buffalo dance and in the meantime he should dedicate the food in each vessel with his Fetish, to the God of generosity, the Buffalo God. Then the women should select titbits which the attendants carry to the Candidates; next, they should serve the guests, that is, the old, the poor, and the needy; and finally, they should serve the people.

The festivities may be prolonged until the Sun is about half a hand breadth above the edge of the world, when all should solemnly wait while the Superior and Mentors go to the top of a nearby hill, and there, as the Sun disappears from sight, offer Him smoke, and pray Him to heed the words of the Buffalo which He will speak that night in commendation of the people.

At dusk the young men may sound the flute and young women go to trysting places, while the old men shake their rattles and the old women make incense of the bark or twigs of cottonwood. When it is dark the Superior and Mentors carrying their Fetishes should go around outside the camp circle and drive away such evil beings as may lurk near the camp. Then they should visit the Candidates to instruct or admonish them. Tins con eludes the formalities of the first holy day.

p. 105

Far into the night there may be social gatherings on the area and in the tipis. Men and women should treat each other on terms of equality and with friendly hilarity.

Next: Greeting the Sun