Howard Terpning's
Art of Native American Ceremonies

Ceremony and spirituality extended beyond the individual to include the warrior societies that existed among all the tribes on the Great Plains. Membership in these elite groups was most often reserved for those who were distinguished by their bravery in battle. The Cheyenne Dog Soldiers were such a group, as were the Shirt Wearers of the Oglala Sioux. The leaders of the People emerged from these societies, not by formal election or appointment but by a consensus of confidence based on admiration and respect. The warrior societies were dedicated to the welfare of the People, and each had its own ceremonial traditions and medicine rituals.

The pomp and circumstance of ceremony were also attached to rituals related to sacred medicine bundles that were maintained for the mutual benefit of an individual band or an entire tribal unit. The Bear Knife bundle and the Thunder Pipe bundle were two of the most sacred and potent possessions of the Blackfoot. The ritual opening of the Bear Knife bundle was a petition to the spirit of the knife for courage and victory in war against all enemies. The Thunder Pipe bundle was opened at the first sound of thunder each spring in a ceremony designed to renew the pipe's power to heal and protect the Blackfoot people.


 

Blessing from the Medicine Man

Blessing from the Medicine Man

Four Sacred Drummers

Four Sacred Drummers

 

 

 

Preparing for the Sun Dance

Preparing for the Sun Dance

The Weather Dancer Dream

The Weather Dancer Dream

 

 

 

The Spectators

The Spectators


 
Additional Howard Terpning Art Prints
index page of artist Howard Terpning
art of the Native American Women 
page 3          page 4 

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