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Plains Indian Warriors Societies

Crow Owners

Crow Owners

Among the Northern tribes the crow (Corvus corone) and the raven (Corvus corax) appear to be connected exclusively with success in war, the skin of the bird being worn around the neck or attached to the spear which was carried in war. A “Crow or Raven society” was noted among the Mandan. The Crow- or Raven-Owners occur among the Arikara, Crow, Dakota, Lakota (Kangi Yuha), Piegan, not to mention similarly named Pawnee organizations of unascertained identity. Most ot them share their origin, name and paraphernalia: raven lance, trimmed with raven/crow feathers, necklace made from a whole raven skin and other common traits.
Dog Soldiers

Dog Soldiers

Dog society was found in most of the Plains, Prairies (Arapaho-Gros Ventre, Arikara, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Dakota, Hidatsa, Iowa, Lakota, Mandan, Omaha, Plains Cree, Ponka, Sarsi) and even Great Basin tribes (Ute). All of them share common origin, name and distinctive paraphernalia: globular feather bonnet made of black (raven, crow, magpie) or yellow (eagle owl) feathers, no-retreat sashes, connected with bravery obligations, dewclaws (hoofs) rattles, bone whistles and other common traits.
Miwatani

Miwatani

The Lakota Miwatani society, (also known as Owl Feather Headdress society, because every member was obliged to have an owl-feather headdress (hiŋháŋ sonwapa)), was the Lakota version of the Dog society, which was found in most of the Plains & Prairies tribes (Arapaho-Gros Ventre, Arikara, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Dakota, Hidatsa, Iowa, Mandan, Omaha, Plains Cree, Ponka).

Little Dogs

Little Dogs

A society under this name or its equivalents (Small or Yoing Dogs) was found in many Upper Missouri (Arikara, Crow, Hidatsa, Mandan) and other Plains tribes (Assiniboine, Plains Cree). The Little Dog societies of the Mandan and Hidatsa are equivalent.
Crazy Dogs

Crazy Dogs

The Crazy (aka Mad or Foolish) Dog societies were organized among a number of Northern and Central Plains tribes (Arikara, Assiniboine, Atsina, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Crow, Hidatsa, Mandan). The Crazy Dog societies of the Crow, Mandan and Hidatsa are homologous: all have rattles, whistles, horned bonnets and sashes. Besides the sash-wearers, there were 3 or 4 officers wearing headdresses of buffalo hide, decorated with split horns and [trimmed with] ermine skins. To the back of these [headdresses] were attached strips of rawhide decorated with quillwork [later this type of headdresses was replaced by bonnets with ermine tubes]. Horsehair tufts, dyed yellow, were fastened to the tips of the horns, and occasionally hawk [perhaps owl?] wing feathers were used for additional decoration [beneath the horns].
Cante Tinza

Cante Tinza

The insignias (symbols of office) of Lakota Cante Tinza warrior society consist of: (i) 2 fringed shirts worn by the leaders; (ii) 2 whips with saw-tooth edges and guards of otter skin; (iii) 4 lances: two straight, one of them with a piece of red cloth with a row of black feathers altenating with a row white feathers at a short distance and two crooked ones; (iv) 2 split horn bonnets with a short cloth trailer to which 4 flat rows of eagle feathers were attached; (v) 2 sabers with pendent black otter-skin on the guards, adorned with 2 pairs of eagle feathers; (vi) 2 donut-shaped rattles; (vii) bone whistles.
Iku Sapa

Iku Sapa

The Lakota Iku Sapa warrior society was assumed to be a branch of Cante Tinza society or merely a Lakota version of the Black Mouths society of the Village tribes (Arikara, Hidatsa and Mandan). 4 leaders wore bonnets of bunched owl feathers with a crest of 6 eagle tail feathers in the center. They also wore sashes; () two pipes; (iii) sashes; (iv) bone whistles; (v) 4 lances.
Sotka Yuha

Sotka Yuha

The Lakota Sotka Yuha warrior society was assumed to be a branch or merely a variant of the older Ihoka society. The insignia (symbols of office) of this society consist of: (i) 2 pipes; (ii) 6 lances: 2 fur-wrapped crooked, similar to those of Wiciska, and 4 straight: 2 fur-wrapped similar to Cante Tinza straight lances and 2; (iii) 2 fringed shirts (iv) 2 whips; (v) 1 saber with pendent split black otter skin on the guard, adorned with 2 pairs of eagle feathers; (vi) hair ornament with silver disks.
Wiciska

Wiciska

The Lakota Wiciska (White Sash) warrior society was assumed to be a branch or merely a variant of the older Ihoka society. The insignias (emblems or symbols of office) of this society consist of: (i) 2 pipes similar to those used in Ihoka; (ii) 2 split buffalo horn bonnets decorated on top with a bunch of strips of rabbit fur or eagle down and on the back — a long trailer of red trade cloth with a crest of eagle feathers; (iii) 4 lances: two crooked ones wrapped with otter fur and decorated with eagle feathers; and two straight ones which have a strip of red cloth and a strip of blue cloth, wrapped with sinew so that the red and blued showed on succession; (iv) 2 sabers with pendent split black otter skin on the guard, adorned with 6 eagle feathers (instead of sabers Wissler mentions 2 nicked whips with brass tacks on the handle, so it seems that sabers were a later replacement or perhaps they were used interchangeably in different Lakota bands).
Thunder Warriors

Thunder Warriors

Thunder Warriors: (i) Lakota, Dakota and Cheyenne warriors who obtained war medicine, protection and help from the supernatural Thunder being (Thunderbird or the Winged One) without becoming Heyoka-Hohnuhka; (ii) the Heyoka-Hohnuhka or Contrary warriors who were individuals committed to doing the opposite of what others conventionally do, not merely in ceremony or when on the warpath, but on a permanent and daily basis. The Lakota, Dakota and Cheyenne Heyoka-Hohnuhka was a dream cult closely associated with the supernatural Thunder Beings (Thunderbirds, Thunder spirits or Thunder-bow).

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