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» Societies

Plains Indian Warriors Societies

Bare Lance Owners

Bare Lance Owners

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.
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 Society

Dog Society

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.

Of all the typical Dog societies of the Plains tribes, the Cheyenne/Lakota Dog soldiers (Hotamétaneo'o) were most distinguished for warlike qualities. About 1830 a certain number of the Cheyenne men and the mixed Cheyenne-Lakota Masikota band joined and formed the Dog Soldiers in a body. Since that time the society has comprised about half the men in the tribe, and has been the most distinct, important, and aggressive of all the warrior societies of the Cheyenne.

Besides, Lakota had it's own version of the Dog society, which was known under a different name — Miwatani (also known as Owl Feather Headdress society and the Iyuptala). Moreover, as far as I can see, actually there were 2 or even 3 Dog societies (Miwatani and 2 branches of Cante Tinza society: Iku Sapa and Hanhe'pi Cante Tinza) with similar functions and paraphernalia (globular bonnets and no-retreat sashes).

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). The principal insignias (paraphernalia or symbols of office) of Lakota Miwatani warrior society consist of: (i) globular bonnets made of raven and/or crow feathers with a medial crest of eagle feathers at top and 4 stake-down red cloth sashes with rabbit ears; (ii) 2 whips with saw-tooth edges and guards of otter skin (similar to those of Sante Tinza); (iii) 2 rattles made of antelope dewclaws (hoof); (iv) bone whistles. As far as I can see, actually Lakota had 2 or even 3 equivalents of the Dog society (Miwatani and 2 branches of Cante Tinza society: Iku Sapa and Hanhe'pi Cante Tinza) with similar functions and paraphernalia (globular bonnets and no-retreat sashes).
Strong Hearts

Strong Hearts

The insignias (symbols of office) of Lakota Sante 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.
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). The Lakota individual Heyoka were not war leaders, but they would accompany war parties, typically making no prior announcement of their intention. The role of the Cheyenne contrary warrior in battle was to blow his whistle and charge when his comrades retreated. If he were carrying the Thunder-Bow into battle, he would lead the charge alone. When he switched the Thunder-Bow from his left to his right hand from behind his back, the signal would be given for the other warriors to follow his charge. Lakota Heyoka tied the cones of the kingfisher at the ends of their spears. Also the Lakotas tied snakeskins around the bows of their Contrary warriors and sometimes used them as a protection against danger
White Breast-Strap

White Breast-Strap

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).

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