Saturday Open Thread: Jingle Dress Dance

Google’s Doodle about Jingle Dancing led me to some interesting videos and articles. Thought I’d share.


Origins of Women’s Jingle Dress Dancing

Origins of Women’s Jingle Dress Dancing

There are few pow wow dances as ebullient, or as symphonic, as the Jingle Dress Dance, especially when there are multiple female dancers moving together. The rows of metal cones, called ziibaaska’iganan in the Ojibew language, dangle from the dresses and rattle and clink as the dancers move. The traditional dance required the dancers to never cross their feet, never dance backward, and never complete circle. They kept footwork light, nimble, and close to the ground. Their dresses chirped as they moved. Modern Jingle Dress Dance allows more fluidity, the dancers can cross their feet, can complete full circles, and can dance backwards. The dresses are designed so they can move more freely, but the metal cones remain, singing along, while the dancer often carries a feather fan during the dance. The Jingle Dress Dance grew in popularity, and cultural significance, from the 1920s to around the 1950s, only to decline, go back to the dream-state from which it sprang, and rise back to life in the 1980s with the advent of pow wow expansion and competition.

… this story is told in Chapter Five by Brenda J. Child—during World War I, an Ojibew girl became very sick, possibly from the widespread Spanish influenza epidemic. Her father feared he was going to lose her, and sought a vision to save his daughter. He saw the dress and the instructions for the dance, and went about putting the dress together for his daughter, then asked her to do a few “springlike” steps, in which she always kept one foot on the ground. She started feeling better, and kept dancing. Finally, she recovered completely, and kept on dancing, and eventually she formed the first Jingle Dress Dance Society.

Much more at the link


Going to be a beautiful morning, so I’m going to get the pups out for a walk before it gets to warm, then gardening before the afternoon thunderstorms roll in. Biggest goal is to mow the back yard – which the ducks will hate. They love hiding in the long, cool grass. I indulge them an only mow it every two weeks.

What’s up for y’all?

Open thread

58 replies
  1. 1
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Out for my morning walk before the marine layer goes away. After that, cleaning out the garage.

  2. 2
    Ramalama says:

    There’s a pharmacy tech over on reddit (I read it so you don’t have to, ok?) who’s offering to help people in dire financial need to possibly help fill a script.

    If you’re struggling with things that your insurance won’t cover, barely covers, or covers but you still can’t afford, I can TRY to help find some kind of something that will get the cost down to a workable price. I cannot promise I’ll be able to for every drug at every pharmacy because some drugs aren’t covered. Period. I also will not be able to personally bill the card for you (they get run like insurance), so you’ll have to rely on your personal pharmacy to do so.

  3. 3
    J R in WV says:

    I haven’t seen Jingle Dress Dancers, it looks fascinating, I’m now waiting for the video to slowly slowly download. We saw dance demonstrations in Santa Fe once during the Native American art show on Museum Hill, and they were wonderful.

    Very athletic, ornate and artistic outfits, they used a recording of several musicians keeping time.

    I can’t dance, so as soon as I’ve fixed morning beverages I’m going outside to chain saw invasive woody brush, and wife will plant things, she has a backlog of pretty plants to get into the ground.

  4. 4
    Sab says:

    Thanks. This is an interesting. My dog and I inadvertantly crashed a powwow near Petoskey Michigan in the mid 1980s. They were very nice. I let some of the boys borrow my canoe, so they were out all afternoon paddling their dogs around. It was nothing as elaborate as this, more like a family reunion. I never thought to ask what tribe. They did mention that they had lots of relatives on the Canadian side.

  5. 5
    Mr. Prosser says:

    Out here (Colorado Western Slope) the jinglers are called tinklers (yeah, make a joke). In the past Utes made them from tin cans and the tops of snuff containers. Tinklers were and are used on bridles as well as dresses. Tinklers can be found at historical camp sites on the Uncompahgre and Grand Mesa. We have some in our museum site collections. Looking forward to the coming powwows.

  6. 6

    Coming to the end of the Valdez Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, Alaska, where I’ve seen some amazing playwriting and made new friends, all under the shadow of the stunning Alaska wilderness. Last night we took a tour by boat of Prince William Sound and saw the natural beauty that makes this place unique, and even saw a group of otters frolicking in the water.

  7. 7
    debbie says:

    Thank you for this. I’ve read plenty of descriptions of the jingle dance in novels, but this is the first I’ve actually seen. I’d be exhausted with all the jumping!

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  9. 9
    tybee says:

    I indulge them an only mow it every two weeks.

    you could leave a patch of long grass and then mow it two weeks later and leave another patch unmown when you whack the first patch…

  10. 10
    J R in WV says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    So sweet you’re having such a great time. We should have recalled that you were traveling and that was why you have been scarce here on the blog!

    Congratulations on the great trip!! PIcs for the photo album!!

  11. 11
    Another Scott says:

    Neat stuff. Thanks.

    In other news, TheHill:

    The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in Washington [D.C.] may review a group’s challenge to President Trump’s liquor license at his D.C. hotel because he allegedly doesn’t satisfy requirements of having “good character,” The Washington Post reports.

    The board issued an order Wednesday that blocked the Trump International Hotel’s motion to dismiss the protest, which came from an attorney, two former judges and some religious leaders who make up the Campaign for Accountability and Transparency Inc.

    The city requires that those who sell alcoholic beverages in the nation’s capital “is of good character and generally fit for the responsibilities of licensure.” The group asserts the Trump doesn’t meet that bar, the Post reports.



    Similarly, if he doesn’t hold the good character necessary to have a liquor license, then he has no business holding the lease from the GSA on the Old Post Office.

    The only thing that gets these monsters’ attention is losing money. Take away the money.


  12. 12
    Scotian says:

    Just a quick note for those wondering, yes I am still with us all , but I am going out for the day so this will likely be my only comment until early Sunday morning at the earliest. I am managing my grief over dad as well as I know how, my wife is of course being the rock for me she always has been, and I cherish my time here with you all, and reading the threads and comments helps me keep a focus I badly need now.

    So everyone have a great Saturday afternoon wherever you are and I will do the same to the best of my ability to do so.

    Take care and be well..

    PS if I was in better shape I would be very interested in the thread topic, quite interesting indeed on both visual and cultural levels.

  13. 13
    Wag says:

    What a great and energetic video to start the day!

  14. 14
    Another Scott says:

    @Scotian: Thanks for checking in. It’s a beautiful day here in NoVA (not Nova ;-), I hope you enjoy your weekend.

    Remember the good times.

    Best wishes,

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    Interesting topic and it looks so beautiful 😍

  16. 16
    rikyrah says:

    I have been meaning to ask you, TaMara:
    What do duck eggs taste like? You eat them for breakfast?

  17. 17
    trollhattan says:

    Today we drop the kiddo at SFO for her Germany exchange trip. Going to be a loooong three weeks without her.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    trollhattan says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:
    Seventeen and newly minted HS senior.

  20. 20

    @trollhattan: It’ll be good practice for the year after next. Ask Imm!

  21. 21
  22. 22

    @rikyrah: Kind of like eating butter – very rich and earthy (gamy?). I don’t really like them, but I have enough to feed the dogs one a day (split between the two of them, they are HUGE) – gives them a great coat. And enough leftover to share with friends who do like them.

  23. 23
    Miss Bianca says:

    Running lines for upcoming production of “Importance of Being Earnest”, gathering strength for tonight’s performance of “Hamlet”.

  24. 24
    MomSense says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    Hey you it’s so great to see you. Sounds like you’ve had an amazing trip.


    I have big hugs for you and your wife.

    I’ve been digging wild garlic out of my flower beds. – How did it get there? My neighbor dropped off two “special plants” the other day but they got too much rain. I’m trying to figure out if I can save them. The pup is taking a nice nap in the shade of a sugar maple and I can’t decide between limeade and a beer. Yes it’s early but yard work makes beer so appealing. My next project is rebuilding a sort of stone sculpture that chipmunks burrowed under. They made a terrible mess of it.

    Thus ends my stream of consciousness garden update.

  25. 25
    Miss Bianca says:

    @TaMara (HFG): I like duck eggs! They taste like pate!

  26. 26
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Mustang Bobby: Hey, you! Been thinking about you lately as our theater season kicks into high gear!

  27. 27

    @Scotian: Thanks for checking in. I am so sorry for the loss of your father. And I am glad this community brings you some comfort as you go through this loss and your own diagnosis. Whatever we can do, let us know.

  28. 28

    @Miss Bianca: Me eating pate (and probably cavier, too, LOL)

  29. 29
    zhena gogolia says:


    I’m so sorry.

  30. 30
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Scotian: Very good to hear from you. And thanks (and all good thoughts) to your wife.

    Saturday’s been slow, as we were woken early by a call from my MIL’s caregivers. Sorted now, but a sudden and not happy start to the day.

    Yesterday afternoon, though, was special: kayaking with my wife on the Sheepscot River (midcoast Maine). We were watching ospreys, one of whom flew by us very close, fish dangling from its mouth, when all of a sudden a bald eagle broke cover on the island to our right and flew right in front of us. Amazing. Badass bird.

  31. 31
    trollhattan says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor:
    Yup, makes it more real envisioning her flying off to ??? a year from now. Filling in that ??? is Job 1 now.

  32. 32
    MomSense says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    I’m going to be kayaking out of Georgetown tomorrow – out around Five Islands.

  33. 33
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Scotian: I was very sorry to hear about your dad. My sincerest condolences. We’re keeping good thoughts for you and the rest of your family.

  34. 34
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: @TaMara (HFG): I highly recommend them for making egg heavy dessert, like creme brulee and other custards/custard based desserts. The higher fat content in the duck eggs makes a big difference in the mouth feel of the dessert.

  35. 35
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: Alabama and Minnesota are the only two states left that provide rapists with these types of rights. Alabama I wasn’t surprised about, Minnesota I was.

  36. 36
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Mustang Bobby:

    Have you been absent for a while, or have I just missed your comments? Either way, glad to see you back. Otters are so interesting!

  37. 37
    chris says:

    Here’s one for the duck fanciers.

    Dog and Duck friendship (— 41 Strange (@41Strange) 15 June 2019

  38. 38
    West of the Rockies says:


    Mine goes to Scotland/Ireland/England for the Fringe Festival in a few weeks. Travel is so beneficial for young people! It gives them so much fresh perspective and experience.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: southern baptists and Lutherans….

  41. 41
    NotMax says:

    @Miss Bianca

    Have told the true story before but what the hey, it always gets a laugh.

    Was playing the male lead. During rehearsal (thankfully) – may have been dress rehearsal, time has fuzzed the exact date – reached an emotional scene which included this line of dialogue for my character: “You’re rubbing your heel in my raw soul!”

    Rehearsal going just dandy; mentally timing the slathering on of just the right proportions of angst as the scene progressed. Then out of my mouth at the proper moment, anguished, loud and raw, came this: “You’re rubbing your seal in my raw hole!”

    Much hilarity ensued, for many, many minutes. At the after closing shindig, the director presented me with a small stuffed animal – a seal.

  42. 42
    JPL says:

    @Tom Levenson: Several years ago, someone on this post introduced me to the Audubon Osprey nest on Hog Island in Maine. They are fascinating creatures to watch.

  43. 43
    JPL says:

    @NotMax: It’s a great story.

  44. 44
    Yutsano says:

    @Scotian: We will be here when you get back. Please take all the time you need.

    *jackal hug*

  45. 45
    NotMax says:


    Doesn’t change the gist story at all but now a nagging little voice in the back of the head is insisting the line was actually “You’re grinding your heel in my raw soul!”

    Just for the record. Not about to go excavating through boxes to see if I can find the script.

  46. 46
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Ukraine over Korea 3-1 in the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Another Scott says:

    @NotMax: Wow! That’s good! You ought to use that in a story.

    Yes, you ought to! :-)


  49. 49
    Mike in NC says:

    This is a great piece on Fat Bastard that appeared in the morning paper: “Trump’s Addiction To Conflict Sours Our National Mood” by Steve Chapman. The title says it all.

  50. 50
  51. 51
    NotMax says:

    @Another Scott

    Yup, that indeed was the play.

  52. 52
    Miss Bianca says:

    @NotMax: hee hee hee!

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    G and I just got back from the Oregon Zoo and hiking around Washington Park.


    Best birthday ever! 🥳🤩

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m so sorry for your loss. G and I both lost our dads within 6 months of each other and it was hard, but we eventually found a new equilibrium.

    You never stop missing them, but the first rawness does start to fade eventually. Let yourself work through your grief and don’t try to rush it. It takes time.

  55. 55
    Amir Khalid says:

    That’s a story definitely worth hearing again.

  56. 56
    Scotian says:


    Sadly time is not something I have much of, but I appreciate the thought. It is good advice in general, but when you are facing only weeks to months yourself, and only found out the prior week, not so viable. As I said though, taken in the spirit it is meant and recognized for the good advice it is in general.

  57. 57
    Bnut says:

    I used to do Native American dancing as a youth. I am white and Jewish as shit, it was through my Boy Scout troop. I did grass and traditional, had to learn the songs and play the drums and then got to dance. My outfit was amazing, sewed and threaded it all myself. I ended up going to lots of powwows and meeting so many wonderful people. I wasn’t the best, but I did place in traditional one year. The best grass dancers could have been gymnasts. Looking back it was a great experience, but I wonder how it would be looked at now. Was I culturally appropriating, even if I was accepted? Would I even be allowed to participate at all with the way the Boy Scouts are now? I’m old.

  58. 58
    Msb says:

    Thanks for the video. I’ve seen such dancing when a Sioux dance troupe came through my home town. I like it, but enjoy the music much more.

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