The Power of Dance
My recent post (SB-138) prompted some interesting comments about the Sun Dance, so I’ll tell another story.
About 20 years ago, Peggy and I went to Lodge Grass, Montana, to visit our friend Joe Medicine Crow. Since his place was just 20 miles south of Crow Agency, we had to visit there also.
That whole country is pretty much sparse of trees, except along the Little Bighorn River and in the coulees. Off in the distance, on a rise, we saw some pickup trucks and a few horses parked in a small cluster, all by itself. Because it looked so strange and out of place, we drove over. I sensed that something special was happening, but I didn’t know what. We parked on the prairie about 200’ away, and cautiously walked over. The Crow Indians were having a Sun Dance.
I asked an elderly Indian woman, wearing a beaded dress, if we could watch the dance. She said, “Yes, but get smudged.” (cleansed) A young Indian boy approached us swinging a large tin can that was heavy with smoke. He was burning sweetgrass. (Two of my all-time favorite smells are sweetgrass in the field, and citronella on my hand).
The boy feathered some smoke on us and we walked over to where 7 men were participating in the dance. A woman next to us was quietly chanting as she cut her arm with a razor blade. She was mourning her dead, and blood was spilling on the ground.
Peggy and I understood the sacredness of the ceremony and we stood reverently, without speaking, just looking. About 40 others were in a circle around the dancers watching the event with us, mostly Indians. Although the dancers were wearing modern clothing, the ceremony was ancient, and we felt blessed to witness it.
After an hour or so, Peggy and I eased slowly back. It was time for us to go. Again, we were smudged by the cleansing smoke of sweetgrass.
An Indian woman thanked us for coming and we spoke for just a minute. I asked her why 6 of the 7 dancers were white men. She said, “When the white man cannot find what he needs in his own religion, he come to us.”
How can we ever have peace on this planet when every religion is correct from its own point of view? f