Gray Horse is the first of the ceremonial and religious Dances, followed by Hominy, then Pawhuska. The Pawhuska Dances are held in a large, rectangular, open-walled “arbor” with packed bleachers on all four sides. Behind the bleachers, people usually set up lawn chairs and hang out behind the designated families ‘benches’ and watch the ceremonies. The Pawhuska Dances are called the’ I’n-Lon- Schka’, an Osage ceremonial dance that is held only once a year.
I’n-Lon-Schka means ‘playground of the eldest son,’ and is a chance for the 1st born son of each family to participate in a very important religious and cultural ceremony. Eldest children are considered to be special blessings, something the younger kids have to accept. I’n-Lon-Schka is traditionally also an important war dance and is more of a serious, religious event where people come for healing and to draw spiritual strength as well as taking place in June to commune in harmony with nature and eachother. This ceremony has been a great source of spiritual reinforcement for the Osage for over 100 years . The drum is the center, both literally and figuratively, it is placed in the middle of the arbor, and is also viewed as a sacred instrument in the ceremony. An eldest son is chosen to be the drumkeeper for a year, with his main duties being to protect and care for the drum. The drums are my favorite part of the ceremonies, thier magical rhythms have the unseen power to reach down deep into my soul.
In the I’n-Lon-Schka, the emphasis is on many things. The music, the dance, the ceremony, and the dress, rather than on any 1 specific part. For this reason, the men’s dancing is a ceremonial style that involves some bending down but is not as elaborate as the fancy dancing that occurs at pow wows. The dance steps are passed down the generations through observation so that the Osage men are quite literally following in their father’s footsteps. The men wear traditional dress, which includes otter hides and colorful beadwork, ribbonwork crafted by only Native American women. The Irquote n-Lon-Schka is such a spiritual event, taking pictures or video is strictly prohibited. So, sadly I have no pictures since I must obey and respect the Tribes Laws. But, these ceremonies must be attended in person to understand thier sacredness.
I just wanted to give a bit of background because the Dances are quickly approaching and I will probably be posting more in regards tot them.