Here is some information from our database of treasures.
Ghost dance clothing is rich with symbols of earth, sky, and animals of the spirit word: crows, eagles, and magpies, messengers to the heavens; and turtles, representatives of the earth.
Ghost Dance Dress
Remarks: Dress and Adornment – Religious Attire. Ghost dance dress – white buckskin dress, sinew sewn, rectangular strips pieced into shoulders, yoke/sleeves sewn to skirt, triangular extensions sewn at lower side seams to give skirt more flare; self-fringe at side seams, added fringe at sleeve ends, self and added fringe at hem. Upper 3/4 of dress is painted blue with blue outlined natural buckskin stars in rows, painted green band separates blue upper dress from bottom 1/4 which is painted yellow, groups of 4 line-and-circle designs extend into yellow from green band, bottom edge has a red line with triangles pointing up, outlined with blue, triangular extensions have 2 rows of blue dots and 1 row of red dots at bottom. Yoke has laced-in fringe across front and back, fringes are trimmed with mescal seeds, ermine tails and feet, dyed red breath feathers and satin ribbons in fuschia, blue, golden yellow on back, red, blue, faded light blue, and faded pink on front, front also has an advertising mirror from Herbert Spencer cigars and a sinew-wrapped lock of black hair. Four sleeve fringes on each sleeve are trimmed with 3 brass beads, right side fringes have 12 hawk bells, left side fringes have 9 hawk bells tied into them.
Southern Arapaho | Oklahoma | ca. 1890
NA.204.1 Gift of J.C. “Kid” Nichols
Ghost Dance Shirt
Remarks: Dress and Adornment – Religious Attire. Ghost dance shirt – muslin shirt, long sleeved, hand-sewn with black thread, self-fringed at side and underarms seams, shoulder seams, hem, sleeve ends, and neck edge, muslin fringe V sewn at front and back, gathered at sleeve ends and neck with fringed slit at back neck. Shirt is colored with red ochre (possibly) in bands at sleeve ends and elbows, along fringes and inside front and back V’s, front V has an uncolored horizontal crescent moon in lower point. Front and back V points have a single eagle feather and a bunch of blue and yellow dyed breath feathers tied to cloth and a green dyed twisted thong. Tied at top of each shoulder with a twisted green dyed thong is a single eagle spike feather. Tied at underarm seam at the elbow is a bundle of green dyed thongs with small brown feathers and split owl feathers, sinew wrapped to ends of thongs. Tied at underarm seam at each sleeve end with a green dyed twisted thong is a single eagle spike feather sinew wrapped to thong ends.
Sioux | South Dakota | ca. 1890
NA.204.2 Gift of The New Hampshire Historical Society