Originally featured in Points West magazine in Summer 2019
Native Feather Bustle
There’s no shortage of bustles at the Center of the West’s Plains Indian Museum Powwow, the longest-running annual program of the Center. The feather bustle is a traditional part of a Native American man’s regalia he wears to dance at powwow. In this case, the bustle has two rings of pheasant tail feathers surrounding a central, beaded rosette encircled with dyed yellow breath feathers.
Other bustles might display eagle or hawk feathers. A typical traditional male dancer wears a single bustle at the waist while a fancy dancer generally wears two bustles, the extra one attached to a harness on his back. The bustle is unique to the dancer, as is his complete regalia (“regal dress”) which reflects family heritage, tribal affiliation, spiritual quests, and individual personality. From the materials to the construction to the powwow arbor, the regalia holds special meaning for the wearer.
Share the pageantry of the Plains Indian Museum Powwow, which traditionally takes place the third full weekend of June at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West!
Feather dance bustle, ca. 1987. Sioux, Canada. NA.203.795