On the back of the dancers heads quilled feathers were also worn. Some tribes, like the Blackfoot, wore Sun Dance necklaces. These were made with beads of bone on a hide band, with a chunk of braided hair attached at the middle. Blackfoot dancers sometimes wore beaded rosette necklaces with a full white weasel skin hanging from the center.
All tribes used whistles made out of eagle bone and they were believed to produce a sound which was always heard by the Spirit. The eagles white plume was always attached to the end of the whistle so that it extended forward when air passed through the whistle. The whistles were painted in red, green, blue, and yellow lines and dots, representing the perception of the eagle.
In the Sioux tribe the body paint used on the dancers to represent different aspects of importance in the dance. The face and the body from the waist up were painted in red because it represented everything that was sacred. Around the face was drawn a black circle, which represented the Spirit; a circle was used since the Spirit has no end. To represent the powers of the four geographic directions four vertical black stripes were drawn on the chin. Around the wrists, elbows, upper arms, and ankles black stripes were drawn. These black stripes were considered to be the bonds of ignorance which tied the Sun dancers to the earth. They only went as high as the breast skewers because the thongs attached to the skewers) were rays-of-light from the One Above.
©Copyright 1998 Elizabeth
Beckett, Holly Bernitt, and Vishwa Chandra.