Before Warbonnet Dance begins, men line up behind warbonnets and women behind them.
By ROSELYNN WAHTOMY
FORT HALL – The Annual New Year’s Eve Warbonnet Dance started with a feast in the Shoshone-Bannock Jr./Sr. High School cafeteria.
The emcee of the event was tribal elder Lionel Boyer, who explained the purpose of the evening was to ring out the old year and ring in the new year.
A traditional 49 followed and a welcome by Miss Shoshone-Bannock Crystal Ariwite was given, along with greetings from other royalty in attendance. Social dancing took place, while many participated.
Traditional 49 singers after the feast.
Gifferd Osborne spoke about the importance of the dances and asked the people to pay attention and put down their phones, which couldn’t teach them the value of the ceremony. He also asked the young people to pay attention and to be proud of the culture of their own people. He reminisced about the time when people didn’t dance for money, but danced for the love of it and to have fun. He encouraged the youth to learn the traditional dances and the songs so they could be carried on.
Osborne thanked everyone is attendance, the dancers, the singers and the spectators, as well as the cooks for the feast.
He asked the audience to keep good thoughts and prayers in their mind as the Shake Dance, Buffalo Dance and Feast Dance, also referred to as the Chokecherry Dance took place.
Women with warbonnets on, during the Warbonnet Dance ceremony of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
The Shake Dance honors the sage chicken; Buffalo Dance honors the buffalo and the Feast Dance gives thanks for the food resources used in the past year. Afterwards, the crowd was asked to bless themselves.
Visitors were also honored with a blanket dance, where the money collected was distributed to those who traveled to celebrate with the Sho-Ban people.
Osborne explained the Warbonnet Dance was passed down to him by the late Leonard Edmo, his grandfather.
For the ladies, the leader long ago was Phoebe Ponzo, until up to her passing. She passed down the duties to Norma Osborne, who then passed it on to Nummie Osborne. Nummie was not in attendance, so Gifferd’s daughter, Taya Osborne was appointed to step in her place.
Osborne explained the dance was done for the people and the ones gone before us.
The warbonnet dancers formed a line in front of the speaker stand and place the warbonnet on the floor in front of them. The women were directed to line up behind the men.
Boyer asked the people to stand in respect of the dancing and remove their head covers. He asked parents to keep their children quiet and still. He asked the people to be respectful of the eagle.
“This is the time to bring them out of where they’re stored. Bringing them out to give them air, to bring them out to let the spirits know that they respect the eagle. That we respect the owners of these bonnets,” he said.
Many of the warbonnets are passed down from generation to generation and this the time respect is paid to the eagle, and the spirits of the ancestors that have passed on, and to Mother Earth and Creator. Boyer also said it was to say thanks for all the things that have been enjoyed for the past year, the resources of Mother Earth. It’s also to ask for blessings so that the New Year will be good and beneficial to everyone.
Feast dancers ready to perform traditional ceremonial dance.
The dance started with the first song for the men to dance. The second dance was for the women. It is the only time a woman is allowed to wear a warbonnet in the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
The families of the late Leonard Edmo and late Phoebe Ponzo sponsored the gathering.
Rose Ann Abrahamson tells stories as Virginia Mendez shows illustrations.
By LACEY WHELAN
FORT HALL – Rose Ann Abrahamson and Virginia Mendez captured the attention of the kids during the Traditional Storytelling activity during the Winter Youth Activities December 27.
Rose Ann told many of the traditional stories and showed the children pictures to go along with the stories. After telling the kids about the butterfly story, she gave all the children a colorful paper butterfly to write about a “good butterfly” they could chase in their future. She reminded the kids to be careful of the butterflies you chase in life. In addition, she advised the kids to remember to have a rock in their pocket for one of the legends she mentioned to keep the kids away from the fires that were predicted by the Elders a long time ago.
She also mentioned the importance of water, “to respect me, don’t waste me, and pray for me” was made to the kids, which they were excited to remind each other of ways to reuse any water that was left over, to use for plant life or just to put back on “Mother Earth.” Rose Ann stressed she wanted to tell the children about the traditional stories of our people so they could pass on to their children and grandchildren, and how important it is to carry on their traditions.