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Southern Cloth


This is one of the most beautiful dances at any powwow, but it certainly is not as lively as some of the other women's dances. Notice as these women in colorful tribal dances gently sway and walk to the rhythm of the drum. It does not seem very rigorous but placing their feet exactly in time to the music is a practiced art that takes a lot of energy. Judges look for outstanding dancers who carry themselves with great dignity. Winning dancers make their own shawls, beaded handbags or other objects move exactly in time with the drumbeat. Some of the designs, patterns and colors used on these dresses may have been passed down among family or tribal members for generations. Look for the beautiful eagle feather fans that some dancers use.


Ladies Cloth is a form of Native American women's dress and dance and has both a Northern and Southern style. The Southern style is danced by the Kiowas, Osage, Ponca, and others. The Northern style is danced by the Sioux, Crow, and others. The dance is a slow and graceful one much like the Women's Buckskin style.


There are many variations among Native American Tribes with the outfit, including wearing a cloth dress or a wool dress and others. The basic outfit consists of several parts. The boots are a high-top moccasin that is usually partially beaded. The dress is a long dress with open sleeves. The bottom of the dress is covered in a wrap that is usually a contrasting color or pattern. The wrap is sometimes fringed like a shawl. This style has a breast plate similar to the buckskin dress. This breastplate however has a front and back to it as opposed to the one-sided style worn by buckskin dancers. The belt is either silver conchos or beaded with a drag. The women also wear three other items on the belt. They are the awl case, strike a lite bag and tobacco pouch. The dancer sometimes wears a scarf and choker. They also will carry a fan, purse, and shawl. This type of dance is a uniquely beautiful aspect of Native American culture.