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Women’s Buckskin



One of the oldest forms of Native American Women's Dance is Buckskin. This is a dance of elegance and grace. The movement is smooth and flowing.


The ladies wear fine, hand-crafted buckskin dresses, decorated with intricate bead designs. Northern dresses are fully beaded on the shoulders, or cape. Southern ones, the beadwork is mainly used to accent. They are equally beautiful. The women carry fringed shawls over one arm.


Much like the Men's Traditional dance, there are many differences in the style of these women's dresses reflecting the various Native American tribes. The jewelry is breath taking. Breastplates made from bone hair pipe, and glass beads can hang to the waist, or all the way to the ankles.


The latter is Northern, the former, Southern. Hair barrettes are hand beaded, and beaded pieces for the fur that hangs from the lady's hair can be quite intricate. Some ladies, who have either been princesses, or the younger ones who are princesses still, wear beaded crowns, given to them by their societies. The moccasins are either fully beaded (Northern), or accent beaded (Southern).


Ladies' Buckskin Dancing is slow and poised. Circling the drum, they bob to the beat of the drum, letting the long fringe on their sleeves sway in time. They carry a beaded purse, swinging it as well, and a shawl, folded on the arm, swaying likewise.


These highly respected American Indian women dance in rhythm with the Drum by swaying and slightly bending at their knees. These movements are very slight. This slight movement, however, creates a beautiful effect in moving their leather fringe in a breezy swaying motion. Northern dresses usually have fully beaded yokes, while Southern dresses have applique beadwork.