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Reflection on The Dakota Sun Dance Essay

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The Dakota Sun Dance
One thing that really caught my attention in Waterlily was the sun dance. It really opened my eyes to an actual tribal dance; I did not know what they all did at a tribal dance other than dance. The Sun Dance only occurs once every year for so many days. There are many events that are held during the Sun dance. The buffalo is a very sacred animal during the sun dance.
I learned that the Sun Dance was the most important religious ceremony of many tribes in the 19th century and it occurred at the time of the Summer Solstice. It would last from four to eight days starting at sunset and then ending at sunset. I learned that everything they, do even when they start and end, has a reasoning behind it. The significance for starting at sunset and ending at sunset was to be able to show continuity between life and death. I gathered that just because someone has died they are still around and is a type of regeneration. Not only did they celebrate the regeneration of humans but they also celebrated the regeneration of the living Earth, which included all living plants, animals, and humans on Earth. I learned that this is still practiced by many Native Americans today.
In addition to the Sun Dance, there is always one person who runs the entire Sun Dance ceremony. This would be the Priest of the tribe. The Priest would give orders to tribesmen that gathered items for building a tepee, and those who went to look for a tree for the ceremony. The tree played an important role in the Sun Dance ceremony; it would be the center pole of the lodge. When the chosen members of the tribe found the tree that would fit the need of the center pole there was a qualified person that would come and cut the tree down.
In the book W...


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...lf-inflicted torture is a symbol of rebirth. The person after being tortured is resurrected. Most of the time the person who is giving up their flesh has to do what he or she has said they will do and complete the task. In the book Waterlily, a boy says he will give up one-hundred pieces of flesh, with this boy being so young he was not able to give up all one-hundred pieces of flesh and two women helped him out. They normally do not do this but they thought his flesh was to tender yet to have given all one-hundred pieces. I found it interesting that the boy was not forced to give up all one-hundred pieces of flesh.
In conclusion, the Sun Dance has many parts to it. All of the parts play a very significant role in the Sun Dance. The dance will only last a few days, but many events occur during this time, and the buffalo is a very significant during the Sun Dance.




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