Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1770-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN
Newspaper Page Text
ARROW HEADS. Pluck says “I’ll Try,” Grit says “I’ll TRY AGAIN. ” Better be an honest savage than a dishonest civilized man. The teacher who says “Do Not as I d > but do as I Say do, ” is inconsistent. 'ne boy who says I Can has confi- Ueiice, but he who says I Will has de termination—both are essential to suc cess. All work and no play may make Jack a dull boy, but all play and no work wil surely make him a very miserable man. THE BEAR. DANCE. 0 How the Ute Indinns on tKe Res ervation Celebra_te the Ad vent of Spring. Away out on the desert plains of eastern Utah, far away from the cul ture and refinements of civilization, live the confederated bands of the Ute trib. of Indians known as the Uintah, the White River and the Uncompahgre Utes. These are perhaps the most un ruly and non-progressive of the Gov ernment s red-skinned wards, holding out in stubborn resistance to all ef forts on the part of the white man to lift him out of his degraded state into the noble and fuller life of a Christian civilization. Clinging with bnll-dog tenacity and savage relentlessness to the old su perstitions and traditions of his fore fathers, he confines the practice of customs long since abandoned by the more progressive of his race and per petuates in pristine purity the rites and practices of a heathenism generally thought to be extinct. One of their most imposing cere monies, to the casual observer, and one to which the Ute attaches very great importance, is the bear dance, a kind of spring festival in honor of the passing away of the ice and snow of winter and tire coming of the birds “Edvicaetion, Civiliz<Ntion acrid Citizenship.’* WHITE EARTH, MINN., .JANUARY 1902. and blossoms and grass and leaves of summer, Early in the spring, when the earth has laid aside her white mantle of snow and bared her brown bosom to the gentle rays of the Sun and when the very first faint sign of life is visi ble in the sprouting grass and the bud ding leaf and blossom, and when the robbin and the field-lark have returned from their long winter migration to the more congenial climes of the sunny south and warble with merry notes from sagebush and cottonwood, hyms of praise to their maker, then it is that the chief of the bear dance assumes an authoritative air and begins prepara tions for the great feast and rejoicing, a neglect of which would mean a dire famine throughout the land, accompa nied with disease and contagion and the everlasting enmity of the Great Spirit. His first duty is to post a guard far up in some deep ravine or canyon of the mountains to watch for the bear to make his first appearance from his hibernation, and to hasten to him with all possible dispatch and to him alone convey the glad tidings that bruin has abandoned his winter home, which is accepted as an infallible sign that win ter is over an that spring has surely come. Immediately upon the receipt of this message the chief of the dance summons the headmen of the tribe in secret council and informs them that on tne following Sunday the celecra tion will begin. They all grunt their assent and on the next issue day, which is tne Saturday proceeding the opening of the dance, the chief, fol lowed by his chosen aids, mounted on gay steeds, parades through the agency andformally announces in aloud commanding tone that on the follow ing day the bear dance will begin and all are expected to be present and ap pear in full dress, that the Great Spirit may be pleased and bless them with good crops and that health and plenty, peace and good will may be found abroad hi the land. 4 u < MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY In the meantime, while waiting for the formal and official announcement that bruin has come forth to meet the sun once more, and that they will ac cordingly assemble at the designated time and place to do honor to the oc casion, preparations are going on among the rank and file of the tribe under the directions of the chief and head-men to celebrate the event with all the pomp and splendor of savage pride and ostentation. Squaws are busily engaged at every camp in mak ing their own costumes and in orna menting the paraphernalia of their soverign lords. The making of their own regalia requires comparatively lit tle time and less skill, but to properly decorate a fastidious buck and “make him up” to his own “sweet taste,” re- quires an artistic and inventive ge inius and a patient, untiring disposi tion. He is a connoisseur in matters of dress and knows better than any one else the requisites of his own savage hideousness. In these matters he is the court of last resort, from whose decree there is no appeal. If he decides that he wants a circle of of deep green around one eye and one of deep yellow around the other, it is pretty safe to assume that this gives him a more fiendish expression than any other combination. Probably no two self-respecting bucks will paint and dress exactly alike. The styles are not uniform by any means. Their ideal is devilish hideousness, and that com bmation mid arrangement that most effectually conduces to this result is the relization of his ideal of a good Ute. He is the center of attraction on these occasions, and noth’;. must be left wanting that would a< .o his prestige or enhance his royal uignity. While the female portion of the tribe are busily engaged plying the needle and sinew, the men are at work clear ing off the ground and building the corral for the dance. This corral is much like an ordinary stock corral, being a circular brush fence about 100 Continued on page six. NO.I.