Victory Dance

2012-08-29 15.17.10

Click on the audio clip below to hear an interview with Kevin Locke on this mural:


in the Lakota language, is one of the hundreds of dancing-themed stories told to Oscar Howe by his ancestors that he created in visual form. In traditional Lakota and Dakota culture, the victory dance was held after a successful military campaign such the Battle of the Little Big Horn (also known as Greasy Grass) in the summer of 1876. In these dances, the sounds of the drums and the cries of the victorious war party were celebrated in a spirited active manner. This ceremonial dance also featured a social feast to recognize the bravery of those warriors whose good deeds ensured the continued livelihood of their people. His mural painting of the victory dance is one of the earliest examples of a thematic s professional career. In fact, the remarkable career as a professional artist. Howe drew and painted hundred of varieties of the dancing/dancer theme during his forty-plus years creating art. Howe drew constantly beginning at a young age, and those earliest drawings often drew upon the sounds and memory of his youth and the oral stories from his maternal grandmother Shell Face. As his artwork matured, the drawings formed fully-developed paintings that distinctly established a Dakota theme and highlighted the beauty of his ancestors and their Native culture. s mural painting of the ceremonial victory dance depicts synchronous male dancers ’ s story of those times in ceremony and celebration. Howe painted s fanciful regalia complete with eagle feathers and beaded medallions.

Suggested Readings
Densmore, Frances. Teton Sioux Music. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin no. 61. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1918. Reprinted as Teton Sioux Music and Culture. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.
Hassrick, Royal. The Sioux. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964.
DeMallie, Raymond J. The Sixth Grandfather: Black Elk’s Teachings Given to John G. Neihardt. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.
DeMallie Raymond J. and Douglas R. Parks, eds. Sioux Indian Religion: Tradition and  Innovation. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987.
Walker, James R. Lakota Society. Edited by Raymond J. DeMallie. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982.

Mural descriptions submitted by Dr. Edward Welch, professor of Humanities, Augustana College December 2012


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