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Height: 16 1/2"|
By Steven E. Lillegard
In any Indian tribe there were numerous fraternal organizations called societies. Among them were military police societies who kept individual or small groups of young warriors from doing things that weren't allowed by the tribe, such as attempting to attain individual glory by going on raids or hunting buffalo on their own, causing the herd to run away.
Eventually there were six of these societies: the Kit-Fox Men (Woksihitaneo); Red Shields (Mahohivas); Crazy Dogs (Hotamimasaw); Crooked Lance Society (Himoiyoqis); Bowstring Men (Himatanohis), or Wolf Warriors (Konianutqio); and the Dog Men or Dog Soldiers (Hotamitaneo), who were the last to emerge but became the most elite and powerful.
This sculpture depicts one of the four bravest Dog Soldiers who were chosen to wear sashes of tanned skins called "dog ropes" into battle. Attached to each dog rope was a picket-pin (used to tether horses). The warrior would push the pin through the sash, and into the ground, and not move any further than the sash would allow until his fellow warriors were safe or another Dog Soldier released him from his obligation.
The headdress depicted in this sculpture has about 400 of the two center tail feathers of a magpie, some with ermine attached to the end, 20 split owl feathers, and 4 eagle feathers. Each of the feathers in the sculpture are bronze and were cast individually and the fringes were made one at a time.
You can find a thorough history of the Dog Soldiers here.
There are links to other informative sites about Indian culture at GreyWolf & Willow's Lodge.