Iroquois Longhouse Dance Headlines Evening
Terrible storms did not deter dedicated Arrowmen from
dancing on Monday evening. Due to the weather, a make-shift Iroquois-style Longhouse was set up in the Lambdin auditorium where many Arrowmen gathered for an evening of dance.
Others enjoyed activities such as storytelling in the building behind Spilman
Dances were smaller and more intricate than those seen at the
Pow-wow on Sunday night. This was social dancing
where participants are supposed to enjoy themselves, according to the lead singer.
Arrowmen attending apparently understood because they really enjoy the dancing.
Iroquois dances include the robin, smoke, alligator, and fish dances. These
dances feature swift and vibrant movements by pairs of dancers, alternating
positions within a line. Fancy footwork was highlighted in the fish dance.
As the evening progressed, Arrowmen from some southern lodges led the group in a Seminole stomp dance, a fast-paced dance to a spoken chant. The evening closed with a duck and round dance.
An alternative for Arrowmen was listening to two storytellers tell tales. Their stories were traditional southern mountain-man tales that have evolved from Cherokee, Scotch-Irish, English, and African folk stories. These stories
continue to develop over time, changing and growing, often with multiple endings.
For example, the story of Spearfinger, a witch who terrorized a town, tells
how local birds received their names. The bird who misled tribal braves who tried to kill Spearfinger got its tongue cut.
That bird has come to be known as the split-tongued sparrow. Another story is
that of the "black-capped" bird who told the braves how to kill Spearfinger.
That bird is known as the Chickadee or "truth-teller bird" in the local language.
Storytellers encouraged listeners to learn a story or two because "kids sitting around a campfire
[will] listen..." Everyone loves a good story!