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Women's Jingle Dress Dance

The jingle dress dance originated with the Anishinabe people of the Lake of the Woods area in Ontario and part of the American state Minnesota. Based on tradition and teachings, the jingle dress is believed to come from a man from the Lake of the Woods area whose daughter was ill. In this man's vision, the jingle dress was made of shells. The meaning of his vision was for the dress to be given those who believed in a traditional way of life. The dress was to be given for the purpose of healing.
 
The jingle dress is a medicine dress. If a woman chooses to take on this dress, she must be ready for the responsibility that it entails. The jingle dress should be honoured with fasting and feasting.
 
Today, the jingle dress is made up of cones. These cones are usually made from soup lids or Copenhagen snuff lids. However, there are still some people who use shells.
 
There are two types of dances that accommodate this style: straight dance and the side-step. The dancing style of the individual is one of low steps, not high steps. Dancers do not perform complete spins like the fancy shawl dancers.
 
In the Pow Wow world of today, we are witnessing another classification of dance within the jingle dress dance. The jingle dress dance can now be classified in the traditional or contemporary style.
 
Source: Saskatchewan Indian June 1997 Special Powwow Issue v27 n02 p29. 
 

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