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Men's Traditional

The Men's Northern Traditional style of dance is one of pride and confidence amongst First Nations men. Traditional dancers demonstrate a style of dance that evolved from the old form of war dance. The dance depicts the telling of a war story or hunting expedition. Other dancers also imitate wildlife such as horses, birds or buffalo while performing.
The outfits of Men's Northern Traditional dancers consist of beaded vests, war shields and porcupine roaches. A single, circular bustle made of eagle feathers is worn on the back. Most dancers carry some sort of staff or dancing stick. The colours and designs used in each individual's outfit can symbolize their clan or family or represent their Indian name.
While the dancers are dancing, they appear to be strong, bold warriors. They tell a complete story that can be seen in their dance steps as they bend low to the ground and peer cautiously about. The process is repeated as an on-going hunt. The completion of the successful hunt is demonstrated as they move in for the kill.
Traditional dancers never dance backwards as they perform, as this would be perceived as retreat. Also, they never turn in a full circle while dancing.
The Men's Northern Contemporary Traditional Dance has the same origin and similar styles to that of the Northern Traditional. The main difference is that dancers of the contemporary style have brighter, flashier outfits and move more wildly.

Source: Saskatchewan Indian June 1997 Special Powwow Issue v27 n02.

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