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Preparing for the Sun Dance

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To the Blackfeet Indians, the Sun Dance was the supreme expression of their religion. It was a young man’s way of proving, by self-torture, that he was ready to become a warrior. The part of the ceremony in this painting shows the young man being painted with holy, white paint. The black dots under the eyes were made with tear paint. The sage around his head, wrists and ankles was taken from inside the sweat lodge and was considered sacred. He holds an eagle bone whistle in his hand which he will place in his mouth and blow on when the self-torture begins. The Sun Dance ceremony was a very lengthy and complicated ritual and this brief description doesn’t being to describe its significance.

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