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Dakota Courting and Music

Dakota Courting and Music

by Darren Renville

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Dakota Wedding

At the moment we are privy to in the Eastman painting (pictured left), we see the young man’s first moment of success in his courtship of the young woman. She is shown attentive, and definitely interested. Had he not been a success, the woman would have simply ignored him by walking past him, or else discouraged him by insuring that her chaperone showed up to interrupt the scene. Instead, she is encouraging him by listening. The next step in the courtship would have entailed the young man leaving gifts in front of the young woman’s tipi or lodge. The idea was to show that how much he valued her, and, just as importantly, to demonstrate that he could care for her, and by extension, her family.

The basic aim of a Dakota life was to become as good a relative as one could be, and this was an essential requirement of a good husband. The husband generally became a member of his wife’s family and band, rather than the wife following her husband elsewhere. This is an echo of the matriarchal nature of Dakota society at large. He did not necessarily have to be a member of the band his potential wife was from, or, after the Dakota people came into contact with white people, necessarily be born a Dakota person, but he did need to exhibit that desire to become a good relative.

RealVideo: Gary Cavender

Rev. Gary Cavender,

Dakota elder

[ modem DSL ]



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