Leader of the Buffalo
My interpretation of the lead dance mask for the Cherokee buffalo dance or forest buffalo dance. Dance Set: The singer with a drum at one side of the group; The lead women follows the lead with turtle shell shuckers. Movement: A file of men followed by women circle counter-clockwise with a continuous shuffling and stamping. There is a mimicry of buffalo by holding the fingers crooked upward at the temples to represent set horns. The Dancers utter Hu' Hu' in response to the leaders Hano He'. The dance is reserved for mornings and nights before hunts. A barbecue feast is formally prepared to accompany the dance. The dance usually features a jousting match between the male and female dancers and the eating of corn mush from a bowl by the dancers. The Buffalo dance was not restrictive or private and was open for all to participate publicly. Despite the disappearance of the forest buffalo from the smokies centuries ago, the dance, like the Cherokee, has persisted through time.
Materials: Butternutt Wood, Buffalo horn and Fur