Grass Flattening Wands


   This Grass Flattening Wand pictured on the right, called "Owanka Onesto" in Lakota, was used to solemnize ground for the Thunder Beings before a celebration.  A lead warrior danced in a circle to mimic an attack on an enemy, swinging this carved cane holding a scalp near the ground.  He was followed by warriors, dancing four abreast, until the prairie grass was flattened.

   A second Grass Flattening four-foot wand is shown below.  It came from Delores Good Eagle from Cherry Creek, residing on the Cheyenne River Reservation.  She is the granddaughter of Peter One Skunk, who fought at the Little Bighorn and battles of Slim Buttes and Lame Deer.  This wand has a pike or spear head of the type used as an assault weapon used by the Spanish army.  The ash stick has a hole through which is a tied a hair hoop, quilled dangle and honoring feather.  Red and blue beading around the scalp hoop represent powers of lightning and thunder.  The cane ends with a beaded fob with a red tail from a horse, an animal associated with the Thunder Being.


Larry Belitz, Plains Indian Material Culture Consultant