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Section title: Plains Cree
Introduction | History | Daily Life | Culture | References


Songs, Dances, Arts and Crafts

  Cree drum

Dance was an important part of Plains Cree culture. Some dances, such as the sun dance, prairie chicken dance, round dance and bear dance were performed for ceremonial and spiritual purposes. Others, such as the tea dance, were simply for enjoyment. All of the dances were accompanied by songs. (Ceremonial songs and dances are still performed today, but they are less common than in the past.) Musical instruments included drums, whistles and rattles. For important ceremonial dances, men beat the rhythm on large drums.

The Plains Cree were artists who painted for both ceremonial and non-spiritual purposes. Tipis were painted and decorated by Cree artists and included representations of spirit helpers. Since women were the sole owners of the lodges, the men needed their approval before beginning to paint.

Today, Cree artists are well known in Canada. Among them is George Littlechild, whose work is found in books and galleries.

Painting entitled October 500 Years Ago, by Cree artist George Littlechild, 1992


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