Friendship Dance: A universal dance among all tribal nations, it welcomes all visitors and
guests to the host tribe. The Friendship Dance expresses goodwill and friendship among all
Meskwaki Dance: A dance unique to the Meskwaki people. Whenever a gathering of tribal groups
took place, each group or tribe performed their own special dance. This dance, performed by the
Meskwaki, depicts their characteristics in the times of peace and war.
Harvest or Bean Dance: This dance recognizes the importance of the resources of life; food
for the villages for the coming year. This dance gives thanks to the Great Spirit for the abundance
of food and bountiful crops.
Swan Dance: The women of the tribe lead this dance with graceful movement. It is a tribute to
those who have gone before us and their shadowy forms that are unseen. The Swan Dance depicts the
graceful movement of birds, especially the most majestic of all water birds.
Buffalo Head Dance: This dance is in honor of the magnificent buffalo and the creator after a
successful hunt. The songs and movement of the dancers are dedicated to the enduring spirit of the
Pipe Dance: This dance honors warriors for their bravery and heroism in times of
Shield Dance: In pantomime this dance depicts battle skill in hand to hand combat. This dance
was adopted from the Southern Plains Indians in the 1940's as a recognition of contact in earlier
times with the Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho and Comanche.
Shawnee Dance: Whenever the allied tribes came together for council or celebration, they often
exchanged elements of cultural value. The Shawnee Dance was given as a token of friendship to the
Meskwaki from the Shawnee Tribe in Oklahoma. The five tribes who were closely associated
historically in language and traditional ways, were the Shawnee, Mascouten, Kickapoo, Sauk and Fox
Rabbit Dance: Originally known as the Owl Dance, a similar Meskwaki Version, this social dance
is borrowed from the Lakota. It is a popular two step among all tribes.
Victory Dance: This dance is dedicated to the men and women of the armed forces and it is a
dance to honor veterans who have returned home to their loved ones.
Intertribal Dance: A generic dance often performed by anyone in costume during the main performance dances;
it is a “break dance”.
Snake Dance: Dancers participate in a “follow-the-leader” style dance that mimics the life cycle of the Snake
including when it eats, sheds its skin, and dies. Contrary to its description, it’s a very fun dance
for all ages: dancers, singers and observers alike.