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Old August 5, 2013, 04:07 PM   #401
4V50 Gary
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Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 16,619
Good to be Cheyenne (male)

"If a man found it impossible to live peaceably with his wife, he might divorce her in public fashion, notifying everyone that he abandoned all rights in her that he might possess. This action was usually taken in the dance lodge at some dance or gathering of his own soldier society, and according to a certain prescribed form. Before he acted the man notified his soldier band of what he purposed to do. At a set time in the dance, therefore, the singers began a particular song, and the man, holding a stick in his hand, danced by himself and presently danced up to the drum; struck the drum with the stic; threw the stick up in the air, or perhaps toward a group of men in the lodge, and, as he threw it, shouted: "There goes my wife; I throw her away! Whoever gets that stick may have her!" Sometimes to this was added, "A horse goes with the stick!" If this last was said, the person who secured the stick received the horse---but not the wife.

"If the man threw the stick across the dance lodge at a group of men, each of them was likely to dodge, or jump to one side, to avoid being hit. If one of them was hit, or was narrowly missed by the stick, other men were likely to joke him, and to say: "Ha! you want that woman, do you? I thought I saw you reach for the stick!'"

"By this act the man renounced all rights to the woman thrown away, and if anyone married her, the husband might not claim any gift or payment.

"To be treated publicly in this way was a disgrace to a woman. In any dispute or quarrel that the woman might be engaged in later, the matter was likely to be brought up, and her opponent might say, "Well, I never was thrown out of the dance by the drum." If by chance a man married a woman who had been disgraced, and if they ever wrangled, he was likely to remind her of this. It was not forgotten.

This cermeony occurred but seldom, yet it is still well recognized. Perhaps the last case on the Tongue River Indian Rservation occurred in 1899."

Take from George Bird Grinnell's, The Cheyenne Indians, Vol. I, pages 153-154. I picked up my copy at Bent's Old Fort.
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