Dancing Teepees book cover

QCB PM197.E3D36SNE              

Dancing Teepees 
Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve 
1989. Holiday House
32 pages

Ages: k-12

Rating: Harmful



Five original poems by Mrs.Sneve, one by Calvin O’John and thirteen excerpts taken from anthropological and ethnographical books, referring to ceremonies for children or young adults, from within such tribes as:  Lakota Sioux, Omaha, Hopi, Paiute, Zuni, Makah, Crow, Ute-Navajo, Mescalero Apache, Navaho, Dakota, Osage, and Wintu.  Illustrations use a combination of colored pencil and pastel watercolors to depict tribal affiliations.


An enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Virginia Sneve has tried to make a children’s book out of anthropological recordings of ceremonial songs without giving any back ground into the actual ceremonies or giving the reader any information on the tribes themselves.  The excerpts having been translated into English seemingly loosing meaning and rhythm, and without any back ground information on the tribes or ceremonies readers will be disadvantage in the understandings or meanings of the writings. If this book is going to be used in the classroom, the original journals/reports/books should be available for reference purposes.

 Passages to think about:

 “Far to the west,
Far by the sky
Stands a blue elk.
That elk standing yonder
Watches over all the daughters
On the earth.”

Dakota Elk Song

It would help to know what the ceremony is celebrating, what the significance of the elk is, and why would they watch over the daughters?  Would this be sung anytime of year, during a specific ceremony?

Marlette Grant-Jackson – ITEPP-CRC