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Unformatted text preview: Many topics that Black Elk discusses in his narrative are of ethnographic interest: they provide readers with detailed cultural information that could otherwise be obtained only through careful anthropological research. His description of the sun dance is such a topic. The sun dance, which continues to be performed by the Sioux in the present day, is a deeply sacred ritual performed around a tree placed at the center of an area representing the nation's hoop. The dancers' flesh is pierced, usually on the chest and/or back, and rawhide thongs are drawn through the piercings and attached to the tree. The dancers dance around the tree, sometimes for hours, pulling on the thongs until they break through the flesh. In a related sun dance ritual, men would carve small pieces of flesh from their bodies as an offering to the Great Spirit, an act called leaving a piece of flesh. (At flesh from their bodies as an offering to the Great Spirit, an act called leaving a piece of flesh....
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This note was uploaded on 11/29/2011 for the course ENG 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at Texas State.
- Fall '08