Volltext: Anthropos, 29.1934

W. C. MacLeod, 
and with these he is raised on one of the four poles, suspended in the air. 
He is naked but in his hand carries his medicine bag; and his shield is hung 
from one of his skewers. When suspended he is then twirled around on his 
own axis by an attendant. 
In the course of the twirling he faints. Then the onlookers cry “Dead” 
and he is lowered and laid on the ground. 
When he revives, the victim is led outside. If he chooses, then, he may 
either wander off alone into the prairies until his skewers tear through his 
flesh from the dragging of the buffalo skulls; or he may elect to join the 
rush around the sacred lodge. If he chooses the latter, he is taken by two 
assistants to join the general rush of Okipe devotees around the lodge, this 
rush terminating the annual ceremony. An inner circle of runners is composed 
of the ordinary celebrants; an outer circle is formed by the hookswingers 
with their dragging buffalo skulls. The two assistants of each hookswinger 
run him around the lodge until the skewers tear through the flesh (this is 
necessary); and then continue him around until he faints. When he falls in 
a faint, then the assistants rush off to the prairies as we have mentioned. 
No one will assist a fainted hookswinger. He is left to lie where he 
fell outside the sacred lodge until he dies (which very rarely happens) or 
until he revives. It is considered by the celebrants, that in the first case the 
Great Spirit takes him; in the other case, the Spirit returns him to life. 
In the medicine lodge after their suspension and return to conscious 
ness, the hookswinger makes sacrifice of the little finger of his left hand; 
some also give other fingers 3 . 
Note on the Mandan Rite: The Mandan rite appears to be inter 
pretable as a ritual putting-to-death of the hookswinger. 
The death of the swinger and his resurrection appear to be part of 
an initiatory rite such as is so wide spread in primitive societies as a part 
of initiation ritual. 
The assistants of the victim act in a manner which recalls a feature of 
human sacrifice found here and there in the Old World, the actual taker of life 
or cutter of flesh acting ritually as if he had committed a crime. 
2. The Oglala Rite as a Sacrifice of Captives of War. 
The fourth and last day of the Oglala “Sun Dance”, the Oglala conceive 
to be “Mid-Year Day”, and on this day they “greet the Sun”. “They regard 
this fourth holy day above all other days because it is the mid-year day.” 
The sun dancers perform their dance of whistling at and gazing at the sun 
on this day. Among the Oglala, all the sun dancers are at least skewered. 
The Oglala consider the skewering and hookswinging as an essential part of 
their sun dance worship. 
The persons who elect to perform the sun dance (skewered or swung) 
are ritually conceived of as enemies. Persons are appointed to become ritually 
3 Catlin, pp. 26, 27, 29—30, 38.


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