The Sagehen Dance
by James Shoulderblade
Hea'a naesóhtôhnó'eaa'e hehpeto étanêhe'xove namêšéme
Perhaps more than 60 years ago my grandfather
náhtatsêhe'ôhtseha tóhtoo'e tséxho'sóetsêse mo'ôhtávêšenéva'ôhéasóho.
took me out on the prairie where sagehens were dancing.
Náhtâhévoo'sêhaenoto tséohkêhetôhomó'hetsêse. Naa tséstavóomono
He went to show them to me how they were dancing. And when I saw them,
kahkêse tséstâho'evonêhótótse. Tséhvé'hoomono
close we crawled up to them. When I looked at them
éhnéma'onéeóeo'o. Naa o'xe hoóma é'ôhkepo'o'ta.
they were in a circle. And on the opposite side there was a space open.
Tâháóhe o'xe hoóma tsénéese
There on the opposite side (of) those standing,
éhne'ôhkêhóxovo'âhéotse na'êstse, é'ôhkeamêstósemóho hetsénoono.
one would run across, he would drag his wings.
They made a lot of noise with their feathers.
Nêhéóhe tséhpo'o'tatse éstaohkenéé'e. Nâháóhe o'xe
There in the open he would stand. There on the side
tsénéese nonámé'tó'e éhne'ôhkêhóxovo'âhéotseo'o.
those standing, one by one they would run across.
They would drag their wings.
They did that until they finished crisscrossing. And
ôhnéhmé'êhnétsesêstse éše'hóho é'ôhkeévâhe'néohtseo'o.
when it came up, the sun, they would disperse.
E'ôhkêséno'eohtseo'o váno'éšé'e. Náhnêheševóomoo'o
They went into the sagebrush. That's the way I saw them
when the sagehens danced.
Naa tséstšêhe'kéahéto ná'ôhkêhetôhomó'heohe.
And when I was little I danced like that.
I used to dance like that. I danced the prairie chicken dance,
the sagehen dance.
Ná'ôhkemaenêhetaa'e vo'êstaneo'o, "Táaxa'e mo'ôhtávêšenéva'ôhéáso!" People would say to me, "Let's see the sagehen!"
I would start dancing. That's the way I know
how the sagehens dance.
NOTE: This text was tape recorded by Mr. Shoulderblade ca. 1979.
This text was first published in Náévâhóo'ôhtséme / We are going back home: Cheyenne history and stories told by James Shoulderblade and others, edited by Wayne Leman. Memoir 4. Winnipeg: Algonquian and Iroquoian Linguistics. Copyright 1987. Used by permission.
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