Kiowa Ceremonial Dance: A Beaded Book

Our voices, the drum and the rattle, our bodies moved by the spirit in our music…these are the things I humbly and imperfectly have meant to illustrate with this “book”.  The specific dance and music of my people have in large part made me Kiowa.  When I hear Kiowa songs, whether they are Gourd Dance songs or Black Legs songs or Rabbit Dance songs, I hear the voices of all those Kiowa people who came before me…those people who were moved to dance to those very same songs and were probably thinking of all those that came before them.  My late grandmother, Sarah Ataumbi Big Eagle is present at every Kiowa dance I go to.  I feel my grandmother there, happy that her daughter, my mother Jeri Ah-be-hill is there, happy that I am there, happy that my two sons, Ahbedoh and Nimkees Aankwad are there.

These songs and these dances that we do, they make us Kiowa, they show us the way of our ancestors.  Despite years of genocide, despite broken treaties, despite years of destructive US political, religious, economic and social policy to make us “white”, despite today’s hedonistic and grossly materialistic American culture, despite all of this, we are still here and we are still Kiowa.

A-ho to all those who sacrificed before me!  Take pity on me!  Help our children never forget who they are!

Teri Greeves, Kiowa, 2005

Collection of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe, NM