“Pueblo Deer Dancer”
Premiered at 2008 Santa Fe Indian Market
Featured in the Albuquerque Journal – Sunday, August 31, 2008 New this year, Local Treasures awards recognize accomplished N.M. artists for their body of work
The Pueblo Deer Dance is a winter ceremony. In Jemez Pueblo the deer, buffalo, ram and antelope all dance in one ceremony. It is held to honor the big game animals that are harvested during the ceremonial hunt for the tribe, as well as, the offering of prayers so that the new fawn, calves and
hatchling come into the World in the Spring.
The horns are from the mule deer. The evergreens around his neck and on the headdress make him seem much larger, like a mature mule deer. The evergreens also represent the bringing of the spirit of the mountain into the ceremony. Tied on the very top, in the middle of the horns, are colorful parrot feathers. These kinds of feathers were brought through trade early in our history. Tied to the back of the headdress is the Sun Face symbol with the eagle tail becoming the Sun’s rays. Eagle feathers are a part of the regalia used for many types of ceremonies and are worn for generations and will begin to yellow over time.
Among the geometric patterns on his kilt are three diamonds shapes. The diamond in the front of the kilt has designs that represent the rain and the snow cloud. The diamond on his right side has the design of a corn stock which is an intrigral part of the culture, the religion, and a nutritional
source. On his left is a diamond with two altars representing prayer and mediation of the male and female.
I grew up participating in this dance and it brings me great joy to bring the piece into the World and share its beauty.