This is a Shoshoni celebration.* A procession is formed. The leader carries a bucket, a stool, or a basket upside down, for a low stand. The next one carries a dog's skull, or something like one. We have used a loaf of bread, provided with eyes and teeth, or a big puff ball. The next has a dish or a flat Indian basket or tray. The next two or three have feathers, and the rest have crackers or candies. The last is fixed up with a dog's mask and tail and runs on all-fours.
The procession comes in dancing and barking to a little dance tune. Goes once around. * For this I am chiefly indebted to Hamlin Garland.
Then the leader puts down the stand. The skull is set on it, and the tray on the ground before. The rest sit in a half circle in front.
The leader then kneels down and addresses the skull thus: "Dog! In the days of our fathers you were the one who dragged the lodge poles from camp to camp. Without you, we could have had no comfortable place in which to sleep. So I will dance and sing in your honor to-night.
He puts a feather in the dog's head, then dances his best dance, while the rest sing, " Yap-yap, Yap-yap, Yap-yap, Yow-w-w-o" in imitation of a dog barking on a rising scale, finishing with a long howl.
The leader has now danced to the other end of the half-circle and sits down.
The next comes and addresses the skull: "Dog! In times of war you were the one who guarded the camp at night. No one could surprise us when you were on watch. Nothing could make you betray us. So I will dance and sing in your honor to-night!"
He adds a feather and dances his best, while the rest "Yap" the dog chorus. Then he sits at the opposite end of the circle.
The next comes and says, perhaps "Dog! In the days of our fathers, you were the one who could follow the wounded deer. You made the hunting a success. So I will dance and sing in your honor to-night." He adds a feather or a candy, and dances. (Yap, yap, as before).
The next says: "Dog! When I was a little pappoose, I wandered from the village and fell in the river. No one saw me. I should have been drowned, but you jumped in and pulled me out. So I will dance and sing in your honor to-night." He adds his contribution and dances.
The next says, "Dog! You were the one who cleaned up the camp, so we were not troubled with flies".
Others thank the dog for finding the lost children, for giving alarm when an enemy approached, for killing a rattler, for finding the lost medicine bag, etc.
Then the last one, the boy dog, comes up and barks at the head.
Finally, the leader resumes, saying: "Yes, Dog! You were the one that dragged the lodge poles. You were the one that found the wounded deer, etc. And best of all, first, last, and all the time, you were our faithful friend, and all you asked in return was a bite to eat and a place to lie down. And so long as the blue sky is above the green grass you will be the friend of the prairie children. Then, when at last we cross over the great river, and see behind the Divide, we hope we shall find awaiting us our old friend, the Dog that we may take up our friendship again, and continue on and on in the good country where no white man or smallpox ever comes".
Then they pass around the dish and eat the crackers and candies; offering things to the dog, and honoring him as much as possible with a variety of stage "business." Finally, all go off, carrying the various things and barking as they came.