Native American Bandana by Melvin War Eagle


Melvin War Eagle is a Native American artist from Kyle, SD. His bandanas are truly a piece of wearable art, featuring facets of Native American life.  Bandanas measure 22″ square and the fabric is 100% cotton by Hanblechia Designs.

“Mysteries of the Stars”:  On the back, it reads as follows: “To the Lakota, the stars were considered very mysterious, and at the same time, very sacred (waken). It was believed that our relatives were the stars above and they were seen as living in great order and structure. So strongly was this belief, that the Lakota living on earth would mimic their relatives, by moving camp where they were shown to by the constellations. Certain ceremonies were adhered to along this path, which followed a distinct circle around such sites as, Black Hills, to Stone Butte, and completed the circle at Bear Butte, where the Great Mystery lies. This design pays homage to the stars (our ancestors) and the sacred (waken)path that was taken by all Lakota during the winter camp; the embodiment of the sacred circle.”

Color: black, yellow, tan, red

“Bear Spirit”:  The tag on “Bear Spirit” reads as follows: “Lakota believed that the Bear had great power and strength. It was understood that the Bear Spirit (who is of the tobtob : good spirits) and his great wisdom was able to protect the people. The Bear Spirit was responsible for giving the people medicine to heal their sick. When the Bear Spirit would visit the people, some tribes would paint their tipis with a large bear wrapped around it, calling it the Hugging Lodge (to give it the name Bear Hugging was forbidden, for the bear was held in such high esteem its name could not be uttered), this provided the family protection and health. The Bear Spirit in this design provides the wearer with strength, wisdom and good health. The red arrows going through the bear’s mouth was given to the dreamer, indicating the exact place where the Spirit Bear holds its wakan (sacred) power.”

Color: red with white and blue

“Tribal Gathering”:  The tag on “Tribal Gathering” reads as follows: “The tipi was not just seen as a home, but had significant spiritual meanings. When erecting a tipi, 3 poles were used to anchor the structure, these representing the past, present and future. Seven more poles are then placed in a circle around the first 3 anchor poles, moving clockwise. Each of these 7 poles has a specific meaning, such as the 7 Brothers or the 7 Stars in the Big Dipper constellation. After 10 poles are erected, the lodge covering is then put around this tipi structure, with additional 2 poles on the outside to regulate the flow of energy and to circulate the air inside the lodge. This makes a total of 12 poles used for the lodge, thereby representing 12 months in a year. The vortex, the point at which the poles are tied, connects us to the spirit world. The ancestors live in that spirit world in the upper reaches of the tipi; our ancestors are always with us. It represents the sacred circle, or the never ending cycle of life. The tipi embodies the understanding of the connection between the physical and the metaphysical realm. To live in it meant everything was in balance.”

Color: navy blue, with gold, red and white

“Wind Spirit”:  The tag on “Wind Spirit” reads as follows: “Long ago, when the earth was still young, Tate’s (the Wind) wife, Ite, had given birth to four sons (the Four Winds). Because of Ite’s misdeeds, the Great Spirit banished her and commanded that her four sons go out into the earth, to establish the four directions. Tate placed his lodge in the centre of the world and waited for his sons’ return. As time passed, each of the four brothers explored their part of the earth, and Tate stayed at the centre of the earth, counting the moons for their return. When 12 moons had passed, the brothers returned to the center of the earth, where the Great Spirit gave each brother one of the directions they established. This created the four seasons, four directions and the yearly cycle; the establishment of Native American life and connection to the sacred circle. This design represents the journey the Four Winds (brothers) took to establish North, South, East and West, and Tate (their father) awaiting for their return in the center.”

Color: tan, red, black, white

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