Among the ancient teachings and abundant wisdoms those ancient
Osages have handed down to Osages of today there is found concept
of Order. Without Order there is confusion, the Old Ones have told
us. In today's world there is nowhere a more clear and living
definition of order exists than at In-Lon-Schka.
Red Corn, Osage News columnist and author of, "A Pipe
It was well over a century ago the Ponca and Kaw people gave
to the Osage People the three In-Lon-Schka Drums. Those three Drums
have experienced much that is good and positive in mankind.
There are rules and procedures that are a part of the Dance.
The Drum came at a time when Osages were putting aside much of traditions
that had evolved over the centuries; not because they did not want
to continue them, there was simply no way in that period could the
animals and other parts of nature be obtained, and they did not
want to perform anything less than the true ceremony
The Committee is formed by the family of a new Drumkeeper, who
select a Head Committeeman. He and the family of the new Drumkeeper
select Elders to advise the Committee that includes several Dancers,
gifted men and women Singers who are keeping the music alive for
future generations, and a Town Crier to inform the People of what
is happening and to aid those who wish to call out information to
The Committee also has Cooks to prepare traditional foods and
Fire Men to create the fire that will cook the food, and that Fire
is sacred, the Old People have told us. Also, there are Water Boys
to keep the Dancers supplied with drinking water.
Each of the three Drums have four Tail Dancers, each of them
are there to assure that each and every song will end in a perfect
For each of the three Committees there is a Whip Man. It is
the Whip Man's responsibility to maintain Order, and each Whip
Man carries a whip as a symbol of his authority.
When Dancers enter the Dance Arbor there is a Whip Man there
to greet him. Many Dancers will enter the Dance Arbor as a Committee,
or as a smaller family group, or as individual Dancers, or as visiting
Dancers from other tribes.
When the Whip Man has greeted the Dancers he will then walk
them to benches that are their assigned seating.
When something is not right under the arbor the Head Committeeman
will ask the Whip Man to make the situation right.
If, say, a Dancer should drop an Eagle Feather to the ground
that is the Dance Arbor floor, the Dancer will not pick up the Feather.
Rather, the Dancer will return to his seat and wait until the song
has ended. Then, the Whip Man will return the Feather to the Dancer.
Many years ago during the evening dance under the Pawhuska arbor
a photographer set up bright lights and was starting to take pictures
of the Dancers. At the direction of the Head Committeeman the Whip
Man asked the photographer to remove himself from the Dance Ground,
and it all played out in an orderly manner. That is what the Old
People meant by Order. The Drumkeeper created a ban on cameras during
Over the years the number of the People who take part in In-Lon-Schka
have increased, and the procedures and rules of In-Lon-Schka that
are bedded deep in the ancient past have made that growth possible.
It is an example of how rules and procedures that were laid down
verbally can endure, when the People believe in those who created
In today's world and during the dance, with the Drum getting
stronger, the Women and Men voices singing those ancient songs,
with bells ringing in unison, knowing your ancestors are watching,
it is quite an experience. I have no doubt that taking part in In-Lon-Schka
has aided People to find a deeper sense of meaning for their lives.
Those Old Osages knew what they were doing.