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Nancy Bellzona's Picture Book
Osage Wedding - Osage Wedding Party 1920

Osage Wedding Party 1920He was called Sha-Wa-Bin because he was even at twenty-one a famed warrior, and he belonged to the Eagle gens. He had an Eagle name, Sha-Wa-Bin, which means Bloody Hands or Bloody Talons of the eagle or the falcon. He had counted coup three times, twice on the dead bodies of the enemy. He had counted coup on Apache and a Padouca, and had tapped the body of a very much alive Pawnee chieftain, and had ridden away untouched by Pawnee arrows.

The people, not only of the Eagle gens but of all the gentes, talked of him, and old women came up to touch him, and the old men were constantly giving him advice, but not so much assuming a prerogative of age as for the purpose of reflected importance. The little boys would say, "Bloody Hands is Wah'Kon, mystery medicine; the arrows of the Pawnees curve around him, and Heavy Eyebrows touch their foreheads when he passes."

The above is taken from "The Osages," by John Joseph Mathews, page 312, chapter 30: "Marriage of Bloody Hands and The Light."

This is not written about Bertha's father, Harry Big Eagle. Since the symbols are here on the blanket of "Bloody Hands," or one who kills with his talons, "Big Eagle," is it safe to assume Bertha was a descendant of this Big Eagle spoken of here in the book of "The Osages?"

If you are of Osage descent it would be a good thing to read this book, especially this chapter, on the customs of the weddings. It is beautifully written and since these ways are not practiced anymore this is a valued account. Among the Osage people today there is not a total acceptance of this book, but for the student it does give an idea as to the intricate lace work webbed structure of the people. They themselves refer to the spider as a leader in their legends.



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