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48 INDIAN GAMES AND DANCES
APPEAL FOR CLEAR SKY
Introductory Note. — Among those Indian tribes that lived outside the semi-arid sections of our country, the storm with its destructive force was the representative of war, and thunder was a war god.
Warfare was widespread among the tribes dwelling in the Mississippi valley; yet among these people the desirability and value of peace were recognized. Honors won in a defensive fight gave the warrior higher rank than those gained in wars of aggression. Rituals belonging to religious ceremonies, and also to war rites, taught that the first duty of the warrior was to protect the women and children, the fields and the food supply, for his strong arm and ready courage made the tribe's only wall of defence against enemies.
These tribes had ceremonies relating to the maintenance of peace not only within the tribe but for the purpose of forming peaceful relations with other tribes. The clear sky was the symbol of peace, of happiness and of prosperity, conditions the very opposite of those that attended war.
When a peace ceremony was in progress, if a storm arose it was looked upon as an omen of disaster. At such a time, when clouds gathered, the people joined in ceremonial songs and appeals for clear sky, the symbol of peace.