Koshare’s are guardians – protectors of the people. They keep the peace and enforce tribal laws. And…they are known to have a mischievous bone or two in their “enormous” bodies.
“Koshare”! The name alone sends children of most pueblo Indians into a ‘fright’. Children know to be on their best behavior around these “Clowns” (for that is what they are known as by the tribes). There’s been many and ‘upstart’ youngster who has found themselves in the grasp of a Koshare to be dealt with quickly and properly. A friend of mine told me of and incident, at a dance, where a child was acting up and soon found them being dunked in the river a few times in front of the whole tribe.
I have witnessed the Koshare dance many times….MAGNIFICENT !
—Corn Stalks sprout from the crown of the head.
—Black and purple streaks of paint flow down the face.
—Shell earrings hang from the ears.
—Evergreen boughs crisscross the chest and back.
—Deer hooves rattle against hollow turtle shells that wrap around the waist.
—Black loin clothes flow almost to the ground.
—Evergreen boughs are wrapped around the moccasins.
—Black cloth is fastened around the wrists and upper calves.
Their hands are kept free for a reason. As they dance they are watching, adjusting, nurturing and caring for all of their fellow dancers needs.