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American Philosophical Society
White Dog Sacrifice: A Post-1800 Rite with an Ornamental Use for Wampum: Transactions, APS (Vol. 103, Part 3)
Marshall Joseph Becker & Jonathan C. Lainey
In a search for Iroquoian ritual uses for the marine shell beads now called “wampum” the authors identified the White Dog Sacrifice (WDS) as a possible candidate. The WDS involved ceremonial sacrifice and subsequent cremation of one, or sometimes two “white” dogs to carry away the sins of native believers. Outsiders have recorded their observations of various details of these rituals. Since these records of the WDS often mention the use of wampum, and ethnographic accounts of wampum as part of any religious contexts are extremely rare, this study focuses on descriptions of the WDS to see if wampum beads were essential to the ritual. Another discovery is the importance of burning baskets in connection with these Midwinter rituals. Basket burning survived long after the sacrificial offering of dogs had ended. Illus.
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