Wapak’ kothakeyDance Cans
The dance cans in the Shawnee exhibit is a contemporary piece that is for display purposes only.
The male leader calls out “Nikanikata (You lead it)” and the dance leader begins to circle the fire and sing. Dancers file in behind the lead singer. Males sing responses while women begin to use their stomp cans. For Shawnees, Nikanikawe (lead dance or stomp dance) is a social dance inherited from Southeastern tribes. Today, Shawnees stomp dance after their ceremonial dances, dancing all night until morning.
The stomp cans used to be made of box turtle shells. Only certain people could make the shakers. They had to be able to talk to the turtles to tell them what was going on. Today people often use cans from canned milk. It takes talent and skill to make a good sounding pair of cans.
Made by Kelsey Francis