Date of Award

8-2020

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

English

First Advisor

Eric Morales

Second Advisor

Lynne S. McNeill

Third Advisor

Judson Finley

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of the semiotic concept ostension in folk dance, specifically in Native American hoop dance. Although the discipline of folklore is well-versed in ostension, folk dance has not been examined through this lens. I argue that dance is a form of ostension, of demonstrating a narrative, and this is especially apparent within Native American hoop dancing. I begin with a brief history of Native Americans in North America before discussing the origins of powwows, intertribal culture, and hoop dance. I then look at both the sacred nature and material culture of the modern hoop dance before establishing hoop dance as a form of ostension.

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