Apache Crown dancers, also known as Gaan (with various spellings) represent the four winds. The dancers paint their bodies white and decorate their costumes with bells. Each headdress or crown represents a specific wind. A fourth dancer wears a white headcovering.
Apache religion is cure oriented. It is based on the notion that a series of powers exist in the universe which may be acquired and used by man. One of the most potent of these powers is the power of the gaans. The gaans are supernaturals who live inside mountains and caves throughout Apache country and who manifest themselves as masked dancers during the gaan ceremony. They are often compared to pueblo kachinas who appear in much the same way.
The dancers are junior high school boys from San Carlos, Arizona, photographed at the Tumacacori Festival. The school teaches the Apache language and traditional customs as well as modern academics.
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9/10/15 5050 views
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