Symbol of “Prickly Pear Sun Dance”from Kiowa hide calendar. Prickly pear cactus tunas (fruits) are shown above the medicine lodge. According to ethnographer JamesMooney, who documented the symbolism, the dance was likely held in late fall, when the fruit were ripe, at a place with an abundance of the cactus. Mooney notes,”The sweet fruit of the cactus is much prized by the Indians, who eat it raw, while the fleshy leaves are used as a mordant in their painting upon buckskin. (Mooney 1898:301).
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