The South West Film and Television Archive (SWFTA) is the regional film archive for the South West of England. Established in 1993, SWFTA's core collection comprises of the combined programme libraries of Westward Television and TSW (Television South West). The archive also cares for a significant number of donated film collections, both amateur and professional, dating back to the early 1900s.
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Iroquois Rain Dance
Iroquois Earth Songs connect businessman to nature
From the collection of:
A businessman from Hampshire John Morley is the rainmaker here, a blood brother to a Native American of the Iroquois tribe. He is in full costume performing a traditional rain dance at Burrator Reservoir on Dartmoor in Devon with a contract to provide rain within ten days of signing the Treaty. Traditional dances of the Earth Songs are performed in Native American social gatherings and a rain dance is a simple ritual performed to evoke rain.
To the uninitiated the rain dance has become a cliché for its depiction in American Westerns of the twentieth century but in fact many other more complex social dances exist. Depending on the culture the type of dance and the specifics of the ritual differ. The Iroquois confederacy has Six Nations including Mohawk, Onondage, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora peoples. Their traditional dress for a rain dance includes feathers and turquoise to signify the wind and rain. Gitche Gumee means Big Water, the Native American name for Lake Superior and appears in Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha.