This dancer is one of “Bugs Boys”, mountain man lingo for Blackfoot warriors. In his right hand he holds a coup stick, in his left a turtle shell rattle. He has eagle feathers in his hair. So, just what is he celebrating? Did he successfully count coup on another warrior, or perhaps a mountain man. Could it be that he is just preparing himself for war?
About Counting Coup
Counting coup was the greatest exploit and highest honor a warrior could earn. Demonstrated courage was the essence of a warrior’s superiority over his opponent, and even over his own tribe members. Killing may have been a part of war, but courage in the battle was more important for individual status.
Any blow struck against the enemy counted, but touching an enemy warrior with the hand, bow or coup stick and then escaping unharmed was the most prestigious form of coup. A warrior who won coup had the honor of wearing an eagle feather in his hair, but warriors wounded during the attempt had to paint the eagle feather red.