The Cherokee Booger Dance is a very important part of Cherokee history and the reactions of the Cherokee
people who were feeling the political and social upheaval of their daily lives as European settlers encroached upon their
The term "Booger" equivalent to "Bogey" (ghost) is [was] used by English speaking
Cherokee and their white neighbors for any ghost or frightful animal. The actions of the maskers portray the Cherokee
estimate of the European invader as awkward, ridiculous, rude, and menacing, a dramatic perpetuation of the tradition of hostility
and disdain. The dance may very well possess elements of a mechanism compensatory for national decay and military and
cultural defeat. (Speck, Frank 1951).
In this dance, which stands in sharp contrast to the historical ceremonial
and spiritual themes, we have a record of the anxieties of an indigenous people and their dramatic reactions against the "invader."
Through symbolically mocking and making fun of the threat, the Cherokee caricatured enemies' features and
characteristics in a bawdy and burlesque dance that eased the Cherokees' ability to cope, lessening the threat through
translating it into a means of comic relief.
The dance is introduced as a major dramatic and symbolic feature
of the Winter dance. The women are nicely dressed Cherokee style. One woman wears the turtle leg rattles and assigns
herself as partner to the Booger Leader. The other Boogers proceed in ribaldry, dashing toward women and behaving rudely
to all. The women continue to ignore the Boogers who soon give up their unwanted advances, leaving the dance and disappearing
into the night (Speck, Frank 1951).