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Booger Masks

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All of the masks on this site are hand made with natural dyes and materials by the artist(s) through an on-going proces of gathering materials during times and places throught the year.  Only after all the materials are available at one time are we able to create traditional Cherokee art of basketry and masks.

To view pictures of Booger Masks and/or Baskets please view the picture galleries on this site.  Below the Outhouse Booger picture is a brief description of the historical Cherokee mask.

Outhouse Booger
Masks/agonyintheouthouse.jpg
Briggs, OK

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 homelands.

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).

View more booger pictures in the Booger Mask Gallery.

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