What was the Shaking Tent Ceremony and How did Native Americans use animal bones to tell the future?

When Subarctic Native Americans became sick, lost a valuable object, or otherwise needed help, they hired a religious leader called a shaman to perform the Shaking Tent Ceremony.

After nightfall, the shaman entered a special round tent and sang and played the drum to call his helpers from the spirit-world. Suddenly, the tent began to shake back and forth wildly, and the voices of the spirit-helpers start speaking out.

To onlookers, the spectacle was fun and exciting. They could call out questions for the helpers, who would shout back answers. Sometimes, the spirit-voices would even tell jokes or pose riddles to entertain the crowd.

what was the shaking tent ceremony and how did native americans use animal bones to tell the future

Some groups, such as the Innu, used the shoulder bones of animals to tell the future. After charring a bone in a fire, they studied the cracks in it. The cracks’ shapes and lengths were thought to contain messages about a person’s fate.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist for zippyfacts.com. Born in New York, she loves interesting random facts from all over the world.