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Fancy Dancer

Indians of Canada, Indians of the Plains

Stamp Info

Name Value
Date of Issue October 4, 1972
Year 1972
Quantity 14,175,000
Denomination
Perforation or Dimension 12.5 x 12
Series Indians of Canada, Indians of the Plains
Series Time Span 1972
Printer British American Bank Note Company.
Postal Administration Canada

Stamp Values/Prices (Beta Mode*)

Condition Name Avg Price
M-NH-VF Mint - Never Hinged - Very Fine
Mint - Never Hinged - Very Fine $0.35
U-VF Used - Very Fine
Used - Very Fine $0.15
* Notes about these prices:
  • They are currently in beta mode, meaning that they should not be relied upon yet as a source of truth and could change frequently. Please notify CPS if you come across values that do not make sense.
  • They are not based on catalogue values but on current dealer and auction listings. The reason for this is that catalogues tend to over-value stamps.
  • They are average prices and might not be fully accurate. The actual value of your stamp may be slightly above or below the listed value, depending on the overall condition of your stamp.

About Stamp

Before the arrival of Europeans there had developed on the Canadian prairies a human society, that of the Plains Indians, remarkably adapted to the region's limited but rich resources. These Indians were nomads, travelling in bands throughout the year. They shared the land with great buffalo herds, deer and antelope. As in all human groups with centuries of tradition, graphic representations perpetuated the Canadian Indians' religious beliefs. The symbol most commonly used to represent their most powerful divinity was thunder. The graphic symbol of this divinity in many Canadian Indian groups was a winged animal, powerful and frightening. The thunderbird reproduced in this pair of stamps is of Plains Cree origin. The decorative pattern is Assiniboine, Georges Beaupré of Montreal designed the stamp. Religion among the Plains Indians was a personal matter. Although there was no orderly hierarchy of deities, there was an intricate and precise pattern of behaviour in certain rituals, especially for the sun dance. During this ritual, which followed the short period of intensive summer hunting, individuals and the tribe as a whole sought power and well-being. The Plains Indians, constantly facing the prospect of death from starvation, sickness or at the hands of human enemies, lived in a world of uncertainty. But the supernatural powers which surrounded them could be called upon for protection and aid. These benevolent powers resided in the skies, in the waters and on the land. Sun and thunder were the most powerful sky spirits. Beaver and otter were potent spirits of the lakes and streams. In a quest for supernatural power, the young Indian man would go out alone on foot to some little-frequented place. There he fasted and called upon all the powers of sky, earth and water until he was exhausted and fell asleep. Then, an animal, bird or power of nature (such as thunder) might appear to him in a dream and give him some of its power. The spirit would show him certain objects sacred to it and describe how they should be made and cared for, and how they should be used to bring success and protection. The spirit would also give him the songs, face paint patterns, taboos and rituals associated with the use of its particular medicine. Soon after the young man returned home, he made the articles. These objects comprised the contents of his personal medicine bundle and were the symbols of the power given to him. The Plains Indians had a great fondness for personal adornment. The men wore their hair loose around their necks and decorated with strings of bird feathers. The handsome eagle-feather bonnets were reserved for battle, ceremonies and dress parades. Men's shirts were made of soft tanned elk or cow-hide elaborately decorated. Leggings of soft hide and skin moccasins completed the man's everyday costume. "The Fancy Dancer" reproduced in this pair of stamps is the work of Gerald Tailfeathers of Cardston, Alberta, an Indian of the Blood Band of the Blackfoot Nation. It illustrates the ceremonial costume a man might wear during the sun dance and is reproduced through the courtesy of the Glenbow-Alberta Institute. Layout and typography were done by Georges Beaupré.

Creators

Designed by Georges Beaupré. Picture engraved by George Arthur Gundersen.

Original Artwork

Gerald Tailfeathers, "Episutspi", 1970 Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta
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Reference

Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1972.

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