Apache Crown Dancers: In memory of a lost drowned land?

Apache-Spirit-Dancers-1887.jpg                        This image has been reproduced on many blogs—I am unable to find the original


Sometimes different thoughts will tickle the back of my awareness just itching to percolate up and join together in some way:

As I was taught by a Tineh (what we call Apache*) elder, each morning her people greet the sun with tobacco and a prayer to the Four Directions, Mother Earth, and Father Sky. To the south they say, “…to the good red road home.” That always struck me as meaningful, and I always wondered what that meaning was.

Later I would read various authors claiming the Apache Crown Dance had roots in Atlantis, the lost drowned land. But that idea seemed far-fetched until I discovered L. Taylor Hansen’s book, The Ancient Atlantic.

Ms. Hansen got her information from Chief Asa Delugie, Geronimo’s nephew and the Crown Dance leader whom she met in the 1960s. In the book, Ms. Hansen recounts her fascinating conversation with Asa Delugie. During the course of the conversation she showed him pictures of the fire gods from Asia, Egypt, and Peru. Chief Delugie recognized them but told her he could not reveal the name of the fire-god. Ms. Hansen asked if she might tell him the name of the god as given in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It was, he revealed, the same—but asked her not to repeat it out of respect. She agreed.

During the conversation, Asa Delugie also recognized a picture of a megalithic city terraced onto the side of a mountain in Peru, stating it was once their home. He then goes on to describe subterranean tunnels and other construction details not in the picture.

Before she left Ms. Hansen showed him the lid to a small pot from the First Dynasty in Egypt. It had a picture of a priest putting black paint on the legs of a deity—the same deity whose name may not be revealed according to the Chief. There was still red sand in the cracks of the lid and Chief Delugie said the jar contained black paint and was once packed in the red sand of Atlantis, the old red land. To this day, the Crown Dancers cover their faces in black.


93744372-155D-451F-67AF9C9730F606E8-large.jpgPhoto credit: National Park Service

Here are some other points that relate to the Old Red Land, the drowned land of the ancestors:

  • The Crown Dancers come in from the east—the direction of the Atlantic—wearing tridents on their heads. The trident of Poseidon is the symbol for Atlantis to this day.
  • On their breasts, the men wear mirrors with down feathers representing the twin star Venus—the morning and the evening star. (That the morning star and the evening star are one was hidden knowledge in many ancient traditions all across the globe—it would take hundreds of years of observation to establish that fact.)
  • The leader of the dance wears a helmet with feather on top. It resembles a mountain with a smoking volcano, the description of Atlantis.
Drawing of helmet based on L. Taylor Hansen p. 127.
  • The eight pyramids across the bottom and 13 pyramids up the sides are significant and also relate to hidden knowledge about the star Venus. In the time it takes Earth to revolve around the sun eight times, Venus will have made 13 revolutions. The eight pyramids on the bottom of the helmet represent Earth’s revolutions and the 13 up the sides represent Venus’s revolutions.


Here is something interesting, but I could not substantiate it:

In Atlantis in Wisconsin (2008) Frank Joseph claims that the speaker of the Apache Crown Dance thrusts his trident into the ground, declaring, “I remember the old red land.” In an earlier book, Survivors of Atlantis (2004), he claims the speaker says, “I remember the old red land of my forefathers and how it sank beneath the sea.” Joseph did not tell us where he got this information and I can find no pictures of dancers carrying tridents—they wear them on their heads.

However, Chief Delugie did speak about the Tineh legend of the sinking of the homeland with “fire” and “shaking,” but whether this is part of the Crown Dance, Hansen did not tell us.

But here is the best part:

When Hansen first saw the Crown Dancers she was reminded of something. Years before she had met a traveler who claimed to have seen the fire-dance of the Taureg, a mysterious and closed group of Berbers in the Sahara. The dancers of this African tribe also file in from the direction of the Atlantic. They, too, wore tridents on their heads—but their tridents were flaming. When Ms Hansen mentioned the Taureg, Chief Delugie recognized the name—he pronounced it Taurak and stated the name means, “people of the all-glorious fire god,”—the same fire-god of the Crown Dance whose name may not be revealed.

That got my mind percolating again:

So the men of the Apache and Taureg did similar fire-honoring dances.

And, according to the Tineh elder, OhShinnah, the Bedouin women had a Moon ceremony. (Bedouin is a catch-all term for nomadic tribes of the Sahara, like the Taureg.) OhShinnah taught us that Moon ceremony; she said went back 45,000 years. She did not, however, get it directly from the Tineh women. She said it came through a friend of one of her Native American ancestors. Coincidence or a thought coming to life?



Hansen, L. Taylor (1969). The Ancient Atlantic. Amherst, WI: Amherst press. (Pp. 127-135; 283, 353; 389.)

Joseph, Frank (2008). Atlantis in Wisconsin: New Revelations About the Lost Sunken City. Lakeville, MN: Galde Press, Inc.

Joseph, frank (2004). Survivors of Atlantis: Their Impact on World Culture. Rochester, VT: Bear & Company.


* According to this elder, OhShinnah, Apache is the Zuni word for enemy. The Zuni acted as guides to the soldier in the southwest. When Zuni scouts saw the Tineh, they told the soldier they were “Apache,” their enemy. The name has stuck. But these people call themselves Tineh. Just as the Navajo are called Dineh. The people.


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