The Tonkawa, like most the Plains tribes, had a variety of dances that were performed regularly and ceremoniously. Among many dances belonging to the
Tonkawa were the: Buffalo Dance, Deer Dance, Wild Hog Dance, Turkey Dance,
Dance of the Short Steps, Notched Stick Dance, and a dance called "Singing
All Around" which later became known as the "Back and Forth" dance.
Dances connected with war were especially important to the
Tonkawa. The "Scout" dance, the
and the "Hold-Shield" dance were three primary dances associated with warfare.
The "Wolf" dance was a particularly solemn ceremony performed to commemorate the "origin" of "creation" of the Tonkawa. This dance was probably the most sacred of all dances and efforts were made to keep it secret from outsiders.
Another spiritually significant dance was the "Tome-ka" or "Water-Drum" dance which really was not a dance at all, but a religious ceremony which later became known as the "Peyote Ritual." This form of religious expression or worship had
been a cultural tradition among the Tonkawa and Lipan since before the
coming of Columbus. Other French and Spanish explorers noted this religious
ceremony which utilized the peyote as a "sacrificial medicine" in use by
the Tonkawa and Lipan during the 1600's. During the last 100 years, however,
many tribes have adapted the use of this "sacrificial medicine" to their
own religious ceremonials through a process of cultural exchange. The name
"Native American Church" has been applied to this newly developed inter-tribal
religion, but to the Tonkawa and Lipan, this religion is as old as the