Traveling among the Creeks in the early 1770’s, Bernard Romans saw a Creek social dance. The women were dressed with leather leggings covered with deer toes in form of bells. He wrote that the sound was exactly like a castanet. He was able to examine them when his landlady returned home from the dance. Later, it became the practice to use pebble-filled box turtle shells, though in modern times the turtles are becoming endangered. When the Native Americans were forced onto reservations, they no longer had access to deer or turtles, so they started using the evaporated milk cans that were available as a commodity. Depending on the time period all are authentic.
Above is a series of photos that start with the men. Then the women join in. Soon, everyone is dancing. Sometimes they change things a little and hold hands in a follow-the-leader snaked line. Notice the line-up alternating men and women. Look closely and you will see that even the children join in.
We have been part of the small group trying to recreate this practice of using the deer toe legging shakers in the tradition of stomp dancing. If you know of anyone using deer toe shakers, we would love to hear about them. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
Deer toes can be used for leggings or hung on bags as accents to chime when moving. We sell deer toes individually or in bulk. Check out our order form for pricing.
|.55 per toe, raw||.50 per toe, raw, 500 or more||.85 per toe, drilled||.80 per toe, drilled, 500 or more|
Each deer foot has two toes. (Two toes x 4 feet = 8 toes per deer)
Note: Deer toes are organic. They have been boiled, dried and are relativly clean. However, they must be stored in a dry, ventilated area in a cloth or paper container. If stored for months or years, they will attract insects. You may want to use cedar within the container for long storage.
$1.75 per toe, for custom leggings
The toes will be sized, cleaned, drilled and sewn onto the legging.
Note: Additional measurements will be needed for custom orders.
Generally there is a minimum on leggings of 200 toes per leg. This size will fit most teenagers to adults. However, we can discuss pricing for smaller children’s leggings. Leggings kits are available and include 500 toes, a deer hide and instructions. This kit will make a set of leggings of 250 toes per leg. The toes may be raw or drilled. Some additional tools are needed to complete your leggings.
Want a “Toe Party” to make leggings with your group? Contact us to schedule your party.