This is a piece, one of a series where all the works are based both the legends and myths of the Native American Indian tribes, primarily those of the "Plains" nations. While these indians still use these animal costumes in ceremonial dance, they have a long and mythologically based history among my people, that is much more than just decorative. This one is actually derived from warriors skinning a common animal of the prarie ( most often wolves, buffalo and dear) and donning the outer hide as both camouflage and tribute to the spirits that lead their lives. The Wolf Dancer would perform a dance, fully adorned, to get the blessing of the spirits before a raid, or a hunt. Once the raid or hunt would begin, the brave would try to move, act and basically become the animal they wore, so as not to raise suspicion among the apposing tribe or the herd they were hunting (sometimes the costume was also used by scouts before a raid, almost like modern day military camouflage techniques used in guerilla warfare). As they would creep ever closer to the apposing tribe, or the herd, their hopes were founded on how much they could become the animal and blend into their natural surroundings. I have read, that it is believed that Beorn, the werebear of Tolkein's Hobbit, may have been based on such legends and Myths. It is common knowledge that J.R.R. Tolkein was an expert on many forms of mythology, tall tales and legends.