The 2016 Spirit of Nations Powwow Celebrates Dance!
We've asked our Native friends: Why do you dance? Here are some of the responses.
"I always felt a void in my life. I felt a desire to understand my past so that I could live my present to the fullest and guarantee my future. Dance calls me, it fills that void. When I am in the circle among family, I am whole. Everything is right in the world. I know that sounds like a cliche, but it is the only way I can describe it."
"I dance for my grandfather and his fathers before him. I dance for my dad because he can't. I dance for my people because of love. I dance for my prayers and honor my creator."
"For the ancestors...for those alive who can no longer dance...to feel the spirit of a place around the dance circle...to feel the drumbeat entering the earth with my feet...I was taught this is why we dance."
"To show the maker my joy at His creation."
“I dance for those who can’t…I dance to make others have good feelings…always be humble and always be thankful for what you have…there is always someone out there who has it worse than you.”
“I dance for respect of those that passed the dances down to all tribes, I dance for all Native veterans, past, present and future, I dance for those that are unable and for inspiration of wellbeing and activeness for Natives struggling with various illnesses. And lastly, family."
“Just being able to dance is a blessing. To the dance itself is a story of one’s self. Youth – full of excitement, and as it goes on, lessons are learned and coming to a true sense of self and purpose, the songs, rhythms and the moments of the body come together. It becomes more of not showing but more of giving.”
"I dance for those that can't. I like to make people feel good. I dance to educate the people."
"I dance to connect to GOD to speak with Him. I dance to be among my ancestors in prayer and peace. I dance for our people."
"I dance for the people who have kept all of our Native culture alive...and I dance for the people who cannot."
"I dance because I always wanted to when I was a child. I have always had social anxiety so I never believed I could actually do it. It wasn't until I was pregnant with Ollie that I decided to give it a try. I didn't want my child to know that part of me. I didn't wnat her to be scared of culture or anything else for that matter. So I just went and did it. I took first place at my first powwow and I was three months pregnant. I have overcome a lot by dancing and it has helped me tremendously in the small amount of time that I have been doing it."
"I enjoy dancing becasue I did it as a teenager for a short bit and at 28 I lived with my brother who taught me about dancing and I fell in love with the drum again and it became a part of me. It helped me learn more about Native culture that I didn't know because I didn't grow up arouns Cherokee or other natives. It's a way to educate other non native people who only know Indian people who they see on TV. It feels good to dance I was alway told when you dance you dance for the ones you love. You dance for the ones who can't and especially for the warriors and vererans and elders. When you hear that drum it makes you want to dance."