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 BOYE LADD:  As you see the dancers dance out there to the drum. You notice that everyoneís in harmony, everybody dances together, everybodyís heartbeat is dancing to the same rate as that drum is out on the floor.  What I look for in a champion is the smoothness, the degree of difficulty in footwork, the speed, the beauty of his regalia, his ability to keep in time with the drum and your endings. The dancerís ability to know the song and end on the last beat of that particular song or style of competition and the respect, his character.  As a professional dancer most of us will go out and dance with only one thing in mind, thatís you and the drum, the music.  I donít see people when I dance, all I see is a bunch of bodies because my mind is so focused on the music, the drum, that it becomes a part of you.

Many of the professionals we talk about jamming, in other words, feeling the music without letting out a planned format or our choreography. Some people will lay out choreography based on drum but then again you donít really get to enjoy the essence of the music, the freedom to go out and express yourself.

Mary Anne Anquoe (Southern Traditional Dancer, Kiowa):  When youíre out there and youíre dancing the spirit is there. You could feel it.  You could - your worst enemy, you could smile at him. Thatís how good you feel. And Iím not kidding when I say that.  Your heart is just full, to me youíre just full right here. Somebody go by that you donít really care for, you say hi, or smile  at Ďem or something, and itís there.

Kevin Haywahe Contemporary Traditional Dancer, Assiniboine First Nation): It comes from the heart for dancing.  I could dance all day long, you know, go on and keep on enjoying myself for the people, from the life of that drum that theyíre giving and the singers around that drum, so that helps me a lot, that really encourages me.

I like it to where you could see the people where theyíre really into the dancing part of it and put the money aside of it and thatís what got me here, was my dancing to where I am today, to be Öpicked up with many dancers to join a theater in New York City to travel the world and Öexplain our culture.


 Mikki Aganstata (Food Vendor, Cherokee):  I donít know how youíd have a powwow without having food. Native dishes of different types. I donít know. How could you have a festival, a celebration and not have special foods?

Well, what Iím doing is tacos, Indian tacos  which originated in the Southwest and thereís quite a history to them, quite a history to the bread. This is the foundation of the Indian taco and what Iím frying right now is a regular fry   bread and I also have some pumpkin fry bread which Iíll probably fry a little later. Each stand is different. And we try to  reflect not only our own heritage but the heritage of the locality.

Festivals are different everywhere, everywhere.  And with the kind of weather weíre getting here,  maybe I should be doing some corn soup.


John Kessler (Stone Carver, Kispokotha Shawnee):  I specialize in wildlife native to eastern woodlands, bears, buffaloes, cougars,  eagles, turtles, what have you.  I started this about five, six years ago and I started by making a traditional pipe.  Thatís the first time I had ever carved stone. I had never carved much wood or anything other than a little bit of whittling and I fell in love with  it, so Iíve kind of stepped from making little pipe carvings, I wanted to do bigger and better things, so here I am. I do all the way up to life sized pieces.

I use only hand tools, tools you see right here, carved every single piece here including the life sized pieces.

You donít find this same type of energy in a traditional or a standard white art show.  Thereís plenty good energy at a regular art show, donít get me wrong, a lot of artistic energy but itís not the same. Here the energy is mixed with spirituality, much more. Itís much more important, a lot more heart driven. It makes it a lot better for me. I like being around the people. You canít get this cross section of cultures in one place at one time at almost any other event.


Stonehorse Lone Goeman (Bone Carver, Onondaga Nation ):  These little guys here are made from skulls of moose. This one here Iím really kind of fond of because itís a man, heís singing because his womanís going to give birth.  Heís honoring the power of the woman to give birth so now this old skull has life again.  I can take this stuff and make it come back to life a little. These are all horn buffalo shinbone mush spoons. Heís had the bark bowls and stuff like this and everything they use to scrape that mush. And these are old time hair combs. Comb it at the bottom and they put in a tuft and they put it in the hair like that and it sits in there. Those are all Iroquois pieces and we also make custom lamps. My wife does the baskets and the lampshades out of sweet grass and white ash, black ash.


BOYE LADD:  Traditionally long ago design and color and material, natural parts that were used for our regalia usually were attributed to respect  to nature itself such as the grass dance

You see the deer hooves or the hooves of elk or moose, the bones, the various parts of each animal  were incorporated into our regalia as well as the designs. Many of the designs youíll find today are out of respect to tribal affiliation or clan membership or perhaps a dream or a vision.

With the advent of the white man and a lot of the Ė the materials that they brought with them, the needle and the use of metal, seed beads, porcelain,  many of these things were added onto what we call the traditional format of structuring and making things out of beauty.  The fluorescent colors are very bright so naturally would get the judgeís attention, catch their eye as they come spinning by.

Long ago you could identify a dancer by looking at his regalia and knew what tribe  he came from.  You look at our regalias, a lot of it might not necessarily be traditional  as it is being Ė becoming more Pan American. In other words, everyone copies from one another, borrows from one another.

Kevin Haywahe:   My Indian name is Powerful Walking Wolf. As a little boy, I got to grow up dancing all my life since I was a little fellow.  My friend here, he  came to me in a dream when I was like young, maybe 15, 16, 17 years ago. He would come to me and talk to me. I used to give out offerings to him to come closer to my house, to my fatherís house  They took me out in the wintertime and we tracked down these coyotes and we talked to them, they asked them - health and life, you know, from there we would chase them down on horseback. They made me jump on one. To take it myself. His own life with my life together, we were both together. So  from there we went on and time came on to paint the face of the warriors of the red, yellow for the sun people, the young generation, the black for the elderly and the sick for the lonely people, the ones that are hurting and mourning.

Bustle is the circle of life and to our people at home each feather represents - these are your mother and your father, and each one was your brother and your sister and your family and your relatives. Each feather represents what you put on your bustle. And my breach cloth here, my drag here is I have an emblem here of a black tail thatís kind of part of my Indian name going along with the wolf helping me in life.  These here represent the tracks of this other friend of mine here, the 4 tracks that he has and walks through life with it, and I walk with him with - with that life.  The tail feathers here, and I took the two out there for my roach for the top of the veteranís - yellow dots on here of the warriors that did a feat in life and helped their tribe in anyway.


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Last modified: September 03, 2012