Keeping the Native Traditions Alive

For a college history class, I was given an assignment to write about the history of the Native Americans. I could have just made a presentation and typed a long paper, but I wanted to do something that was a little less boring. I came up with the idea of learning how to do a traditional Native American dance. The Native Americans have a rich tradition in using dance in meaningful ways. I looked for a traditional Indian headdress on the Internet and an accurate ceremonial outfit to make my dance look even more authentic.

I studied videos of Native Americans dancing until I could get the steps down perfectly. I even got in touch with a Native American who was skilled in the traditional dances and asked him if he could give me a little guidance. He had taught the traditional dances to his children, and his parents taught him. It is important for him to teach the dance to his kids so they can pass it on to theirs, so that the traditions will not die out with his generation. Due to historical faults, the Native American people are not as numerous as they once were, so they must do everything they can to preserve tradition.

When it came time to start my presentation before the class, I put on my headdress and outfit and stood up before everyone. I had an audio recording to go along with the dance to set the mood. As I was dancing, I wasn’t sure if the class was enjoying it or not, because no one made a sound. Once I was done, they gave me a big applause. The teacher thought I did a great job and even gave me a little extra credit for doing the dance. I wish I had recorded myself doing the dance.


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