A few days before school was out for summer this year, Stitchy was part of the Native performance at his school. His little buddy’s parents are part of a performance group, and they try to come to the school at least once a year for a cultural presentation. It most often coincides with Land Run Day, which, here in Oklahoma, is the celebration of the settlers claiming “their” land. While this is a huge part of Oklahoma history, the day’s events don’t usually share the whole story. Enter Native Day. At the elementary level, the goal isn’t yet to go into the specifics regarding how Natives were a part of the Land Run, but to introduce the students to the Native culture and show everyone that Natives are not a thing of the past; their classmates are still involved in a very active and traditional life.
The kiddos got ready in the hall and danced into the gym Grand Entry-style. The Grand Entry is when the dancers officially enter the arena to dance. At a pow wow, this often includes all participating dancers.
After lining up at the front of the gym, each child introduced themselves. Often they mention what tribe they are, but they didn’t at this performance. After introductions, each student showcased their dance.
Next were the fancy shawl dancers. Their moves and colorful regalia mimic a butterfly.
Finally, the fancy dancers showed their stuff. This is always a favorite at contest pow wows!
Next, the Native students showed their classmates how to do a very simple dance, the Rabbit Dance.
There were some Native students at school who were not a part of the performance, and they were invited to come and join in the two-step. This is a social dance where couples basically play follow the leader with the head couple. I was taught that if someone asks you to two-step, you always accept.
The performance ended with the Hoop Dance, an exhibition dance, done by Stitchy’s friend’s dad. He dances while using hoops to make shapes and props all without stopping or dropping them. If you ever get a chance to see a hoop dancer, don’t pass it up. So fun to watch!
I’m always so proud of Stitchy when he performs for his school. I love that he’s excited to show his heritage to his schoolmates and teachers.