North Texas Daily

Native Americans showcase traditional dances

Native Americans showcase traditional dances

November 09
22:56 2009


By Josh Pherigo / Staff Writer –
(Video by Josh Spires)

Students and visitors participated in a cultural experience Monday when a group of Native American dancers and singers showcased their talents in the University Union’s One O’Clock Lounge.

The event, hosted by the UNT Multicultural Center, was a part of the university’s celebration of Native American Heritage Month.

“The best way to find out about our history is to experience it first hand,” said Navajo tribal dancer Harold Rogers.

The event drew an audience of more than 80 people of all ages and featured traditional American Indian attire, dances and instruments, said Posawi Marshall, executive director of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce.

The three dancers were accompanied by traditional Native American singer and drummer Sunny Blackbear, a member of The Bearclaws, a Native American singing group.

They showcased several American Indian pow-wow dance styles, said Rogers, a Dallas resident.

Harold Rogers, of Navajo descent, performs the “fancy war dance” in front of a crowd of students at noon Monday in the University Union’s One O’Clock Lounge. (Photo by Cristy Angulo / Staff Photographer)

Harold Rogers, of Navajo descent, performs the “fancy war dance” in front of a crowd of students at noon Monday in the University Union’s One O’Clock Lounge. (Photo by Cristy Angulo / Staff Photographer)

“The significance of the music can be found in the connection that every human being has the heart. The heart-beat is the inspiration for our songs and dances,” Rogers said.

The group showcased three styles of dance: the southern-style claw, the southern traditional style and the fancy war dance.

Rogers said each dance style tells a different story and communicates a different aspect of Native American heritage.

He said the southern-claw, a slow walking style, requires the dancer to focus heavily on the beat of the drum.

Rogers said the southern traditional style allows the dancer to tell a story through his movements.

He also explained the fancy war dance allows the dancer to showcase his or her athleticism through fast-paced rhythmic movements.

Kristine Martinez is the director of the First Nations Council, a Native American student organization at UNT.

She said she hopes events like these will help spark interest among students about Native American heritage preservation.

“You don’t have to be indigenous to join the club,” said Martinez, a pre-social work sophomore . “Students involved with environment issues might also consider the organization because the environment is a huge part of American Indian culture.”

The event concluded as Rogers invited spectators to join the demonstrators on the dance floor to participate in a “friendship dance.”

Sunny Blackbear sang and beat the native drum as more than two-dozen people of all ethnicities and ages formed a circle and joined in harmonious dance.

“We have to rely on tolerance and understanding to preserve Native American cultural heritage,” Marshall said.

Marshall said more than 80,000 Native Americans, representing 350 tribes, reside in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

About Author



Related Articles

1 Comment

No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Twitter Feed

North Texas Daily @ntdaily
@Reed_Smith25: BREAKING: Brett McMurphy reports that North Texas football will play in the Frisco Football Classic on Dec. 23.
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
THIS OR THAT: Was Kyle Rittenhouse rightfully acquitted?📝@beinmesince96 & Chris Sotelo 🖼️@ooopsrobynn
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
ICYMI: Women’s basketball wins third in a row versus SMU📝@PaulWitwerNTD 🖼️@zachdelbello
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
@PaulWitwerNTD: North Texas Womens Basketball takes on Southern Methodist University in the Super Pit at 6:30 p.m.Follow this thread for news and updates about the game! @ntdaily
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
ARTS & LIFE: Dentonpalooza hosts wacky charity event this weekend📝@HannahJohnsUNT
h J R

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad