Essay On Native American Dance

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Tribes of Native Americans use special rituals (dances) to ensure their lifestyle and things that are important to them such as hunting or farming. These vary from tribe to tribe. We see major differences in dances between tribes that hunt and tribes that farm. For example, a nomadic tribe that hunts would have dances honoring respected totem animals, animals upon which they depend or which could teach them necessary skills. Agricultural tribes, however, generally danced in imitation of sowing and gathering crops (Lihs).
One of the dances of the Native American is the Fancy Men’s Dancing. This dance is originally from Oklahoma and it is highly skillful and competitive. Fancy dance is danced at annual festivals and powwows, a term derived from pauau, which translates to a curing ceremony attended by a large amount of people. Ever since around 1900, powwows have referred to tribal festivals where traditional singing, dancing, feasting, gift exchange, and competitions occur. Some of the dancers might compete in all the different styles, but they usually specialize in only one (Cohen). The style of the dances are all different, even from individual to individual. A characteristic Native American
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It was created by members of the Ponca tribe in the 1920s and 1930s, in an attempt to preserve their culture and religion (Native). This had to be done because at around this time, Native American religious dances were outlawed by the US and Canadian governments. These traditional dances had to be performed in private so that the government would not find out about them. A different type of dance not based on the original War Dace was seen as appropriate and therefore was able to be performed for visitors on reservations and at shows (Native). The Fancy Dance became an important source of revenue during the Great Depression. In the late 1930's, women also began to perform in the Fancy Dance
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