August 1, 2019

Seeing smoke

Eastern tribes bring their style to Fort Berthold
By Jerry W. Kram
The celebrations of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara people have brought dancers, drummers and singers from across Indian Country and beyond to their homes along the Missouri River for decades. These visitors have returned the hospitality by bringing their own unique traditional culture to share with their hosts.
At the Mandaree Celebration members of the Osages, Seneca, Oneida, and other tribes from New York and Ontario shared their Smoke Dance, a fast paced and colorful dance that actually has a fairly recent origin.
“The Smoke Dance was created for the World’s Fairs that were going on in the 20s and 30s,” said Sheldon Sundown, who provided the drum for the dancers. “They had a lot of Native Americans from the United States and Canada on the shows. They were all performing their different styles and traditions.

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