Native Pride Dancers perform in Kresge

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Native Pride Dancers' founding member, Larry Yazzie

On March 10, Native Pride Dancers’ performance was held in the GCPA for the public, hosted by the School of Music, Prindle Institute for Ethics, DePauw Theatre, and English Department. 

Native Pride Dancers, including members from many tribal nations, have traveled around the world to “educate, inspire, motivate, and empower diverse communities to bridge cultural gaps through Indigenous traditions,” according to the program notes. The audience was able to experience the Native American music throughout a variety of performance types from solo, duo, trio, troupe, to large ensemble theatrical productions. 

At the beginning of the performance, Dr. Lori White, president of DePauw, said, “This event is an example of the interdisciplinary and collaborative liberal arts experiences at DePauw. I encourage, and I challenge each of you here tonight to find ways to engage further with the work of the Native Pride Dancers and the Native Culture.”

Speaking of the performance’s purposes, CEO, founder and artistic director of Native Pride Productions Larry Yazzie said, “These dances are my ways to say thank you to the creator, Mother Earth, and we must all take care of our Mother Earth for our future generations to come. You see, it’s our job to plant a seed in our minds, nurture love, give some hope so that we can all succeed in life. Especially, during this time of the pandemic, we all have to remember to pray for ourselves, our families, our communities, and this world. Let's all dance this COVID away.” 

The performance included many dance exhibitions such as the Jingle Dress, Women's Fancy Shawl, Eagle, Grass, and Men's Fancy Dances. DePauw’s faculty members and students were also able to engage in a large ensemble dance in the end under the instruction of Native Pride Dancers. 

Sharing about the experience, first-year Khanh Nam Hoang said, “This is among my best experiences at DePauw. We were not only able to see the beautiful dance of the Native people, but also were able to participate in the dance. The dancing team has gone beyond merely performing but interacting and raising awareness of the native heritage of the old time, which made this much more than a performance,” Hoang said.

Closing the performance, Yazzie shared, “We have lost a community member during the pandemic. I am so honored, glad, and happy to join my brothers again to dance for you today; we bring you medicine, we want you to take away something special tonight, take away a demon you have. For me to come down here and dance for you, I gave my all, and I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”