(Riverton, WY) – Jingle, fancy and traditional exhibition dancers came together on a beautiful sunny day for the Rendezvous School Powwow in Tonkin Stadium on Thursday. Fourth and fifth-grade students, along with their teachers and parents enjoyed the exhibition-style event featuring Native student dancers, Grass Dancer, and a world-class Hoop Dancer.
Deb Meredith, Title I Specialist and chairperson of their parent involvement committee at Rendezvous School said that the powwow was being put on in cooperation with the FCSD #25 Title 6 Program.
“We’re always looking for ways to get our families involved in education and we thought this was a great opportunity to celebrate some of our diverse cultures,” she said. “Wyoming history is a big deal in fourth grade. We just want to celebrate our diversity and enjoy some quality time and involve as many families as we can.”
Tianna Wagon, Title VI Indian Education and JOM Cultural Resource Specialist said that Rendezvous School reached out because “usually, our district does an end of the year cultural experience,” she said. “This year they contacted me and wanted to host a powwow and start it as an annual event. The planning started at the beginning of February. I reached out to my consultants, and here we are today.”
“The tipis were for the students to see,” Wagon continued. “The younger age groups are amazed to see that we still have these. We use them for ceremonial purposes, but also for today we used them for the dancers as a shaded area and changing area.”
The Little Brave Drum Group and MC Luke Bell called out the dancers, showcasing Fancy Shawl, Jingle, Traditional, Men’s Fancy Dance, and Grass Dance by Lydell White Plume, and two-time world champion Dakota Hoop Dancer Jasmine “Good Road Woman” Bell with daughter Aloysia.
“This is part of who we are, how we express ourselves,” Jasmine said. “We create our own story, and these hoops here–they’re very sacred because traditionally the Hoop Dance years ago was a Healing Dance. They would go out and would dance for the people and as they danced through that hoop, those prayers would go up to the Creator. To this day, we still use this as a Healing Dance.”
“Today I’m dedicating my hoop dancing to those young babies and teachers who lost their lives on Tuesday,” she continued. “We want to think of them, keep their families in our prayers, and dedicate this dance in honor of them.”
The finale was an invitation to the students, parents, and teachers to join the dancers in two circles on the field in a Friendship Dance.
“We come together as one,” Luke Bell said. “One nation under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. No matter what your religion or race, we are all human beings here on Mother Earth on this one planet that we share together. So we’ve got to learn how to take care of it, to take of each and every one of us. Look after your neighbor. Look after your brother and sister…your mom, your dad, your grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins, even your friends. So no matter what, as human beings on this Mother Earth, we are strong as one. So we come together as one.”