jingle dress dancer


Native American dancers. Jingle Dress is a Native American Powwow dance performed by women. The regalia is elaborately ornamented; the metal cones create percussive sound as the dancer moves.

From wikipedia:
The traditional jingle dress dance is characterized by the jingle dress and light footwork danced close to ground. The dancer dances in a pattern, her feet never cross, nor does she dance backward or turn a complete circle. Compared to the original dance, the contemporary dance can be fancier, with intricate footwork and the dress design is often cut to accommodate these footwork maneuvers. Contemporary dancers do often cross their feet, turn full circles and dance backwards. Such moves exemplify the differences between contemporary and traditional jingle dress dancing.


TBT. But every day is a good day to be indigenous! 

(Just some photos taken throughout my year as the Stampede Indian Princess) 1st Photo taken by Karyn Lee, photos 2-7 taken by Noah Fallis from Calgary’s Avenue Magazine


“I grew up in a churchy town. There were sixteen churches in a town of 2,000 people. Mennonite, Catholic, Lutheran. So everybody was in the closet. It wasn’t about being Two-Spirit, because nobody was out where I come from.

Growing up, I felt the energy from different people who were Two-Spirit. It’s like we knew each other, even if we didn’t talk about it, because it was something that we were silent about. I grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada, so it’s different than here. That’s why I came out here, because it’s more acceptable to be who you are in this particular city than anywhere else I’ve ever been. When I truly found who I was, it was like an explosion. Like, ‘Wow, I can be who I am?’

Two-Spirit means having both male and female spirits within you, like a gender fluidity between male and female. I don’t think one’s more important than the other. They balance each other. We go along the gender spectrum. We’re fluid in it, we’re not just stuck in one place.

Part of my Two-Spirit identity is being a male traditional dancer, even though I’m female. There’s a lot of men who cross into being either a jingle dress dancer, or a female traditional dancer. It’s all about who our spirit tells us we are, not who society tells us we are.

Right now my cousin’s son is expressing himself. He’s dressing up as a princess, and I’m glad she’s allowing him to be who he is. Posting pictures on Facebook, even, not keeping it hidden. And I like that, because she’s empowering him. Until we embrace our Two-Spirits and bring them back into the circle, it’s never gonna be a circle, because we complete it.”

Sewella (a.k.a. Mo)

Willow Cree from Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada


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