Tuesday, October 13, 2020

People and Pandemics: Jingle Dress Dancing

Environmental & Science Education, Health, Medicine, Culture, Art and Environment, Society

Ed Hessler

The description accompanying this video (16m 57s) states that "Ojibwe women created a healing tradition in response to the influenza pandemic of 1918-19, which devastated native peoples across the US, Alaska, and Canada. A century later, the tradition is with us as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Jingle Dress Dance Tradition emerged from the Mille Lacs Reservation in central Minnesota and in Whitefish Bay, Ontario. Both communities have similar, strong traditions of Ojibwe song and dance. For the Ojibwe, song and dance have the power to heal, so that art is as necessary as medicine in the worst of times. This documentary explores the origins of the Jingle Dress Dance Tradition with Ojibwe historian Dr. Brenda J. Child, who also describes what the tradition means to dancers and Ojibwe people today, and how it has evolved to include modern protest movements such as Standing Rock and calls for racial justice."

The Jingle Dress Dance has been the subject of a Google Doodle, June 15, 2019. It includes an explanation of the dance, see an early sketch and read a short interview with the artist,  Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley.


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