The title for this post comes from the song by Buffy Sainte-Marie that I first heard at the 2016 Juno Awards, Indigenous Showcase. This is also where I first heard songs from Cris Derksen's Orchestral Powwow album. Hearing Buffy's song "We are Circling" I immediately thought it would make a great hoop dance song. Since then I have been dancing to "We are Circling" as well as, Cris Derksen's "Intertribal Happy Feet". Together these two Nehiyaw Iskwewak (Cree Women) provide an image of coming full circle for me. From starting with Western dance styles (tap, ballet, etc.) and later becoming a hoop dancer and return to Western dance styles (contemporary), with an infusion of Native dance and movement practices. These two recording artists reflect how we as Indigenous people are circling together today through two worlds and two paradigms. Although they may collide, they also overlap. When these worlds overlap we can find the space of togetherness, and find ourselves circling together.
The video above features these two songs (among others) during our dance demonstrations at our First Nations Dance and Art Summer Camp in July 2016. I started Hoop Dancing in Lethbridge, Alberta over a decade ago, so teaching Hoop Dance in Lethbridge was also coming full circle for me in a physical sense.
The summer camp also represented coming full circle in my experience with Contemporary Indigenous dance and performance. Much of my experiences have been with International groups of dancers and/ or artists from different nations, and backgrounds. However, they were always experienced or trained in both traditional and contemporary forms of art, history, and knowledge (Indigenous and Western). This experience has given me the opportunity to experience a wealth of knowledge from people of different nations including Anishnaabe, Cree, Blackfoot, Mohawk, Maori, etc. I was able to use these experiences in our summer camp, which included a diversity of youth, representing nations such as Blackfoot, Cree, Mohawk, Navajo, and Maori. It felt like I was bringing together a new circle of Indigenous dancers. Like throwing a rock into a lake, creating a ripple effect. Even though we may not always see each other, wherever we go, wherever we dance, we are carrying the experience and knowledge of our mentors, friends, family with us, always. We are circling together.
'Cree Woman Speaking' is a space to share my voice. My goal is to spread awareness and share wisdom as I learn and grow as a dancer, choreographer, and woman. My passion is to show the healing power of dance and culture. I love learning from elders, experience, and research and being able to synthesize Native and non-Native ways of knowing!
All Cara Mumford Cree Hoop Dance Idle No More Indigenous Dance International Women's Day 2017 Life Givers Missing And Murdered Aboriginal Women Native Hoop Dance Native Women Nehiyawak Reconciliation Resilience Rulan Tangen Sacred Hoop Sisters In Spirit Stolen Sisters Sugarray Robinson When It Rains World Championship Hoop Dance Contest