In March 2018 I celebrated ten years of sobriety. A decade of living drug and alcohol free as an adult. This decision was a direct result of learning to hoop dance. As I started on this journey of dance and culture I was told that if I participated in my culture I was representing my culture to others, I would be a role model. I believe that all those who practice their culture, dance, song, ceremony, arts and storytelling are all powerful role models. When you share your culture you are an advocate for your people. Others look towards you as a conduit for connecting to culture.
In the story of the hoop dance, because it is a healing dance, it is a great responsibility to become a hoop dancer. To represent the circle of life, you are representing life and all that it means to grow, thrive, and live in wellness. In the original ceremony of the hoop dance, the hoop dancer dances with the hoop and returns it to the person seeking healing as a message that they are responsible for their own healing. Thus, the hoop dancer, who cares for their own hoops, is responsible for their own continual healing. This includes spiritual, physical, emotional and mental well-being, as the symbol of the hoop encompasses the four directions and teachings of the Medicine Wheel. Indeed, one of the hoop dance teachings is that how many hoops you can handle, reflects how you handle the different challenges within your life. For those who strive to be culturally grounded and focused artists our practice reaches far beyond the stage, screen, or canvas into everyday life, and everyday practices of self-care, taking care of our body, listening to our emotions, monitoring our thoughts, our relationships, and wellness.
When you are an artist, when you share your culture, when you are a role model it is a great responsibility. To show the sacredness of an ancient culture you must also practice the the teachings. When we choose to practice these teachings we are showing respect to our culture and to our teachers. To respect ourselves is to also respect the culture we carry, our ancestors who carried it in the past, and the future ancestors who will carry it forward long after we are gone.
What the past ten years have taught me is that healing is not a life-long journey, but life is a healing journey. We are all healing from something, we are all imperfect and this is part of the circle of life.
'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