Survivance and Dance

Note:  Long week, but no time to write a new post so I’m putting up some old ones.  This was actually originally posted on my MySpace page a couple of years ago, and then as a Facebook note.

I’m putting it up here because it touches on some issues raise in previous posts and also because I plan on elaborating on some others from it.  When I find the time.

I used to work at the National Museum of the American Indian.  There, I met Gerald McMaster, a curator who coined the term “Survivance” for one of the exhibits.   The word refers to the process by which Native communities endured though hundreds of years of challenges.

I went to the National Pow Wow hosted by my former employer in 2007.  It was an odd experience coming from a different kind of dance community.  The most significant one is that Pow Wow’s are not just about dancing (social and competition), but they are also equal parts ceremony, marketplace, and family reunion.  In that sense it’s a much more robust experience than going to a typical Lindy Hop event weekend.  I guess I could draw some parallels, but really, matching up a bunch of hobbyists with native communities that are thousands of years old can’t really compare.

The National Pow Wow 2007

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