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A dance to honor warriors

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HARLAN McKOSATO

Commentary

Posted: Saturday, December 21, 2013 7:00 pm | Updated: 8:52 pm, Sat Dec 21, 2013.

The Gourd Dance has become a popular dance in powwow arenas all across Indian Country, from the plains of Oklahoma to the Land of Enchantment here in New Mexico, across the northern plains all the way to Canada. This dance can also be witnessed in tribal community buildings, gymnasiums — just about anywhere Native people gather intertribally, you’ll see gourd dancing, even in the middle of winter.

Of course, it’s called the Gourd Dance because the dancers carry gourds made of tin or squash, filling them with seeds or beads to make them rattle. If you ask people around the arena, “What is the Gourd Dance?” the most common reply I get is that it’s a dance in honor of war veterans. A lot of people say you have to be war veteran to have permission to gourd dance.

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