Janet Miles, CAP-OM (janetmiles) wrote,
Janet Miles, CAP-OM

Native American Cultural Event

The Native American Student Association at UT hosted their first cultural event this evening. I saw a flyer for it and thought it looked interesting, so I went, and I'm glad I did.

Act I: half a dozen tiny children (ages 2-4 -- I asked) accompanied by four teachers, doing two traditional dances and about four songs. These children are being brought up as native speakers of the Eastern Cherokee dialect (in hopes of saving the language, which currently has 311 native speakers).

Act I and a half: Random guy stalling while the flute player arrived (everything was running on Indian Time, and that's a quote). I actually don't really remember much of what he said, but I recall it as being pleasant and, well, kind of nondescript.

Act II: Tommy Wildcat, an award-winning Native flautist. He talked quite a bit about his travels around the US and around the world, performing, and about the people he's met. He was code-switching pretty impressively, between English and two dialects of Cherokee (a phrase or two in Cherokee, the English translation, and commentary on the differences between Eastern Band Cherokee and Oklahoma Cherokee), as well as playing several pieces he had composed. I bought three of the four CDs he had with him (would have bought all four, but I ran out of cash).

Act III: Eddie Swimmer, hoop dancer. He didn't just talk, he taught -- and he teaches the way he dances, all interwoven. He brought four volunteers up on stage and ran them through the basics of a very simple, three-hoop/four-pattern, dance, then had them follow him to music. Then he did a 36-hoop dance, making all sorts of wonderful patterns, including butterfly, eagle, buffalo, and bear (he'd told us to expect those) and turtle. Along with a bunch that I couldn't interpret, but I thought were cool anyway.

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