Manataka American Indian Council

 

 

 

Dance of The Blue Blanket

by Barbara Warren

(a contemporary story based on a true incident)

Nadia was four years old...and she loved Indians. Everything about Indians excited her. One day Nadia's grandmother came for a visit. Grandmother recalled those old stories the family told of Cherokee blood. So Grandmother decided to take Nadia, along with Nadia's mother and baby brother, to her first powwow.

Little Nadia stood at the edge of the Circle. She watched with awe as the dancers passed by her dressed in their beautiful clothing. She listened intently to the drum, her knees dipping with the beat and Nadia knew she wanted to dance. But there were so many kinds of dances going on. She watched the men; then the women. She lifted one foot, then the other, puzzled about just what she should do with her feet.

Nadia felt a tap on her shoulder. Looking up she saw a smiling woman dressed in beautiful clothing holding out her hand toward Nadia. Nadia hesitated and glanced at her grandmother for approval. Grandmother's eyes smiled, "Yes."

So Nadia accepted the hand of the stranger and together they danced and danced around the Circle. After a while, Nadia began to dance on her own. As Grandmother watched, Nadia started to twirl and whirl holding her arms up high in the air in imitation of the lovely fancy shawl dancers.

Grandmother beckoned to Nadia. She gave her a small blue blanket belonging to Nadia's baby brother. Nadia placed the blanket around her shoulders and began to dance with it in the Circle, the blue blanket twirling and whirling about her like the wings of a butterfly.

She felt another tap on her shoulder, and there stood a different woman, and in her out-stretched hand she held a child-sized fringed shawl. Nadia glanced at Grandmother for approval. Grandmother's eyes smiled, "Yes."

So Nadia accepted the gift from the stranger. She placed the fringed shawl about her shoulders and then began to dance, the fringed shawl twirling and whirling about her like the wings of a butterfly.

Nadia danced in honor of all those ancestors who had come before and with the pure joy of being a little girl at her very first powwow.

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