Native American Healing and Dance

Topics: Native Americans in the United States, Great Plains, United States Pages: 5 (795 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Native American Dance and Healing

Native Americans in Contemporary Society:

The population in the United States has increased steadily in the 20th century. In

1990 the number of Native Americans was almost two million, 8 percent of the total

population. Slightly more than one third live on a reservation; about half live in urban

areas. Indian reservations function as independent governments within the federal


Among many of the Native Americans, there are many musical styles, singing is the

dominant form of musical expression, with instrumental music serving primarily as

rhythmic accompaniment. Throughout the Americas the principal instruments have been

drums, flutes, and whistles.

The American Indian lived life in love with nature. Their wisdom showed in

everything, their capacity for harmony with the environment, what they wore, what they

created, what they ate and how it was prepared, in their philosophies and beliefs.

Music and dance were confined to the native world or offered in tourist attractions

as an illustration of a lifestyle unknown to many people. Over the past few years there has

been a heightened interest in all Indian things, such as in their art. Expression in the art

and dance among North American people this part of life in the form of function and

ceremony as it is decoration or performance. Today the Indian Arts have been

"discovered", and a large cross section of humanity is enjoying its intrinsic excellence,

vitality, originality and tradition they offer to the heart and head.

Men's Traditional Dance:

They danced with exaggerated movement above the waist to simulate hunting,

tracking, or fighting, but heavy grounded, flat footed loser body. This dance originated

with members of warrior societies on the Great Plains. Costumes includes an eagle feather

bustle and hair roach made of porcupine quills.

Women's Traditional Dance:

This dance is extremely reversed in nature, simply a single or double step done in a

circle. Sometimes as a up and down movement is done while standing in place. Costumes

for women's traditional dance also remains tribal specific, and sometimes with elaborate

beadwork on a long buckskin or trade cloth dresses.

Stomp Dances:

This dance they get into nature by way of rhythm and it can make your body

healthier and relieve stress. Native Americans believe then and still believe now that when

the body works in harmony with nature, the natural rhythms of the body and spirit work

together. It is that energy that makes one whole. In the Native stomp dances, in the

habitats of the native homelands, when they get into rhythm with nature then your body

becomes healthier, your mental stress is relieved and you become a whole person

spiritually and physically.


It is hard for us to believe that ancient people knew more about their world than we

know about ours. We think or we presume that our knowledge has not only caught up with

theirs but surpasses it. And yet those primitive people may have known more about healing

and preventing disease than we give them credit for. Their medicine was a combination of

faith, blind luck and relying on the good earth, or basically relying on what was there.

What nature provided was all there, there wasn't a corner drugstore, not even medical

specialists. They knew what would keep them from getting sick and what potions would

ease the pains of snake bites and rheumatism and child birth, even what would heal the

wounds of arrows and gunshot wounds, and other scars from battles in their daily living.

Many centuries of trial and error taught them what leaves, herbs, roots, smoke, heat, and

even faith could do. They knew what could cure them and what could kill them. It was

natural healing, and now, centuries later, the world is returning to it.

We ( western...
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