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.
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 civilization ) are in the middle of an interesting contradiction. We
have the most advanced medical systems in the world, with exotic machines and drugs and
even drug therapies that could not have ever been imagined even fifty years ago. And yet,
there is a tendency to go back to old approaches. Why? There are many reasons: Medical
care has become too expensive, too impersonal and people are searching for different
Almost every Indian culture believed that every mountain had a soul, every tree,
every rock, every living creature and the Great Spirit flowed through all, keeping nature
and mankind in perfect balance. Religious beliefs and daily life were intertwined, embodied
by the medicine men, the priest, the magicians, and the healers whose knowledge and
rituals were handed down through centuries. The medicine bag was the symbol of their
status and authority, in which they carried their healing secrets. Even today,with
everything we know, their secrets still remain secrets.