Thomas Doty – Storyteller

A Native View

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Which Way to Dance

Some tribes dance their circle dances to the left to honor Great Bear in the Sky (Big Dipper) who circles the seasons by dancing to his left around his fire (North Star). Others dance to their right because Wolf moves to his right in their myths. In the 1800s, with the introduction of the Ghost Dance, some tribes reversed the direction as part of a plan to drive away Europeans who had arrived dancing square dances! These days, at multi-tribal powwows, there's plenty of discussion about which way to dance.

Photo: Dance ring at the Old Time native village of Coyote's Paw.


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