A sacred dance of the Cherokee People.
Once they could not practice, due to brutal laws against it (approximately 1870-1934). Federal agencies punished anyone on reservation for practicing ceremonies and feasts.
Thus, native people were denied freedom of religion guaranteed in the first amendment.
Native peoples were not granted citizenship until 1924, “partially in recognition of the thousands of Indians who served in the armed forces during WWI. ” See link below.
Freedom to practice ceremonies feasts and practices was not given legally until 1978 in the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. However, many legal cases arose, and amendments were created by congress as a result. See the link below.
Disclosure:This author is white, with Swedish, Scot, German, and Cherokee heritage. Never living with the cultures of any of these groups, I nevertheless learned some “Indian ways” – such as self-sufficiency and love of nature- from my limited exposure to my half-Cherokee, half Scot great grandmother. I subsequently obtained a bachelor degree in Native American Studies at Sonoma State University. Native American issues have always been important to me.
Here is a poem I wrote about the Stomp Dance:
Hey – hey!
Ooh – hey!
Ooh – hey!
Cherokee words sung by the head singer,
repeated by the chorus of men and the jangling of the shells behind them.
Circle in the middle of the
circle man woman
women with shells, with cans filled and rattling,
circling around, around, around the world.
Women carrying the rhythm, as we all do
in the never-ending circle
the man, the woman,
it can’t be done without both,
holding up the world,
keeping the world going.
Man, woman circle circle stomp stomp sing out sing out sing up
follow the head man,
all in a circle.
the men and the women reaching up from the circle
to the stars in the dark of night.
They had to do it in secret back then,
surrounded by stars dancing, dancing until they were in the stars.
We are in the stars,
we go out and return,
one with the people,
one with Everywhere Spirit
man woman circle circle, song song
Reaching into tomorrow,
making tomorrow well
with singing, dancing, circle, circle.
Suzanne copyright 2015