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Roland Cotton's interview on the Unique History of Blackfoot Dance

Roland Cotton's interview on the Unique History of Blackfoot Dance May 10 2005

Subject: Art, Dance, Video recordings, Interviews, Cotton, Roland

Transcript: Roland Cotton's interview on the Unique History of Blackfoot Dance May 10 2005 BLACKFOOT DIGITAL HISTORY: SELECTED PERSPECTIVES INTRODUCTION: JUNE 2010 Lisa Doolittle and Anne Flynn We have been dancing since we were little girls. Anne started tap dancing in the kitchen with her dad before she could read, and Lisa has never forgotten the thrill of skipping with abandon around the studio at her first dance lesson, connecting the remote fantasy of being a ballerina with this powerful sensation of commanding time and space. We were avid social dancers along with the rest of our generation, grooving to rock and roll, funk, and disco, and we also studied dance intensively in professional schools and universities so that, as adults, dance became our careers. We've performed dances, created dances, taught dancing in all kinds of settings, and written about dance. Dance is our first language, so to speak. During our early investigations into multicultural dance in Canada, when we learned about the banning of dancing as an amendment to the Indian Act, we were both stunned by the specific targeting of dancing as an action that needed to be stopped. The government's criminalization of certain body movements clearly illustrated that movement is a very powerful mode of understanding one's cultural identity; otherwise, why try to stop the Blackfoot from dancing? This constraining, by law, of the body's impulse to dance expression struck us as so extreme that we began a ten-year investigation into dance and multiculturalism in Canada. We wanted to understand our nation's history from the perspective of dancers. Canada's dance history has not been addressed in the standard textbooks that we use in our public schools. In fact, much of this history remains unrecorded because, as a nation, we have not given much attention to the kinds of knowledge that dance embodies. Recorded history hasn't paid much attention to the subtle understandings that develop when people dance together, but we think this is a mistake. As dancers and teachers, we believe that dancing holds the potential to create personal and collective well-being, and that is the reason why cultures around the world, and throughout human history, have created dance traditions. The individual stories included in this collection of research materials about Blackfoot dance give us a sense of what dance means to individuals and to the group. These dancing stories, given freely by the generous participants, offer a glimpse into the meaning of dance in Blackfoot culture, past and present. They have been recorded so that future generations can learn about Blackfoot dance, and so that dancing can be understood as a repository of our history. We would like to extend our deepest thanks to the participants, and our heartfelt wishes that the dancing that never stopped will continue to be a source of well-being among Blackfoot people.

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Publisher: Kainai Studies Archives, Red Crow College, P.O. Box 1258 Cardston, AB T0K 0K0, Canada

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Asset Date: 2010-06-22

Format: Video

Tribe:

CONTENTdm file name: 148.flv

CONTENTdm number: 242

Date modified: 2014-02-28

Origin Location Name:

Pointer: 242

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