Native Dancer: General Update
Author: Ariann Rousu – Native Dancer Digital Artist
Although I have not posted a blog in a few weeks, the Native Dancer Project is going well. Due to the holidays, and some delayed travel due to weather I have put posting on hold. Amongst these delays was sharing and presenting the Native Dancer project with a group of independent developers and gamers in Fargo, ND at Replay Games. This presentation will instead be held on January 19th, 2023 at 6:30pm.
Within the past few weeks, I also had the opportunity to travel out of state and explore parts of Nevada, and Arizona. While there with my aunt and cousin, we visited local attractions close to where we stayed in Laughlin, NV and even ventured to the Grand Canyon. I chose to share parts of this experience in the blog, as I was able to relate the travel experiences back to my continued thoughts and work inspiring Native Dancer.
Like many places across America, the Grand Canyon is significant and home to Native American Tribes. The Grand Canyon west is located on the Hualapai Reservation. While visiting, their history culture and stories were all part of the experience. Hualapai translates to “people of the tall pines”, this is fitting as beyond the desert the reservation occupies a large portion along the Colorado River. The land varies from grass lands to rich forests and the rocky canyons.
Prevalent to their culture is song and dance, traditional to the Hualapai. The bright colors and printed ribboned regalia accompanying is a strong reminder that pow-wow and celebrations that honor the earth and spirits is and can be intertribal. Another symbol that stuck with me amongst these cultural experiences was the significance of the eagle to the Hualapai. The eagle is significant and important to many tribes including those we are representing in Native Dancer. I would like to create an eagle graphic or jewelry piece to apply to regalia or other wear in Native Dancer. I think this would appeal to a wide audience, not just the Ojibwe, Lakota, and Dakota peoples.
Where we stayed, we were located on the CO River. Exploring the towns and resorts in the area I encountered many tribal pieces in various shops. My brain would always trail to how it was similar or not to things associated with my own Ojibwe culture and what I am used to seeing at celebrations at Northern Plains pow-wows. Similar items I found were some prints and beaded items, animal symbols and totems, eagle feathers, and stones in jewelry. With this, I am excited about the aspirations for Native Dancer, and hopes we will appeal to and draw interest from many.