Lesson of the day: “A new type of Amerindian dance troupe”


Featured Article: “A new kind of Native American dance troupeBy Brian Seibert

Indigenous Enterprise is a Native American dance troupe steeped in tradition, but also experimenting with improvisation and hip-hop influences. In this lesson, you will learn about the members of this Native American dance troupe as well as the evolution and significance of their work. Then, you will discover other struggles for the representation, repatriation and recognition of Native Americans.

To concern this five minute video of the Indigenous Enterprise dance troupe. As you watch, answer these three questions:

  • What did you learn about Native American culture and dance traditions?

  • How do you feel watching the excerpts from the dances? Do they remind you of anything else that you have seen or experienced?

Read the article, then answer the following questions:

1. What brought the two dance groups, Injury Reserve and Indigenous Enterprise together? How was their first joint performance?

2. What energy does Kenneth Shirley try to create in his shows? How does that change the face of what an Amerindian dance troupe can be?

3. How did members of the Indigenous Enterprise learn the dances and other traditions that are now central to their troupe? What are Shirley’s earliest memories of learning the dances?

4. According to Acosia Red Elk, what is the history of the Jingle Dance? What does the dance mean to her personally?

5. How do Red Elk, and others, expand traditional dances through improvisation? How did others react to these changes?

6. How do Taboo, Shirley and Tyrenn Lodgepole describe the connection between dance and activism?

7. What is your reaction to reading the article? Why?

The featured article focuses on the ways in which the Indigenous Enterprise dance troupe is increasing the representation of Native Americans. Now experience another struggle for Native American representation, repatriation, and recognition. Choose one of the six lessons in this article. Then read the related article or video and complete the activity.

After you complete the activity, think about how this example relates to the Indigenous Enterprise dance troupe and how it is different. What more could you have learned about Native American representation, repatriation or recognition from reading this second text?

Additional teaching and learning opportunities

  • Watch a full performance. In 2019, Indigenous Enterprise performed at the Sydney Opera House. You can watch a recording of the performance to learn more about dance practices. What struck you about the movements, the badges and the music?

Want more lessons of the day? You can find them all here.


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