Jingle dress dancers spread good vibes through Facebook
- Jeanelle Mandes | June 02, 2020
During the Coronavirus pandemic, self-isolation and social distancing are the main actions people worldwide are being told to do to decrease the spread of the virus.
This has led many people to turn to social media for entertainment. Someone in cyber space came up with the great idea to do social media challenges of jingle dress dancing to uplift the spirits of people who were watching.
Videos of dancers across Turtle Island went viral.
The message was simple. Women and even young girls wanted to bring healing to others during this time of crisis.
When seven-year-old Tayjah Agecoutay from the Pasqua First Nation heard of the challenge, she wanted to do her part.
“The jingle dress [dance] heals people… and it’s a gift of healing. That’s what it does,” said Agecoutay, who has danced the jingle dress her entire life. “It made me feel good and generous and kind in my heart. I will continue to pray.”
Shana Pasapa from the White Bear First Nation said she recorded herself dancing in a hotel room because she was in self-isolation, but she wanted to contribute.
“I was inspired by all the other dancers and younger dancers too,” said Pasapa, whose Facebook dancing video got over 21,000 views. “I love that we can do this, dancing for the people is such a beautiful blessing, dancing for the elders, children, fronting workers, our men and women.”
During a time of crisis, people need something to believe in and one of the tools of healing is dancing, she said.
“People from across Turtle Island may feel fear so we need to remember that we are survivors. Our people have endured many diseases and we’re still here,” she said.
“The jingle dress dance came from a vision after a young girl who was sick. It was this dress that helped her back to health. I’ve been taught to pray while I dance.”
Angel Prosper (Red Buffalo Woman) from the Muskoday First Nation said she participated in the challenge because her friends and family were seeing what this crisis was doing via social media. “I was also called on by my friend to use my medicine, meaning my dance,” she said. “It’s the only way I know that I can help during this time, so I did without hesitation.”
Prosper hopes others will be inspired with hope and she encourages others to take precautions.
“Please stay home and social distance yourselves. The sooner we all do, we can flatten the curve,” she said. “Pray, smudge and use your medicines the way we were taught. We will get through this.”
The jingle dress dance is known in Indigenous cultures and ceremonies to bring healing.