Native American Dance
Yup'ik diva dances once more
Alaska: The Egan Center was packed for the drumming and dance showcase during the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention. Many -- perhaps hundreds -- were turned away at the door.  Performers representing Alutiiq, Inupiat, Yup'ik and Southeast Indian traditions took their turns, and then a surprise:  87-year-old Mary Ann Sundown planned to dance.  As the beloved "Dance Diva" from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta hobbled onto the stage, bent and slow, cheers and whistles from a thousand or more fans shook the roof.  She donned her fur headpiece and gripped her dance fans, sitting in a chair to perform.   Mary Ann's coordination, grace, charm, and humor showed through, and at the end of each song, she struggled to her feet for the final choruses.  Her performance included two comic numbers associated with Sundown:  the "Mosquito Song," which includes hilarious swatting and itching pantomimes; and the "Cigarette Song," in which the performers try to imitate the elegant puffing of movie stars and wind up coughing.  Sundown's  set closed with a tribute piece to her grandchildren,  her trademark laugh and an expression of wondering love as she looked  back at her family -- some in diapers -- in front of the stage. Before leaving, Mary Ann told the crowd in Yup'ik, through a translator, how happy she was to be here. How she had lost her ability to walk for a while but it had returned. How she had fallen off a four-wheeler while berry-picking but been unharmed.   "She says someone's looking out for her," the interpreter said, "and that's God."

Chief Illiniwek makes his last dance February 21, 2007 Chicago Tribune - The debate about mascots - of any type - is a great opportunity for teaching, and for getting students (and others) to think and feel deeply about issues of representation. Chief Illiniwek has been part of a climate of intense racial antagonism for his 81 years, including official segregation and a KKK chapter here on campus in the late 1920s.  Some of this is excellently documented in Jim Loewen's book, Sundown Towns.

Chief Illiniwek Facts
CHAMPAIGN -- As cameras flashed and students cried, University of Illinois' controversial mascot Chief Illiniwek burst onto the basketball court Wednesday night for his final, 3-minute dance.He left, then returned for a solemn curtain call, standing tall as he raised his arms and turned to each section. Then he gave one final kick and left Assembly Hall, the end to an 81-year-old tradition. Here's Tim Giago's commentary, from yesterday's Hartford Courant. Giago is an Oglala Lakota journalist. The PBS program POV broadcast an excellent documentary on the mascot controversy in 1997

Test Your Chief Illiniwek IQ

Slideshow of 87-year old Yupik elder, Mary Ann Sundown,  dancing at AFN Convention.