The Indigenous People of Canada

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Powwow sweat takes traditional approach to get people moving

Have you ever wanted to learn powwow dancing? A new video series produced by Coeur d’Alene Tribe from Idaho is turning traditional powwow dances into workouts.

The videos were produced to help get Indigenous people moving.

“We as Native people in the States have high rates of diabetes and heart disease.” said LoVina Louie, the program coordinator for Qhest Life, which is the organization that produced the series. 

A lot of typical workout routines don’t work for Native Americans, Louie explained.

“That’s why we took this traditional approach, like how can we use culture to get our people to exercise, because traditionally our way of life was exercise. Everything we did from gathering roots and berries to hunting and fishing — it was all physical,” said Louie.

The dances covered in the series include traditional, jingle, men’s fancy, men’s grass dance and crow hop. 

Injected with humour

The instructor for the series is powwow dancer Shedaezha Hodge, who injects a lot of humour to the dances.

In the video on jingle dress dancing, Hodges urges viewers to “drop the Pringles and let’s jingle.”

A throwback to a time when workout videos were at their prime, Louie explained the theme song for the series is intentionally”cheesy ’80s music,” which is very reminiscent of the Canadian television series ParticipACTION.

Last month a Facebook page was launched for the series, and Louie says the response has been overwhelming.

The videos are available to stream on both YouTube and Facebook.

Adongo Ogony is a Kenyan Human Rights Activist and  Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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