Skye Yannabah Poola learned how to perform a healing dance by watching other Native American jingle dress dancers throughout her life.

Now, the 7 year old is giving back to her community by offering a source of brightness through dance to those facing dark times amid the coronavirus outbreak. Within the span of one week, her dance has been seen by millions across social media.

Skye, from the Navajo Nation in Arizona, wanted to be part of the movement during the pandemic.

She says it’s important to share her heritage with everyone.

Jingle dress is a First Nations and Native American women's pow wow regalia and dance. North Central College associate professor Matthew Krystal notes, in his book, Indigenous Dance and Dancing Indian: Contested Representation in the Global Era, that "Whereas men's styles offer Grass Dance as a healing themed dance, women may select Jingle Dress Dance." The regalia worn for the dance is a jingle dress, which includes ornamentation with multiple rows of metal, such as cones, that create a jingling sound as the dancer moves.

Origin of the jingle dress is attributed to three different Ojibwa communities: the Mille Lacs, Red Lake Band of Chippewa and the Whitefish Bay Ojibwe. In both the Mille Lacs and Whitefish Bay versions, the dress and the dance appeared in a recurring vivid dream that was realized about the year 1900. In both versions, the dream came to a Midewinini. In both dreams, there were four women, each wearing a jingle dress and dancing.

Each dream also gave instructions on how to make the dresses, what types of songs went with them and how the dance was to be performed. In the Mille Lacs' version, the Midewinini upon awakening, with his wife made four dresses. He showed his wife how to dance in the dress, which he showed to the four women he had dreamed about, by calling the four women who in his dream wore them, dressed them in the dresses, brought them forth at a dance, told the people about the dream, and how the way the Midewikweg were to dress and dance.

The Mille Lacs' version of the story continues that the reason for this recurring dream was because the daughter of the Midewinini was gravely ill. When it came time for the drum ceremony, the man and his wife brought their little girl. They sat at the ceremony, and the girl lay on the floor because she was quite ill. After the ceremony, the Midewinini got up and told the people about his dream.

Then he brought out the four women and said they were going to dance in the style he had dreamed about. The drum started, the people began to sing, and the women danced. As the evening went on, the daughter was sitting up and watching. Before the night was over, the girl was so moved by the dancers that she was following the women and dancing around.


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