As many of you know, I danced my third sundance this past Summer with the Blackfoot/Blood people of Southern Alberta, Canada. It was, by far, the most gentle and healing dance so far. There are many reasons for this, I suppose, but for me, the biggest shift in my own awareness came when several of us were invited to support an all-Blackfoot Sundance hosted by Cory and Casey Blackplume just before our dance at the Chiefmoon’s.
When we entered the arbor area for the first time at the Blackplume’s, we immediately sensed that there was a very different spirit present at this dance. Clearly evident was a deep spirit of caring kindness, gentleness, and respect that is not always so evident at other dances. One older woman danced on one leg assisted by crutches; another woman was pierced high up on both arms and tied to the tree. There was no ego in the arbor; no strutting around, wanting to be special. Everything was done with a spirit of humility and joy.
Some of us shared with other dancers and supporters what we had noticed, and together we determined that our dance would be different this year. And so we went into the arbor with a new attitude, a different approach. I prayed to the spirits of the deer and the elk, that I could walk/dance through the days like they do, covering many miles by being steady and sure-footed, moving quietly, measuredly, and resting when necessary. And so I danced, more quietly, with more gratitude and more awareness. The examples of my Blackfoot brothers and sisters and my four-legged cousins gave me a new sense of purpose and a deeper understanding of the dance.