The Reason I Dance
Catalogue Number: LM0023
Producer: LeMay Media
Subject: Arts, Canadian History, Canadian Social Studies, Canadian World Studies, First Nations Studies, History, Indigenous Issues, Indigenous Peoples, Music, Social Studies
Grade Level: 6 - 8, 9 - 12
Country Of Origin: Canada
Copyright Year: 2018
Running Time: 21:46
Closed Captions: Yes
Josée Bourgeois is an Algonquin life-giving woman who is a part of a very important generation dedicated to the preservation and sustainability of her people. She is a Fancy Shawl dancer and a Jingle Dress dancer, who is very passionate about representing her people, the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation in the Ottawa Valley, and her culture.
Josée discusses her father’s existence as part of the 60’s Scoop when 20,000 Canadian Indigenous children were placed in foster homes or put up for adoption. This and an early introduction to powwows helped shape Josee’s mission to connect with her culture. And this ultimately became a reason she dances.
Her message is a statement of a growing strength of a people who once were banned from ceremonies and dancing. In this program, Josee gives us insight into the jingle and fancy shawl dances, as well as explaining the significance of regalia, too often confused with “costumes”. She provides insight into many historical truths such as the Buffalo Bill travelling shows that portrayed “Indians” as savages and cowboys as the ‘good guys’. Dancing provides healing and she encourages us to all to think about how we as individuals can play a part in the action of reconciliation. She asks that people attend powwows and begin to understand and open their hearts to her culture.
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