POINT PLEASANT — Members of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council brought song and dance to a packed audience of Point Pleasant Borough Library Tuesday night to teach residents about Native American culture.
Sponsored by The Ocean County Library Foundation via a grant, four members of the council came to the library in full indigenous garb, to share small slivers of Native American culture, specifically the tribes of the Ponca, Southern Ute and Rosebud Lakota.
Johnson Taylor, of the Ponca and Southern Ute, led the presentation, giving history, insight and background into the dances, garbs and instruments himself and his fellow members performed and held. Joining him was Katy Isennock, of the Rosebud Lakota and Mr. Taylor’s wife, their 6-year-old daughter Eyaska and fellow council member, 14-year-old Chaske Hill.
Before the performance, Ms. Isennock said to The Ocean Star, “We are here today just to share a little bit about our culture and perform some of the dances. You ask about our culture, it is vast. There is so much that goes to it. A lot of people don’t even realize we still exist. Even if they think we exist, they think we’re still living nomadically, like the old days. We are just like normal people who live in two worlds. We practice our culture and live the same as you.”
Both Mr. Taylor and Ms. Isennock have been dancing and have been ingrained in their cultures from a very young age, taught by their parents. The council teaches their songs and dances to others, along with their children, in hopes they will continue to pass down these traditions. Ms. Isennock even said that some of them even start dancing “in the womb.”
“We have been doing this a very long time, all our lives,” said Mr. Taylor. “We are going to continue to do it and pass it to our children the best that we can, to try and keep it alive as long as they can.”
This is an excerpt of the print article. For more on this story, read The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.
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