Indian Country Today
Wednesday’s virtual “Parade Across America” honoring President Joe Biden’s inauguration had an Indigenous touch.
The event featured short, taped segments from every state and U.S. territory. It was streamed on various social sites.
Among those featured were members of the Native American Women Warriors Association, the nation’s first all-female Native American color guard.
“Our mission is to recognize women veterans that have served in America’s armed forces, especially those like us of Native descent,” said U.S. Army Ret. Mitchelene Bigman, Crow, one of the group’s founders. “We are here today from across the country for this historic event. Congratulations, President Biden and Vice President Harris.”
Next, TikTok star Nathan “DoggFace” Apodaca, Northern Arapaho, made an appearance on his skateboard, waving an American flag and skating to “Dreams,” the Fleetwood Mac song that helped catapult him to internet fame. Other skaters joined him from different parts of the country, some carrying juice containers — also part of Apodaca’s signature viral video.
In Hawaii, a small group performed a Hawaiian chant outdoors. A member explained that the traditional chant was offered as a message of inspiration, unity and new beginnings.
Representing Wyoming, former candidate for Congress Lynette Grey Bull, Northern Arapaho and Hunkpapa Lakota, introduced the Wind River Dancers. The group of Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone citizens danced next to a waterway.
More than 1,600 people submitted dancing clips for a segment toward the end of the parade.
With “Dancing in the Streets” playing, the parade showed short clips of dancers, including Phoenix-based Indigenous Enterprise and another traditional powwow dancer.
Indigenous Enterprise founder Kenneth Shirley, Navajo, is one of four dancers in the troupe. The clip showed the troupe dancing at South Mountain in Phoenix. The clip was filmed earlier this month and caught the attention of filmmaker Kenny Ortega, who directed the “Dancing in the Streets” segment.
“It came out real nice,” Shirley told Indian Country Today.
Before the pandemic, the troupe had traveled across the country and Australia to perform since 2015. Shirley said he’s excited to tour again once it's safe to do so.
The troupe was featured on NBC’s “World of Dance” in 2020.
“All of us are really proud to be representing Indigenous people all over, and even just being on the inauguration for a couple seconds will go a long way for people all over,” Shirley said.
Watch the full parade HERE.
Dalton Walker, Red Lake Anishinaabe, is a national correspondent at Indian Country Today. Follow him on Twitter: @daltonwalker Walker is based in Phoenix and enjoys Arizona winters.
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