Welcome to what I hope is the 1st of many in the Young Native Family Series here on Babble. I get a lot of questions whenever I post something more culturally traditional about the way my family lives, some of the events we attend, or activities we take part in.
Clearly, there needs to be more authentic portrayals of Native life. How we raise our families is often inaccurately or inauthentically described. You’d be hard pressed to do a search on google for “toddler Pow Wow dancer” and not get barraged by a bunch of misappropriated Halloween costume imagery.
I’m all about sharing the authentic ways of early childhood rearing and cultural practices of my people.
Also? The Pow Wow season has begun! As a mixed mom who didn’t grow up on a Rez, I’m looking to learn everything I can about regalia making and the different types of dances my own little ones can get into.
Robert Snache, a local photographer that I know, regularly attends the Chippewas of Rama First Nation Pow Wow with his family each year. He has quite the impressive collection of adorable toddlers bedecked in their regalia, in competition, or in the beginning stages of learning to dance. (If you’d like to learn more about the different style of traditional Native and Pow Wow dance styles, click here!)
Since I love to promote talented Native artists as often as I can, this feature really tied in nicely together. I’m honoured that he agreed to share some of his work us here today. A little about Robert in his own words…
“I’m a proud Anishinaabe from Rama First Nation. I am owner/operator of Spirithands Photography specializing in Landscape and Portraiture Photography. Forever seeking meaning through our environment and uncovering a silent truth that ties us together. I visualize the flow to receive images that look into the soul and spirit of person and place. It is the kind of holistic outlook that allows a true collaborative experience. Let’s create! I am the proud father of two young children and happily married to Mariflor.”
Without further ado, prepare to be bedazzled by these small but mighty little Pow Wow Dancers…
Over The Top Cuteness Up Ahead… 1 of 16
Gorgeous Beadwork For a Gorgeous Boy… 2 of 16
Traditional beadwork is an integral part of regalia making.
BFFs 3 of 16
Darling little dancer pals, taking a quick break to pose and shine bright for the camera.
Serious Skills 4 of 16
Great action shot of a tiny, but highly skilled, pro.
Children Teaching Children 5 of 16
A young jingle dancer taking care of an even younger dancer. Peer leadership is an important part of the circle in Native communities in passing on teaching, dances, and traditions. Even at a very young age.
Handsome & Proud 6 of 16
#NativePride, no doubt about it. Also? Mad skills—clearly.
Watching & Learning 7 of 16
More gorgeous regalia.
Biggest Sweetgrass Braid Ever! 8 of 16
Sweetgrass is one of the four scared medicines (the other three being cedar, sage, and sema commonly known as tobacco). This little guy is well-loaded up with a gorgeous braid!
Little Beauty 9 of 16
Now, those are some some sweet handmade moccs! Love her Pendleton jingle dress regalia. Someone put a lot of love and work into that.
Pretty In Pink 10 of 16
Bubble dress? Check. Glittering, shimmery fancy shawl? Double check. Serious skills? Obviously.
Tiniest Jingle Dancer 11 of 16
As soon as a baby can walk, they can begin to enter the circle and learn to dance. I imagine this is her first little jingle dress, so cute!
Little Fancy Shawl Dancer 12 of 16
Displaying a beautiful fancy shawl—such detail! Love the lightening bolts. You can't see her headpiece, but I bet it's amazing.
Little Man 13 of 16
Workin' up a sweat and all business!
Leadership 14 of 16
Pow Wow season, the friendships they make and the dances they learn will be amongst the most cherished of memories. The teachings will help them through every stage of their childhood, as well of their teen and on into the young adulthood years. Early childhood is respected, revered, and taken very seriously.
Poised Pro 15 of 16
Although quite young, this little jungle dancer is serious about her dance.
Ever Dapper! 16 of 16
Oh my, this little man! So. Cute.
You can see more of Sprithands Photography by visiting the Facebook page or website.
More Babbles From Selena…
- 1st World Toddler Problems (AKA Meltdown City)
- A Day In The Life of a Farmer Toddler
- 20 Totally Awesome Toys For Tots
- Moms, Check Your Boobs: A Simple Self Breast Exam Guide
- For The Times that My Toddlers DON’T Fight
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Via her humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem: le petit rêve