A few years ago a relative asked me to record Choctaw dance songs. Buster Ned, Ardis Mose, Adam Sampson, Billy Amos and Wood Bell were the chanters and dance leaders that I’d been around and had been influenced by. Janie Zah and Kennith York participated on the CD. The thing about Choctaw songs is that they are unique to ourselves. We don’t share the inter-tribal “stomp dance” songs common to most of the tribal nations we are culturally related to, so if we forget our songs or don’t learn them, then they won’t be remembered by others. I was told that Choctaw songs come from the Creator and so we don’t try and compose new songs or dances. I was also told that when our voices rise high in song, that we are touching the spirits of our ancestors.
I also revived the Chickasaw dance tradition, at the request of their tribal government. By then, only one Chickasaw song, the “Gar Fish Dance” had survived, which I had learned from Bynum Pickens and Johnson Fatisha. Because these elders remembered that their tribe had been part of the inter-tribal stomp dance way, I used their remaining gar fish dance as a centerpiece around which I placed both Choctaw songs and dances and pan southeastern stomp dances and songs. Then I organized a dance troupe for them made of tribal employees, which I led for three years.
It’s been a privilege to have taken Southeastern Indian dance troupes to a number of places. And I was asked to sing with Hip Nos, a Dublin based group that blends Hip Hop with Sean Nos.
- With Doimnic Mac Giolla Bhride, Errigal Arts Festival, Co. Donegal, Ireland 2015.
- Hip Nos, Electric Picnic, Co. Laios, 2013.
- Hip Nos, The Axis, Dublin, 2013.
- Hip Nos, Meetinghouse Square, Dublin, 2013.
- Oklahoma Style Choctaw Dance Songs Vol. I White Deer Studio 2006.
- Chickasaw Dance Songs Chickasaw Nation – Oklahoma Arts Council 1996.
- Choctaw Drink Water Dance Songs – Music and Tribal Memory. Oklahoma Arts Council 1995.
Tribal Dance Troupe Presentations:
Atlanta Summer Olympics, Centennial Park; Ah-Ta-Thi-Ki Museum, Seminole Tribe of Florida; Choctaw Festival, Chuccalissa Indian Village, University of Memphis; Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonials, Gallup, NM; Red Earth Festival, Oklahoma City; Native America Day, Miami, FL; Shaftsbury Centre, West Belfast, Ireland; Choctaw Nation Festival, Tuskahoma, OK; American Indian Tourism Conference, Green Bay, WI; Chickasaw Homecoming, Memphis, TN; Columbus College, Columbus, GA; Chickasaw Nation Festival, Tishomingo, OK; Buritt Museum, Huntsville, AL; Bois D’Arc Festival, Tupelo, MS; Blue Marble Festival, Starkville, MS; North Texas Irish Festival, Dallas, TX; Annual Choctaw festival, Bakersfield, CA; Celtic Pow Wow, Donabate, Co Fingal, Ireland; Lewis and Clark Day, Starkville, MS; The University of Oklahoma, Norman.