The Pollen Trail Dancers from the Navajo Reservation north of Joseph City, Arizona, perform a dance in this video from the Dance Arts Toolkit series. The dance uses movement to tell of hunting parties and protection.
Research the Navajo culture. Where did they traditionally live? What re their beliefs and traditional lifestyle? What were the “enemy way” and “protection way” ceremonies?
This dance was created to honor the Navajo Code Talkers. Research the Code Talkers and the role they played in World War II. Research codes and their uses. Have students create codes and see if other students can break the codes.
Compare this dance to other Navajo dances and to other Native American dances.
Have students create movement sequences that convey the idea of protection.
Bows and arrows were used in Navajo “enemy way” as well as their “protection way” ceremonies and are still used in ceremonies today.
Albert Brent Chase, artistic director of the Pollen Trail Dancers, says this dance was inspired by their grandfather Fredrick Chase, who was a Navajo Code Talker. During World War II, the Navajo Code Talkers transmitted secret information in their native dialect—a method much quicker than Morse code. Frederick Chases’ accounts of the period inspired the group to create a dance in his honor as well as to honor all the Navajo Code Talkers.
The dance uses movement to tell of hunting parties and protection. The Navajo name for this dance is Alt’ii bee asheesh.
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