The month of November, in addition to celebrating my birthday, is Native American Heritage Month. This is a time to honor and celebrate the current and historical voices of the American Indian culture in addition to the many contributions they have provided to the growth and support of the United States.
Efforts to gain a day of recognition for the Native Americans dates back to the early 1900s. Key players such as Dr. Arthur C. Parker and the Congress of the American Indian Association, both worked to gain recognition for American Indians. Some states such as New York in 1916 and Illinois in 1919, declared and recognized an American Indian Day. However, it wasn’t until 1990, did President George H.W. Bush approve a joint resolution, designating November as Native American Heritage Month. Today, this is a time to celebrate the diversity and richness of the American Indian culture, history, and traditions.
My tribute to Native American Heritage Month is to bring Louis Mofsie, to the spotlight. Mofsie, a member of the Hopi and Winnebago tribes, is the Founding Director of the acclaimed Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, the oldest Native American dance troupe in New York. Founded in 1963, the dancers strive to keep alive the traditions, songs, and dances they learned from their parents and grandparents; preserving and passing on the information to others that would have otherwise been lost.
Since its inception, the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers look to educate and expose audiences of the American Indian culture through performances, lectures, and workshops, and have performed in all fifty states and other countries including Canada, Israel and Japan.
The company prides itself in sponsoring the oldest pow-wow in New York City, which has been held continuously since November 1963! Over the past five decades, the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers and their events have and continue to be annual traditions for many people such as the Thunderbird weekend Mid-Summer outdoor Pow-Wow at the Queens County Farm Museum in Little Neck, NY, filled with amazing dance performances, intriguing exhibitions, and delicious traditional food.
Be sure to check out the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers at Flushing Town Hall this coming Saturday, January 16, 2016 with a performance at 2:15pm. For more more information, please visit Flushing Town Hall’s website here! Tickets are $13 for general admission; $10 for members and are available clicking here or calling (718) 463-7700 ext. 222.
To learn more about the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, please visit their website at: https://thunderbirdamericanindiandancers.wordpress.com