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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


September 22, 2001 - Issue 45


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 Dance for Life
Girls to donate powwow gifts to aid victims of tragedy


 by Jeff St. John Anchorage Daily News-September 17, 2001

Dressed in pink and blue regalia dresses, Shirley and Sophie Bell danced to honor their cultures and the ties that bind all cultures together and to celebrate life in the face of tragedy.

As they danced Saturday at the ARC of Anchorage gym, a woman's voice rose above the sound of beating drums, joined by the assembled singers.

With their heads high, the Bell girls danced around the circle of drummers and singers and into a different world.

Shirley, 12, and Sophie, 15, were honored with a powwow celebrating their traditional coming into womanhood. Their father, Frank Bell, is a Tlingit, and mother Diane Bell is Athabaskan.

For weeks, the family had been planning this intertribal event, which included a Tlingit blanket dance in which the girls collect money and give it away to people important to them. After terrorists crashed hijacked commercial jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Tuesday, the girls decided they would give the money to aid the victims.

"It means a lot to me," Shirley said. "I know it's the right thing to do."

Sophie said it was the least she and her sister could do.

"Some of those kids don't have parents anymore," she said. "We just wanted to help out any way we could."

She said events like this powwow are about bringing people from different cultures together.

"It's about accepting people," she said. "Every powwow I go to, I've met new friends and new people."

Frank Bell beamed with pride as he watched his daughters dance. At day's end, they had collected $1,018 to donate to the Red Cross.

"I'm overjoyed," he said. "This week has been overwhelming. We wanted them to do this to show us that we can carry on."

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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