FORT HALL On Friday evening, January 16, the Annual Fort
Hall Round Dance began at Timbee Hall, with a feast that was held
nightly for families and visitors that traveled near and far to
be a part of the Round Dance.
Earl Arkinson and Manny Lieras served as master of ceremonies
for Friday and Saturday evenings and the two would often share their
traditional knowledge of the event.
Unlike a social round dance, the dances that were held at Timbee
Hall were ceremonial. The round dance origins can be traced back
to Canada, and like powwow and other social dances in Indian Country,
the round dance has traveled and been adopted into many tribal communities.
Sonny Dixey had brought the Annual Round Dance to Fort Hall
since 1996, but took some time off it for a few years back in 2001.
Since then, Dixey along with his family have been hosting the Round
Dance, and was pleased with this years turn out.
I brought this Round Dance to the Tribe to bring blessings,
heal people, and create a good feeling for the tribe. I know that
there are people who are out there suffering, who are sick, or not
feeling well, and this dance has healing powers. There is a lot
of good vibes, and good energy that makes people feel good,
Manny Lieras explained that with this ceremony, singers
call upon the spirits to join them, and to dance, and even though
there are gaps between the dancers, they are actually filled with
the ancestors who have come to join in the celebration. And because
there are spirits dancing, pregnant women and babies that cannot
walk on their own are advised to not enter the dance arena.
Earl Arkinson who has been helping to emcee for the last several
years shared some history with visitors explaining that the Dixey
and the Top Sky families are from a very prominent family and this
ceremony was brought to Fort Hall by Willis Dixey and the late Shirley
Top Sky who believed a great deal in the healing power of these
ceremonies, and that he is proud to have been asked to speak on
behalf of the family for many years.
Dancers and singers came from as far as Whitefish, Saskatchewan,
Canada, Utah, Nevada, and Montana, while many local singers such
as Tyson Shay, Chasen Coby, and drum groups Ghost Canyon, Sage Point
Singers, and Spring Creek who sang during the Round Dance. Friends
and families danced late into the night both nights, Saturdays
session went on into the night until about 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
I would like to thank the Fort Hall Business Council for
all of their help and support, to the Recreation Department, and
to Mike Sakelaris who never hesitates to extend his help. Id
also like to thank the Tribal Enterprises, Gaming, and for the countless
donations. Id also like to thank all of the people who donated
their time or who helped make food for the feast, and all of the
singers, dancers, and community members who came out. Id also
like to thank Nathan Small, its really good that the leader
of the Tribe is out, and comes to participate because he makes it
whole; we need to see our leaders out here at these events, and
Nathan has been coming for the last several years, and we are thankful
for his participation and support, said Dixey.
Timbee Hall was filled with laughter, dancing, and smiles, and
served as a good opportunity for people to visit with one another,
and make new friends while enjoying the round dance.
Sonny Dixey concluded that his family is already starting to
think for next year, and because he used to sing with Blackstone
drum group, many of the friends hes made around Indian Country
has expressed an interest in coming out next year, and Dixey hopes
to see the Round Dance grow and get better with each year.