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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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The Jingle Dress Tradition -Documentary Tells Origin Story of the Dress
by Toyacoyah Brown -

In this documentary from Twin Cities PBS, Ojibwe stories tell of the beginnings and the healing powers of the Jingle Dress Dance, a popular tradition throughout Native communities.

The Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe produced the video and consulted with a lot of their members about the jingle dress.

It's long been a desire of Larry "Amik" Smallwood to tell the story he heard growing up of how the jingle dress came to be.

"I used to hear my grandma, Lucy Clark, tell the story of where the jingle dress came from," said Amik. "Back in '79 when I worked at Nay Ah Shing, Ben Sam and Fred Benjamin, both now passed on, also told me the story about the jingle dress."

"I've traveled around and heard stories about the jingle dress and they're all basically the same, but there are some variations," he said. "I've been wanting to do a documentary for the past seven years so we could get the story straight about where the dress originated."

The full documentary is available to stream online. Please visit to watch!


About the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
“American Indian nations have been recognized as sovereigns since before the formation of the United States. The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, a federally recognized Indian tribe, has a rich history and culture that dates back to a time before Minnesota became a state. As the Band’s democratically elected Chief Executive, and on behalf of our more than 4,300 member citizens and more than 4,000 employees, I take great pride in presenting the story of our long and proud history.” In the mid-1700s, the ancestors of today’s Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe settled near Lake Mille Lacs in what is now Central Minnesota and established a way of life that the Band continues to preserve. The Ojibwe hunted, fished, gathered wild rice, and taught their children a profound respect for nature. They endured hardship and poverty in the face of pressures from the non-Indian culture, but they worked hard and dreamed of a better future.” — Melanie Benjamin, Chief Executive

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