How to native american hoop dance

Celebrating Native Hoop Dance – Astral Hoops

Today we celebrate the rich cultures of Indigenous people throughout the Americas and also for us, the origins of the Native Hoop Dance

Only a handful of states have yet to officially observe Indigenous People's Day instead of Columbus Day, so we wanted to take a few moments out of your Monday to talk about the importance of relearning history, appreciating the spiritual significance of the native hoop dance, and how to give back to native communities.


In Native American cultures, the hoop dance is used as a method of storytelling where dancers use 1 to 30 small, handmade hoops as props to tell a story through dance. The dancer interlocks the hoops on and around the body to represent animals and symbols by replicating wings or tails, and forming shapes like globes around the body.

There is no clear origin for the Native hoop dance, but the most popular story is from the Anishinaabe culture about a young boy who was not interested in typical activities like running and hunting, instead preferring to be alone and observe animals in nature. His father did not approve and even disowned him, but the boy didn’t let this stop him. Spending time with animals like eagles, snakes and bears inspired him to create a dance using hoops that emulated their movement.

The dance caught on and spread to other tribes and was passed down to future generations. To Indigenous cultures, the hoop became a sacred and important aspect of traditional healing ceremonies, representing the never-ending circle of life. 

During the 1880s - 1930s, the United States government tried to assimilate Native Americans into U. S. culture by forcing their children into white schools, changing their names, and banning them from “participating in anything associated with their Native American culture including dance.” During the Pan-Indian Movement of the 1930s, Native Americans began to resist and take important parts of their cultures back. During this time, a young Native American named Tony White Hawk from the Jemez Pueblo tribe modernized the hoop dance. It quickly spread in popularity, and there is now a World Championship Hoop Dance Contest held annually in Phoenix, Arizona.

Founded in 1970, the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) is the oldest and largest nonprofit law firm dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide. 

Some of their current missions include: civil & human rights, environmental & water protections, education, protecting women from violence, and more.

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First Nations Development Institute: Our mission is to strengthen American Indian economies to support healthy Native communities. We invest in and create innovative institutions and models that strengthen asset control and support economic development for American Indian people and their communities.

Some of their work includes: Achieving Native Financial Empowerment; Investing in Native Youth; Strengthening Tribal & Community Institutions; Stewarding Native Lands; and more.

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Conscious Alliance is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to supporting communities in crisis through hunger relief and youth empowerment.

Among their variety of long-term initiatives is their dedication to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in North Dakota. Conscious Alliance neighbors us in Broomfield, CO and we've loved seeing their work in the community throughout the years.

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For more ways to give back, check out more resources here and here.

Feel free to email us at [email protected] with any feedback. We would love to hear from you!

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A Navajo Hoop Dancer Shares His Native American Pow Wow Story

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Hoop dancing tells visual stories of Native American traditions.

By Ashley Franklin, and Patrick Willie

Published on 11/17/2021 at 1:02 PM


In the Fall of 2010, I attended college outside my comfortable Navajo Nation bubble, leaving behind the only life I knew: the Rez life. Feeling homesick, I found refuge in a new friendship with Patrick Willie, a Navajo from Orem, Utah.

At the time, Patrick was just a math nerd with good taste in music. But the more I got to know him, I learned that he was very well known in the local pow wow circuit: he danced men’s fancy and hoop dancing.

Today, Patrick is one of the top ten Native American hoop dancers in the world. This last year, at the Heard Museum World Hoop Competition, he ranked sixth. Dancing has allowed him to travel all over the US and the world. Through hoop dancing, he shares his culture and passes down his story for the next generation. As told to Ashley Franklin.

In the first words of his story, Patrick introduces himself and his clan in Diné, his native tongue.

Yá'át'ééh, shí éí Patrick Willie yinishyé.
Áshįįhí nishłį́.
Tódích’íí’nii bashishchiin.
Táchii’nii dashicheii.
Tsé Nahabiłnii dashinalí.

As a Native American, our ancestors didn't use paper or record their stories. The only way to pass their traditions on was through storytelling, singing songs, and dancing. Hoop dancing incorporates all three.

I love so many things about hoop dancing. The hoop dance is creative, upbeat, and at times, mind-blowing to witness. You’ll hear the rhythm of the pow wow drum group and my bells on time with the beats. When I dance, I create a visual story with different formations of my hoops. I often use up to 13 hoops, sometimes even 21 hoops. I start off with one, progressively picking up one more until I reach the end of my storytelling.

Hoop dancing allowed Patrick to connect to his heritage and ancestors. | Photos by Robert FranklinHoop dancing allowed Patrick to connect to his heritage and ancestors. | Photo by Robert Franklin

Growing up, I went to pow wows, but I didn't take it seriously at all. I would attend maybe once or twice a year. My mom would tell my sisters and I to “go and dance,” but that was about it. I just saw it as something my mom wanted me to do, so I wasn't very connected to it.

It wasn't until I got older, probably about 22, that I started to see there was a big connection to hoop dancing and my culture. I went to Salt Lake City to do a performance, and that's where I saw another hoop dancer. He blew my mind! He was doing the dance in a way I’d never seen before; he did stuff I didn't know was possible. The very next day, I had brand new hoops made for me, from a family friend, and that’s where it took off—it was like a fire burning inside of me. Whenever I got to dance and saw I was around Native elders or other Native dancers, I always asked them questions. I began to ask my parents questions about my ancestors.

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I’ve noticed a lot of people around the world don’t know that Native Americans still exist.

From there, that fire, that wanting to learn more, grew and grew. I sought more knowledge about hoop dancing from YouTube videos of well-known world champion hoop dancers. I got the attention of a lot of people within my Native community. I realized that with dancing, I, myself, was representing my people. I was sharing a story.

The hoop represents the Native American circle of life. | Photo by Robert Franklin

The hoop dance came to us from the Taos Pueblo tribe in New Mexico. They say the circle represents our circle of life. Just like many of our Native American dances, a lot of them have different stories. We have the jingle dress dance, which is a healing dance that relates to the rain. We have the men's traditional dance, which is a warrior's dance. The Hoop dance started as a healing dance, and that story is still there, but it’s also a storytelling dance.

There are so many stories that come from the hoop dance. There's a story that talks about the creation of time, one talks about a wedding, and one that talks about an eagle as it goes throughout its life. Most of the time, I share the story of a warrior on his journey through life. I connect it to whoever I'm dancing for, sharing some life lessons I’ve learned.



A Visitor’s Guide to Attending a Native American Pow Wow

Frybread, squash blossom necklaces, and a whirlwind of dancing.

Each formation and movement is a piece of a story. | Photos by Robert FranklinEach formation and movement is a piece of a story. | Photo by Robert Franklin

There are a lot of lessons within the dance that relate to our Native culture dealing with respect, traditions, and living a positive, healthy life. I strive to incorporate those teachings in my life. There are plenty of times when maybe I'm not in the best mood or maybe I'm having a bad day, but I know that after I dance, I'm going to feel happy and whoever I dance for will also feel happy. Incorporating that healing factor is part of the hoop dance.

Whether it be trying new footwork or new formations, the most challenging part is finding your own style, finding your own voice—finding your own story to share with the dance. It takes a lot of practice, but eventually you get to a point where you expand your dancing and share more stories.

Patrick teaches dance on reservations and in Native American schools. | Photo by Samuel JakePatrick teaches dance on reservations and in Native American schools. | Photo by Samuel Jake

For eight years now, I've been working with the Title VI Native American Education Program. Throughout the school year, once a week, I teach the Native American students in my area, from elementary to high school, Native American dancing. I teach them basic pow wow steps, and Native American hoop dance.

Hoop dancing allows me to share my culture and educate others around the world. When I travel and perform, I’ve noticed a lot of people around the world don’t know that Native Americans still exist. They thought we were all dead. A lot of times I find myself dancing for people who are not Native American and I see that as my opportunity to share my traditions and to battle stereotypes or preconceived notions they might have about us.

I still have that fire burning inside me. I still practice every single day. I keep hoops in my room, in the living room, and sometimes I keep them in the kitchen. When I see them by the front door, it encourages me to practice even more. On my way out, I grab some hoops and practice on the lawn. I am always practicing.

You can see parts of Patrick's dance in this video.

Ashley Franklin, Diné, is Hashk’ąąn Hadzohí (Yucca Fruit Strung Out) and born for Táchii’nii (Red Running Into the Water). She is a writer for Thrillist.

      ©2022 Group Nine Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

      American Indian dances Online publication "Elements of Dance"

      Once every two years, the US capital becomes a haven for the largest national holiday, where you can meet representatives of almost all Indian tribes in America and Canada. The celebration, held in Washington since the end of the 19th century, is an important event in the life of the country's indigenous population, which makes it possible to preserve the ancient cultural traditions intact, share them with everyone, and also dispel the stereotypes that have developed among the majority.
      Not savages, but a people with a multifaceted and original culture, modern American Indians honor their ancestors and carry over from century to century unshakable values, which are especially clearly reflected in song and dance art.

      The surroundings are impressive!
      Fringes, feather headdresses, an abundance of bright colors, energetic movements, traditional drums - American Indian dances are easily recognizable. They are always symbolic, representing a kind of spiritual practice, through which connections are established between a person and the environment, the forces of nature.

      By the way, according to the Indians themselves, the best drum is obtained by pulling a deer or elk skin over a hardwood frame. 6-8 men can sit around the large round drum, beating the rhythm and performing a tribal song. The dancers, more often one or two, depict the moments of the hunt, something consonant with the lyrics of the song or traditional dance moves. In their hands you can often see a small battle hatchet (the same tomahawk ) or a bow. Everything is as if centuries have not passed.

      In suits - the dominance of fighting spirit
      One of the most impressive details of the man's costume is a chic fan made from painted feathers of birds of prey, most often eagles. The fan is put on at the back and fastened on the belt. It is quite heavy, as it reaches a full meter in scope. The coloring of the fan is of a combat nature, each color and pattern symbolizes something related to the attack. On top of the feathers, two shafts can be fixed - symbols of military arrows. Each copy is unique, two similar fans simply do not exist. This is a kind of demonstration of the "military awards" of the Indian, because all the feathers that are used in it - the man personally extracts all his life. These colorful regalia are the true pride of the dancer.

      Indian dances In some tribes there are such ritual dances that last from dusk to dawn for several nights. A dancer performing such a ritual is like a conductor between the tribe and the divine principle, and if he falls, you can expect a drought or a hurricane.

      Despite the fact that some Indian tribes adopted Christianity, the deification of the forces of nature is still relevant among them. Depending on what energies need to be awakened, dances are also divided.
      Since ancient times, the agricultural tribes performed the Dance of the Corn, while their brothers, living by hunting, worshiped the Bison, holding many days of ritual events in honor of the animal that feeds them. The man performing the Dance of the Buffalo wore a special outfit, including a headdress that imitated the head of this animal. The dance meant gratitude for the sacrifice, for the meat and skin of the buffalo received. Today, the Indians carefully protect the herds of bison, which, thanks to the advent of white people, were practically destroyed, and this dance is demonstrated with pleasure at traditional Spell Festivals.
      Nowadays, modern dances, originating in the cultural heritage of past centuries, are becoming more common among American Indians. For example, the Dance of the Grass, which emerged two hundred years ago, recently gained popularity, and with it a rebirth. It is performed by men whose clothes are decorated with a fringe symbolizing grass. Initially, the dance was part of a whole system that brought healing from ailments.
      Healing power is also attributed to the female Dance with bells: bells completely adorn the outfit of the dancers, and therefore their every movement is accompanied by ringing. It is worth noting that earlier women were rarely allowed to ritual dances, assigning them a secondary role in such an important art, but over time they were allowed to dance on an equal footing with men: to go to the middle of the circle to show their own skills, to take part in pair dances. Very graceful are the women's Dances with a colored shawl, which are very popular these days.
      The eagle is another symbol personified in Indian dances. Its importance leaves no doubt - this bird is called the ambassador of the Great Spirit, because it soars high in the sky and is closest to the sun. The action dedicated to the eagle is performed by men: their clothes are decorated with feathers, the bundles of which are attached to the sleeves, symbolizing wings.
      An unusual performance is a dance with hoops, in which an Indian uses up to 30 hoops to create forms depicting turtles, butterflies, snakes, flowers, eagles and other living creatures.
      Native American dances are characterized by a clear correspondence to the drum rhythm - this is especially evident in energetic male performances (for example, in the modern Dream Dance). The performer must carefully listen to the drums, and complete the movement with their last beat.

      HOOP - What is HOOP?

      The word consists of 5 letters: first oh second b, third p, fourth y, last h,

      The word hoop in English letters (transliteration) - obrch

      • The letter about occurs 1 time. Words with 1 letter o
      • The letter b occurs 1 time. Words with 1 letter b
      • The letter p occurs 1 time. Words with 1 letter p
      • The letter occurs 1 time in . Words with 1 letter y
      • The letter h occurs 1 time. Words with 1 letter h

      Meanings of the word engagement. What is a hoop?


      Hoop - ring-shaped sports simulator. It is used as one of the sports equipment in rhythmic gymnastics exercises. The hoop is an invention of Richard Knerr, founder of Wham-O.

      Hula hoop (from hula - the name of the Polynesian folk dance and English hoop - hoop), physical exercises, rotation of the hoop around the body from top to bottom and back without the help of hands (movements of the body, legs, neck).

      TSB. — 1969—1978

      Hoop and hoop

      Hoop and betrothed Betrothed is one of the names of a cooper or a cooper who makes wooden utensils from "staves" (see) connected with "hoops" (see Bent products).

      Encyclopedic Dictionary F.A. Brockhaus and I.A. Efron. - 1890-1907

      North Hoop

      "Northern hoop" - a geopolitical project of academician N.N. Moiseev for Russia. Geopolitically, Russia occupies a very special place in the Eurasian triangle…

      Dergachev V.A. Geoeconomic dictionary-reference book. - Odessa, 2004

      Indian hoop dance

      Indian hoop dance, or Indian hoop dance - a traditional story-story performance for the indigenous peoples of southwestern America with the participation of a solo dancer or several dancers ...



      Morphemic spelling dictionary. — 2002

      Usage examples for hoop

      Who would have thought that a simple hoop could convey emotions so effectively?

      By the way, there could have been more awards, don't lose Stanyuta's ball and hoop.

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