If Cities Could Dance


Native American Hoop Dancing and Hip-Hop in Minneapolis

Micco and his older brother Samsoche are well known on powwow grounds and beyond for their impressive hoop dance routines, which are often performed to the beat of Native hip-hop. Watch them perform traditional hoop dance formations in front of Minneapolis’ American Indian Center, on the Mississippi’s Stone Arch Bridge and underneath the Hennepin Avenue overpass.

AIRED: March 26, 2019 | 0:04:17

♪ Take you back to the Rez

♪ Take you back to the spot

♪ Where the settlers are cold and the summers are hot ♪

♪ And the cattle got sold, my mom almost got shot ♪

♪ Stories we never told, some we wish we forgot ♪

- [Lumhe] Whenever I dance,

I'm representing myself,

my mother, my father, my grandparents,

my ancestors forevermore that came before me, my children.

I carry them all with me.

When I'm out there dancing, I'm pouring my heart out.

We are the Sampson brothers

of the Seneca people of upstate New York.

And also Muscogee Creek, where my father is from.

We are hoop dancers here in Minneapolis.

♪ Teach 'em all about red man

♪ Red man

- [Samsoche] As an indigenous person

that's lived and performed and visited different cities,

Minneapolis holds, I think, a very special place.

Minneapolis is a huge starting ground

for the American Indian movement.

A call to action for a lot of urban indigenous people

to reclaim their identities and their culture.

- [Lumhe] The dance is thousands of years old.

And so, to have an opportunity to exercise it,

to me, is an ultimate act of sovereignty and resistance.

I'm still here, I'm still dancing.

♪ Your history books

♪ Your holidays

♪ Thanksgiving lies and Columbus Day ♪

♪ Tell me why I know more than the teacher ♪

♪ Tell me why I know more than the preacher ♪

♪ Tell me why you think the red man is red ♪

♪ Stained with the blood from the land you bled ♪

♪ Tell me why you think the red man is dead ♪

♪ With a fake headdress on your head ♪

♪ Tell me what you know about thousands of nations ♪

♪ Displaced and confined

♪ To concentration camps called reservations ♪

♪ We died for the birth of your nation ♪

♪ Hollywood portrays us wrong

♪ History books say we're gone

♪ Your god and church say we're wrong ♪

♪ We're from the Earth, it made us strong ♪

♪ Many moons, red man fought pale face ♪

♪ The red man red

- [Lumhe] We started dancing,

my mother had us dancing

from the moment we could walk.

And we were in powwows.

- [Samsoche] Our father is the late Will Sampson.

He became a very iconic Native actor.

- [Film excerpt] You cannot learn by forgetting.

- You fooled 'em, Chief.

You fooled 'em, you fooled 'em all.

- [Samsoche] He broke through into the mainstream cinema.

Before then, Native Americans weren't viewed as equal,

and we strive to kinda carry that legacy

in the work that we do in our art.

- [Lumhe] Go ahead and duck your head and cross those two.

Yeah, those are tricky.

Hoop dance, they say, is a healing dance.

For me, it helped me recognize where I come from,

but also it has given me a tremendous instrument and tool

to inspire kids, particularly, to be proud of who they are.

♪ Dear Native youth,

♪ I wrote this song for you.

♪ 'Cause I wanted you to know that I put my heart into ♪

♪ I get inspired every time

- [Samsoche] In life we don't start out as a big eagle,

we start out very small.

And when we first learned,

the way we were taught,

when you dance, we're never truly alone.

So if you just keep that in mind,

that gives you the courage and the confidence

to take what you learned and take it further.

♪ Close your eyes for a second, ♪

♪ Imagine you no longer livin' in fear, ♪

♪ Keep you head above the clouds ♪

♪ And know it gets better from here, ♪

♪ Pretend for one second,

♪ Pops puttin' down the beer,

♪ Has he put suns around you so you feel how love heals, ♪

♪ How love heals, how love heals. ♪

♪ From the perfect start to the finish line. ♪

♪ Dear Native youth.


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