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  • Writer's pictureJaymie Howard

The Connection Between Dance, American Indian Heritage Month, and Thanksgiving in Austin, TX



There are still many Native Americans living in Texas, but only a small number of them live in the Austin metro area. The following Native American tribes were located in the Austin metro area: Tonkawa, Comanche, Lipan Apache, Coahuiltecan, Caddo, Cherokee, Karankawa, and Wichita. The Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin has a permanent exhibit on Native American history and culture in Texas.

November is National American Indian Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the rich history and culture of Native American peoples. One aspect of this heritage that often goes overlooked is dance, a longstanding tradition that is deeply intertwined with Native American culture. Dance plays a powerful role in Native American communities, serving as a means of storytelling, expression, and celebration. From powwows to traditional dances, each movement carries a deeper significance that reflects the unique spiritual and cultural identity of each individual tribe. By highlighting the connection between dance and Native American Heritage Month, we can honor the legacy of Native American peoples and foster a greater appreciation for the diversity and vibrancy of their culture.

As we approach the holiday season and reflect on the history of Thanksgiving, it's important to acknowledge the role that Native American culture played in the development of this holiday. Many Thanksgiving traditions, such as the sharing of food and the importance of community, are rooted in Native American practices. By acknowledging the intersection between dance, Native American Heritage Month, and Thanksgiving, we can highlight the importance of honoring and preserving the cultural traditions of our Indigenous communities. In Austin, where we celebrate both Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month, we can participate in events and activities that showcase the many forms of Native American dance, bringing together our community in the spirit of inclusivity, respect, and appreciation for the diversity of our cultures.



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