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Hoop Dreams: Champion Lowery Begay dazzles and educates!

Posted By PowWows.com June 24th, 2014 Last Updated on: June 24th, 2014

 

Q) You are truly a Champion! Folks all over the world are blessed by your beautiful dancing! Will you please introduce yourself to us?

A) My name is Lowery Begay. I come from the  Dine Nation, the Navajo Nation and I come from the wonderful state of New Mexico and Arizona.

Q) You are so modest! We know you are doing some great things! You are a Championship Hoop Dancer! We'd be honored if you'd tell us about your journey as a dancer?

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A) Well, I've been blessed to  Hoop Dance and it was a gift that was given to me by a wonderful lady named Elvira Spencer Sweetwater, many years ago, and she gave me the gift of the hoops.  I was a Traditional Dancer in the beginning and then I became a Fancy Dancer and that's when the Hoops came into play.

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Q) And now you are such a respected Champion! How has being a Champion Hoop Dancer blessed your life?

A) Now, with the gift of that, it has given me the opportunity to travel all over the world and to educate about the Native American culture and to share our culture, share our stories and to do it in an entertainment way as well. I have been blessed to do what I love and to make a living as well, but  it is really more for me, what I try to pursue is  to educate people about our Native culture and to eliminate stereotypes about us as Native people. I think that is really important for people to know throughout the world.

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Q) You are such a great role model. You are like an ambassador for us as Native People. I love that as an antidote to some of the less uplifting images. How do you feel that dancing helps you and helps you to help others?

A) I think it really saved me from a lot of things. I think that is really important for the younger generation to know how important our culture is to know and how it can also save them from some of the temptations that are out there. For me, the way I was taught was that the Hoop Dance is a Creation Story Dance, a storytelling dance, the way everything comes together…How the World comes together, the Ladder of Life.  How it transforms me is that when we put the world together as Hoop Dancers, sometimes things in the Hoop Dance don't go right, nothing is perfect, sometimes we drop a hoop  or things don't go right and the world that I put together falls apart, it's an educational thing, a part of life. This world we live in may fall apart, but we have to pick up those pieces one at a time, just like the Hoop Dancer picks up the hoop, and we have to do the best we can. We all have bad times and go through bad things. I'm reminded by the people of how important it is what I do.

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Q) Thank you for being willing to share your story and your dance and to teach us such a powerful lesson.

A) I think that's the Circle of Life. I think that's within the Hoop Dance itself. It has no beginning and no ending. That's why I think that the Hoop Dance is so important. It's been passed down from the Elders, and I think it needs to be passed down to the next generation.

Q) Speaking of the next generation, how would you encourage our youth to begin to dance?

A) Don't be afraid to take that step. It's really important. You've got to make sure that it feels good to you. I always tell my kids something that my Dad used to say to me. “Don't let anybody tell you you can't do something if it's positive…not even me.” If you are excelling in school, in your culture, and it's positive and it's good, and helping you to take care of your family and your people and it's making you feel good inside, then pursue it. Pursue it in a good way.  Every one of us, no matter what our background is, we know what is right and what is wrong.  I say embrace it, accept it to the young generation.

 

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Q) Has learning from the Elders been a part of your journey?

A)Those Elders are just waiting for you to ask and when you ask, those doors are going to open for you and the Elders will say, “come on in”. You're going to see the whole world of your culture right in front of you.

I didn't start Hoop Dancing until I was 24 or 25 and when I took that step to go back home and learn about my culture, it just opened up to me a vast amount of doors. One of the things that was said to me was that  the fire of our culture  burns on our reservations among our people and you have taken a branch from this fire and you travel throughout the world and you break off little matchsticks and you share it with others where fires can be started in all these different places that you go, but in time…it's time to come back home and put that branch back into the fire and get another new branch and get another new branch and rejuvenate. Then, go back throughout the world and share that culture and share the things that people need to know throughout the world.

Q) You are certainly enlightening and educating wonderfully well! Thank you for sharing our culture in such wisdom and joy!

A) Thank you! I  have great respect for my culture. I have stayed in touch with my culture and that is very powerful.

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Dr Dawn Karima is the host of A CONVERSATION WITH DAWN KARIMA, a Native American talk show that airs on radio stations, internet radio and through free podcasts at http://talktainmentradio.com/shows/archivedpodcasts/conversationwithdawnkarimapodcasts.

 


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