Joining Josh Atcheynum in His Dance Journey

Posted By PowWows.com August 20th, 2014 Last Updated on: August 20th, 2014

Interview by Dr. Dawn Karima, Native American Culture Editor

Josh Atcheynum

Josh Atcheynum

Q)It's energizing to watch you dance! We know you love to dance…what else inspires you?

A) I'm a drug and alcohol free Native from Sweetgrass First Nation which is located in Saskatchewan, Canada. I'm a Entrepreneur, Graphic designer, Ledger Artist and Traditional Dancer. I also have huge passion for art and love being able to show the beauty of my culture in all mediums of work.

Q) What is your Native heritage? What are some of your favorite things about your tribe?

A) I am a Plains Cree. My tribe taught me respect for all things given to us by the Creator and to always give thanks for the blessings you receive everyday. Learning from my culture has also taught me to live off the land and provide for my family as well as other members of my reservation.



Q) How do you prepare yourself to dance…inside and out?

A) Before I even put my regalia on, I smudge everything, lay tobacco down and say a prayer. Once I start putting my regalia on, I think of what we were doing when we put that certain piece together and I am connected with my family at that moment, which is important to me, since I'm away from them almost half the year on the road travelling to pow wows. Once I'm fully dressed, I feel confident in what I can do and spiritually connected to my past and our ancestors.

Preparing to dance...inside and out!

Preparing to dance…inside and out!

Q) What role does dancing play in your life?

A) Dancing is a way for me too express my self. I make sure to always come into every grand entry fully dressed so I set an good example for the younger generation watching you as you dance in. I'm out almost every Intertribal dancing for all those who no longer can. To most people just watching you in the arbor uplifts their spirits.

Q) That's a beautiful way to look at it! Will you please tell us how you started your dance journey?

A) It all started when I was 5 years old and my father put together my first outfit with the help of the late Richard “Wolf Man” Poafpybitty. Once I started dancing, there was no stopping me. I would dance to every song, even if wasn't my category, I would just dance around the chairs as my parents watched. My parents wanted to keep me dancing and my Father knew that he would be taking me all over, so he made an outfit to dance with me, followed by my Mother and Brothers. It feels good to say that I'm the reason my family dances today. I also want to take the time right now to thank Gary Thomasa for initiating me into the pow wow circle.

I chose traditional since I loved watching the the warriors tell their stories as they danced and felt the most connected to that style when I attended my first pow wow.

Keeping the traditions as a Traditional Dancer!

Keeping the traditions as a Traditional Dancer!

Q) Dancing is such a vital part of our lives here at Powwows.com and I know you love dancing, too. What real changes do you hope dancing and powwows will effect in the lives of those who participate in them?

A) I hope that it encourages people to learn more about their own culture and to always be proud of who they are. I also hope that they learn how strong our culture is since it's not really discussed in the education system.

Q) What do you enjoy most about powwows?

A) To me, I always like having good energy, good singing and good friends at a pow wow. Any of those and it's a good one to me! Getting Midnite Express for contest is always a bonus though– haha! I don't really have a “favorite” pow wow since I enjoy dancing and just being at any cultural celebration. If I really had to choose a favorite pow wow, I would say Shakopee and Mayetta were quite enjoyable. As for favorite dances, I enjoy watching them all for different reasons, so it is hard to just choose one.

Q) What do you wish we knew about you that we don't already know?

A) As side from dancing I run Intertribal Clothing and been busy shipping orders daily around the world, You can check us out on Facebook, Instagram and buy some of our gear from our online shop IntertribalClothing.spreadshirt.com!



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Mark Ford

Great story, great regalia, great family…. great guy!

Lisa Robbie

as a non-native canadian, i am basically new to everything about powwows, but id have to say i love everything about them. I moved to the Battleford in Saskatchewan, Canada 6 years ago from Calgary…and since moving here i have been surrounded by alot of traditional things. I really respect the way the native people as a whole live and respect the earth and what it has to offer. I instantly fell in love with the art, bead work, dancing and singing. All i can say is WOW! And to read about a dancer from right here in this area i now call home…amazing. You are an inspiration to future generations….keep up the good work. Your amazing. ๐Ÿ™‚

darwin atcheynum

very well done in every way,,may the grandfathers watch over your trails and i’m proud of you,,,

Chris Helmuth

Thanks for the inside scoop. It’s good to ‘See how it’s done’ right. Sacred is key…to everything. Funny how life gets better when sacred walks in the room. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sharing Wakan Tanka with you…

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