Way of a Warrior: Mi’gmaq Dancer Don Barnaby

Posted By PowWows.com June 26th, 2014 Last Updated on: June 26th, 2014

Q) Wonderful to meet you! What do you want us to know about you right away?

A) My name is Don Barnaby. I am a First Nation Mi'gmaq from Listuguj Quebec. I am 49 years young.

Don Barnaby dances for Native land and for Native People!

Don Barnaby dances for Native land and for Native People!


Q) Such a vibrant tribal heritage! How does your Native identity shape who you are and how you live?

A) I am First Nation Mi'gmaq. I have a deep respect for the land in which mine and yours have lived on. We fight to protect her.


Q) Your courage certainly shows in your dancing! How does your dancing influence your life?

A) For me dancing saved my life. I spent many years on the dark road until I found the Red Road. I spent my whole life looking for the problem in the solution when the solution was right in front of me. I wanted to dance all my life but I knew out of honor and respect I could not put on any feathers or regalia as long I was drinking and drugging. I struggles for many years knowing the right medicine was in that circle. November 28, 1998 I had what I hope to be my last drink and drug. I was able to enter that circle and set my spirit free. I was able to pray the way I was meant to pray. That circle and my regalia give me the right tools to dance and pray.

Q) There is so much power in our old paths! Congratulations on your courage in choosing to be sober! Does dancing strengthen your spirit?

A) I take the time when I get dressed to smudge and pray as I'm getting dressed. To smudge and put prayers into all my gear. When I am completely dressed I feel that I have connected to Creator and that prayers are all around me waiting to be brought into that circle. This makes me feel very connected.

Q) Your connection to Creator is very powerful!

A) The last time I fasted all I thought about was dancing. When I closed my eyes all my visions were of me dancing. When my father would check on me he would ask me to share my visions with him. I would tell him my visions of me dancing. He would just smile and say that just means I never stopped praying, that my prayers were so powerful that they even entered my dreams.


Q)How did you start dancing? How did you know that this was what you truly wanted to do?

A)I was a late bloomer. I didn't start dancing until I got clean and sober 15 years ago. I've always wanted to dance… It's healing and I always needed that healing.

Q) How did you choose your dance category? What does dancing your particular style mean to you?

A) I dance Northern Traditional. My father is a great Northern Dancer and traditional elder so it seemed natural for me to follow his footsteps. I am Don Jr after all.


Q) What do you think distinguishes your personal dancing from the other dancers?

A) I dance low to the ground a lot to connect even closer on our Sacred Mother. Even though I dress more contemporary.

Q) When we see you dance, we notice your distinctive regalia! How did you decide on your regalia?

A) My regalia has designs on them that represent ancient signs that are important to our people representing creation and strength.


Q) So you become a living, breathing prayer and a living,breathing lesson! What do you want folks to feel as they watch you dance?

A) If they take the time to not only listen but feel the music they will be able to connect in their own way. I've seen people at intertribal powwows dance for the first time and some may think they are dancing weird or different than others, but I just think we all just dance the way out spirit guides us. There is no ” wrong” way to dance when we are moved in such a way.

Q)Powwows.com loves powwows!!! We know you do, too! What makes a powwow special for you?

A) To me, a good steady beat to keep me moving makes me wanna dance. I prefer Northern Drums personally but sometimes a really good Southern drum is pretty powerful. When their are a lot of dancers in my category and style then it just makes me wanna dance even harder with my brothers. To see the tiny tots out there gives me so much hope for our future. There's a deep sense of family on the powwow trail.

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

A) I love to lead a good two-step …. Hahaha!

Q) Mvto…thank you for your sharing with us! We sure do appreciate you!
A) You are welcome! Hope this was helpful!


Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » Way of a Warrior: Mi'gmaq Dancer Don Barnaby

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love you uncle don proud of u


Hi, I’ve been to a ton of pow wows. I have seen Don dance many times, he is so incredible!!!!

Martin Barnaby

I am a 59 year old native,been sober since 1994,my father started myself an my brothers dancing when we werein grade school,also back then we were paid 1.00 per session this was the only money we had to spend,since then me an my boys have danced together an my grandchildren have shared the dance floor,its good to know there are native barnabys back east,an still hold the drum in their heart,be strong an carry on

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