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White Earth youth explains the Grass Dance, and talks of his life and heritage

Alex Mason, 17, lives on the White Earth Reservation, but he’ll be a senior this fall at Detroit Lakes High School.

Alex Mason in his Grass Dance dress.
MinnPost photo by Steve Date
Alex Mason in his Grass Dance outfit. He learned the dance from his father and grandfather.

Alex Mason, 17, lives in Callaway, Minn., which is on the White Earth Reservation, but he’ll be a senior this fall at Detroit Lakes High School, a public school that is not on the reservation. He has mixed feelings about that. It’s been good for his hockey career, but he misses the connection to his Native American community in White Earth.

The Grass Dance is a traditional dance with modern interpretations originated by scouts who would go out in the tall prairie grass and knock it down to prepare a site for a new camp or meeting. In today’s video, Alex explains the dance and how he learned it from his father and grandfather. He also speaks about his education, his future plans, and misconceptions about his culture and heritage.

This is the third in my series of video reports this week about Native American young people in rural Minnesota. To see the introduction to the series and a video about the Smokey Hill Singers, go here. For yesterday’s video featuring three Jingle Dress dancers go here.  

Thursday: James Dean Allen and Bruce Armstrong – two young men express their thoughts about jobs, education and sobriety.

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