Larry Yazzie, of the Minnesota-based Native Pride Dancers, helps lead Native Youth Olympics participants and members of the crowd in a Circle Dance during the Native Youth Olympics Invitational at Kenai Middle School in January. (M. Scott Moon/Kenaitze Indian Tribe)

Larry Yazzie, of the Minnesota-based Native Pride Dancers, helps lead Native Youth Olympics participants and members of the crowd in a Circle Dance during the Native Youth Olympics Invitational at Kenai Middle School in January. (M. Scott Moon/Kenaitze Indian Tribe)

Native Pride Dancers return to Kenai to perform

The Native Pride Arts Dance Company is returning to Kenai tomorrow for the second time. The Native Pride Dancers visited in January and performed in conjunction with the local Native Youth Olympics.

Larry Yazzie, the founder, and director of Native Pride Arts said the event will be slightly different than their first visit to Alaska. Three core dancers, including Yazzie, will be in attendance, as well as two new dancers that have not been to Alaska, he said.

The group will be performing the traditional Native dances and music of the American plains tribes at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, in the Kenai Middle School Auditorium.

The event will feature live singing, flute music and narration. Yazzie said it’s an interactive performance.

“It’s important to let the world know we are not in museums or in history books,” Yazzie said. “We are alive, and well, and strong, and resilient and proud.”

Yazzie said the event helps teach attendees what it’s like to be a part of a traditional pow wow.

Michael Bernard coordinated January’s event for the Kenaitze Tribe. He stumbled across the group’s website and said he wanted to bring them up right away.

“We were so pleased to have such talent from our brothers and sisters,” Bernard said. “I think everybody that was in attendance was very excited to be a part of it.”

Bernard said one of the best parts about the performance was how interactive it was, and he hopes the group encourages attendees to be part of the experience again.

“The performance was active and they were knowledgeable about representing cultures,” Bernard said. “It was exciting to see the crowd involved as well.”

The group has traveled across the world and has performed in all 48 contiguous states and Hawaii, but had never been to Alaska to perform before January.

The event is free and open to the public. The group will also be doing a workshop with students at Kenai Middle School, prior to the event.

Yazzie said the dance group is hoping to return to Kenai next January.

Reach Victoria Petersen at vpetersen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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