I’m a grass dancer…

…a Western Shoshone from Nevada. I was carried onto the arena before I could even walk by my grandparents. I was the first of their grandchildren, and now we’ve got my little nephew so he’s going to be next. We usually travel a lot when it’s powwow season.

Grass dance is the one my family chose for me when I was small, and I stuck with it. My grandfather made most of the regalia that I wear. My grandma has some in there as well. All the beadwork was done by hand. It means a lot when it comes from them because it was made for me. They’re always making something for one of us, always a project going on.

I dance for my relatives that have passed and for the ones who want to dance that aren’t able. I dance for healing, for myself and others. I have everyday struggles and problems like everybody. When I’m in the powwow circle, all that goes away. It’s all positive energy, everybody is having a good time. Got the big frybread in one hand and happy to be there, watching the powwow.

Tristin Ike, Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone, Elko

Click here for the next story in the Find Your Folklife Exhibit