The Scotts Bluff National Monument will host “Songs and Dances of the Lakota,” as part of its Centennial Celebration on Saturday, June 22, at the Trails West YMCA Camp Pavilion in Scottsbluff.
The event will be feature Jerome Kills Small a Lakota Storyteller. He will describe the history and origin of Native American songs and dances during this interactive program
“I tell the story of the origin of the drum, and then I sing various songs for dancing,” Kills Small said.
The Lakota lived in and around the Panhandle area and had names for the natural landmarks, such as the Sandhills and others.
“The Sandhills or the dunes in Lakota is ‘the corner of the land,’ and the valley of the (North) Platte is called the ‘Valley of the Seashells,” he said.
Kills Small will present the stories and singing with a drum, an essential piece of the Native American Culture.
The drum was not only a way to accompany the music but an instrument of healing. Kills Small said the drum could make people feel better when they heard it.
“We know the resonance is necessary for muscle memory,” he said.
He added when the times were good. The people would dance to the drum and sing. Often later if tragedy or illness struck, then the same song and drum combination could help in the healing of the people.
Kills Small will also teach attendees the friendship dance, where the dancers will circle each other like a giant snake
The event is free to the public beginning at 11 a.m., Saturday at the Trails West YMCA Camp Pavilion.
The Lakota Lutheran Center will have Indan Tacos available for purchase at the event.
The program is funded by Humanities Nebraska, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Nebraska State Legislature, and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment. The Oregon Trail Museum Association has also provided funding for the program.