Corn seed plantings represent a way to acknowledge the 10,000 year history of the occupation of Mannahatta and its adjacent land by Native American people who call themselves the Lenape. We will gather at the Campos Garden on East 12th Street — long ago within a low lying marsh –along with Dance Parade’s Community Engagement youth from the neighboring PS34 Middle School to participate in a ceremony to remember the Lenape people’s long stewardship on an island that they never ceded to the European colonists that invaded it. Campos Garden urban farmers Christopher Batenhurst, long a professional dancer, and Alexia Weidler will welcome us as guests to the circle plot in their Children’s Garden.
This year Dance Parade will open it’s 13th Annual event with a Native American Circle Dance. The Dance Parade theme MOVEMENT OF THE PEOPLE recognizes and embodies both the latest refugees and immigrants alongside the original inhabitants of Manhattan now returning from their displacement and erasure to stand against hate rhetoric and hate crimes built around false narratives around walls, “criminals” and “invaders.” Says Executive Director, Greg Miller, “When we honor Native American dance, we acknowledge that we all share this land.”
Led by Grand Marshal Native American Louis Mofsie, the Circle Dance reflects different experiences and ways of being in the world. It kicks off a vast procession of dance styles and movement vocabularies representative in the Dance Parade. Native round dances ultimately remind people of their connection to all living things and unite people with the world around them.
The Dance parade begins on Broadway under parts of which lies Wickquasgeck, a former Native American trail along the ridge of the glacial moraine that forms the backbone of the island and winds past Kintecoying, meaning Crossroads of Three Nations, near the Parade’s Grandstand and the East Village schools whose pupils will plant corn, beans and squash — the traditional three sisters of native planting –in a ceremony of rematriation of the garden’s land. Our seed planting seeks to pay our respects to the Lenape ancestors, elders and future generations.
The Parade ends at Tompkins Square Park with a four hour long free Festival within blocks blocks of the schools and community garden. There we will enact the ceremony under the witness of such Native dance and performance artists as Emily Johnson, Dance Parade’s teaching artists, school teachers including science teachers, and school Principals and PTA coordinators.
More info on Dance Parade’s Community Engagement Programs:
Dance Parade’s Community Engagement Programs allow participants of all ages – from schools to community and senior centers – to discover their own innate capacity for the communication of ideas, thoughts, and feelings through the medium of dance.
All participants in Dance Parade’s Community Engagement Programs have the unique opportunity to dance alongside their teaching artists in our annual parade on Broadway and Festival in May! See all the locations and types of dance offered here.