MINNEAPOLIS : From our first contact with Europeans to the present, indigenous people have careened from one public health crisis to another.

Our healing process and our historical memory of these moments should not end with vaccinations.

Traditions of song and dance help restore his balance this is drained by bodily sickness and deliver spiritual sustenance to those who have lost loved ones. Art, in other words allows us to survive.

During the 19th century settlers appropriated our lands, water and resources, rendering our communities susceptible to smallpox.

Indigenous people over time, developed herd immunity. We also began taking advantage of vaccinations when it became available with the Indian Vaccination Act of 1832, enacted primarily to protect new settlers in our midst.

When influenza hit in 1918, my people were only beginning to recover from a low point in our population. We resided in remote, rural communities of the Great Lakes, but, as in years past, that did not save us.

Under the reservation system, thousands of children were sent away from home to government boarding schools, where influenza spread. This made our experience with pandemic one we have never forgotten.

During that global pandemic, a new healing tradition emerged among Ojibwe women. If you have been to a powwow - a multifaceted ''gathering of nations'' - in recent years, you have seen it performed.

Glittering and full of camaraderie, powwows are an indigenous space for male drummers to sing, while everyone from children to seniors dance their style. Aspects of the powwow have grown more commercial, but the Jingle Dress Dance exists, as a deeply spiritual part of these celebrations.

Ojibwe stories say the Jingle Dress Dance arose when a young grew ill and appeared to be near death. Her father dreamed of a new dress and dance that were imbued with an unusual power to heal.

The healing dresses were quickly made embellished with tinkling material cones, then given to four women at a ceremonial dance. Hearing the sounds, the girls began to feel stronger.By the end of the night she was dancing, too. 

This young pandemic survivor helped organize the first Jingle Dress Dance Society. Versions of this story are told from central Minnesota to northern Ontario.

My grandmother, who entered her teenage years in 1918, lived on the Red Lake Ojibwe Reservation in northern Minnesota, and remained a Jingle Dress dancer for the rest of her life.

She also attended a government boarding school, but that did not deter her from making her own Jungle Dresses. Today, my daughter, in addition to studying Art and Ojibwe language at the University of Minnesota, practices the Jingle Dress dance.

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research on past History, Haunts, Art and Medicine, continues. The World Students Society thanks author:

Brenda A. Child : Northrop Professor of American Studies & American Indians Studies at the University of Minnesota. She is also the author of ''Holding Our World Together'' : Ojibwa Women and the Survival of Community.


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