Three dozen young men and women from across several Midwestern states shared their Native American heritage with members of the Morrisville community last Sunday afternoon. Dressed in traditional costumes, the young people presented a pageant of song and dance while accompanied by their storyteller and drummers. Each summer the group, affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America Explorers program, travels for 18-24 days to share their heritage with youth camps, fundraisers, museums and community events throughout the country. Their performance in Morrisville was sponsored by the Morrisville Public Library. Phyllis Mattingly, president of the library board, said that the library was "so proud to bring this group to the community."
The program began with a salute to the American flag. The storyteller thanked those who had made it possible for us all to live our lives the way we choose, a recurring theme in his inspirational stories. The group borrowed liberally from many Native American traditions, including the Lakota Sneak Dance, the Pawnee two step and the Hoop Dance. As the youngsters showed off their dancing prowess, the audience was drawn into the experience by the students' enthusiasm and skill. One of the dancers, Ben McIlroy, age 13, of Amarillo Texas, said that the motto for the group is: enthusiasm, skill and regalia. The group had that and much more.
The troupe, dubbed the Kwahadi by the Elders of the Comanche Nation, is carrying on a long tradition started in 1944. Since then over 1600 young men and women have participated in over 3800 performances in most of the various states and overseas. As participants in the Boys Scouts of American, they have performed twice at the Boy Scout National Jamboree, at the Canadian Scout Jamboree and the Millenium Jamboree as well. All performances are by volunteers and the young people depend on donations to help them enjoy the hospitality of small and large communities while sharing a cultural history lesson with those who attend their performances.
Dana Sue Miller is a resident of Morrisville, a freelance writer and frequent contributor to this paper.