18 September, 2006
SHELL PEOPLE THEY CALL US
I dance for those who can't
I dance for those who've been here before and
for those to come.
With each step, each heartbeat
I'm one with the spirit.
This is the center of the universe,
a ceremony of world renewal.
It's close to dusk, the women are dressing their hair,
putting on their finest shells, laughing and smiling to
try and calm the butterflies, like their grandmothers before
The sacred fires are built outside
as there is one for men and one for women.
The people are filling up the dance house,
waiting patiently for their grandchildren and relatives
to dance for them.
The medicine is burned to cleanse the dance house,
the people, the future generations.
The prayer song is given,
the men move to the rhythm of the music.
Then come the women to make the line complete.
We connect our arms, the men and the women,
the line is dancing all in time with the singer,
this is unity - at it's finest.
The dancers are praying with every step, every heartbeat
we dance for our ancestors, for the future generations and
for the new year.
The dancers shadows reflect the spirit of our ancestors,
as they are smiling with them, as the fire is burning,
wordless prayers are spoken and the abalone shells are
glistening all over this land.
Selene Rilatos - Siletz Nation