The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

The Eyes of MSMS

The Vision

Indigenous Students Alliance hosts Native American Heritage Month Showcase

The MSMS Indigenous Students Alliance hosted the Native American Heritage Month Showcase on Nov. 15. Seniors Iysiahs York and Chloe Wesley — members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians — planned and led the event. 

Seniors Iysiahs York (right) and Chloe Wesley speak during the Native American Heritage Month Showcase on Nov. 15. (Dylan Wiley)

York said he wanted the showcase to demonstrate how Native Americans are still prominent in America. 

“Native American Heritage Month is just an opportunity for Native Americans and indigenous people everywhere to showcase who they are and give representation for a very underrepresented group,” York said. 

York (right) reads “Shokkoshi Alhiha,” a Choctaw rendition of “This Little Piggy.” (Dylan Wiley)

During the showcase, York read “Shokkoshi Alhiha,” a Choctaw rendition of “This Little Piggy.”

“I really wanted people to just get an understanding of where Chloe [Wesley] and I come from,” York said. “Every indigenous nation is different, and they’ll have different traditions.”

The Choctaw Alla Youth Council performs the turkey dance.
(Dylan Wiley)

After the reading, the Choctaw Alla Youth Council — a culture preservation group which raises awareness of tribal traditions — performed several social dances, including the snake, wedding and turkey dances. 

York said his favorite dance was the stealing partners dance. During the dance, onlookers are pulled out from the audience to join in and participate. 

“Whenever people think of social dancing, [the stealing partners dance] is one of the main ones they think of because it’s so fun to go out and get people you know, and to not be in competition — but kind of be in competition — of how many people you can get.”

MSMS students join in the snake dance. During the dance, participants follow a coiling line, resembling the movement of a snake. (Dylan Wiley)

York also said dancing is one of the most important parts of Native American culture.

“I am friends with this one guy who says dancing is medicine,” York said. “I think it’s so true because whenever people go out and dance, there’s always a smile on their face. It’s so refreshing to get out and to be a part of something that makes you, you.”

The Choctaw Alla Youth Council poses after performing ceremonial dances at the Native American Heritage Month Showcase. (Dylan Wiley)

By the end of the showcase, MSMS students participated in both the snake and stealing partners dance.

York said Choctaw social dances are for everyone. 

“[Whether] you’re [initially] a part of the dances or not, you’ll end up being in the dance,“ York said. “That’s how it is every summer during our tribal fair. We have people who come and see our dances as well, like tourists. Normally, they come in thinking they’re just going to watch us dance, but they end up dancing as well.

“One of the main reasons I wanted to also have this [event] is because I know this [communal] aspect of our dances is there, and I know it’s fun for everyone,” York added. 

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Sebastian Harvey, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Sebastian Harvey, 2024 Co-Editor-in-Chief, is a senior from Starkville. He enjoys spending time watching his favorite soccer team, making maps and mazes, reading and playing tennis. Sebastian’s favorite animal is the octopus, and he loves to bake. He believes in Murphy’s law: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” 

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