The "Good Man" Dance
I nominate Dr. Luanna Ross and Dr. Dan Hart, who are both professors at the University of Washington. Luana and Dan (a married couple) run the Native Voices Film Program http://www.com.washington.edu/nativevoices/graduate.html. They have produced many important films with the theme of Native cultural revitalization and indigenous knowledge, which is essential to wellness and mental health in "Indian Country". Luana and Dan have this great idea to introduce a new tradition at American Indian and Alaska Native / Indigenous social events. The tradition they want to promote is the "Good Man Dance" and the "Good Man Society". The Good Man dance would be used to identify male tribal members and/or allies that are eligible for a prize.
In the Good Man Dance, women leaders from a particular tribe or urban Indian community get to nominate men to dance in the ceremonial, "Good Man Dance" round. Women will be encouraged to shoulder tap men who take care of their families, are not violent, treat others with respect, and maintain their traditions, etc... to dance in the "Good Man Dance" round. This tradition could begin a "Good Man Tribal Society" in tribes and urban Indian communities.
The aim of this new tradition is to re-introduce social and cultural sanctions against violence, substance abuse, infidelity and other behaviors that hurt women and children, threaten families and dishonor native traditions. Most of the normative cultural sanctions against destructive behavior and cultural traditions that promoted wellness were expunged from Native cultural reproduction through forced assimilation in the federally sponsored mandatory Boarding School experience, Indian child welfare outplacement and adoptions, etc. This new tradition will be one of many opportunities to reintroduce cultural production and the passing down of a normative social sanctions in favor of cultural maintenance, wellness, environmental stewardship, and self, family and community respect.
As filmmakers, Dan and Luana want to make a film about this new tradition as the overarching thematic core-- against shorter digital stories produced by women who have been victims of violence. The Indigenous behavioral health establishment will circulate it around "Indian Country" as a health communications campaign aiming to reduce violence, alcohol, drugs and mental disorder.
Violence and substance abuse are epidemic among AIAN communities. In the past, films such as "Alkali Lake" and "the Red Road to Sobriety" have had a significant impact and helped to create a neo-temperance social movement that positively impacted Indigenous communities. Native Voices at the University of Washington is a center where students, faculty, and independent producers create documentaries and media research that contributes to the understanding, strengthening, and support of Indigenous people and communities. Native Voices envisions filmmaking from a decolonized, community based, and global perspective. We offer students and producers the opportunity to explore documentary from an Indigenous perspective, and to create projects tha
Native Voices, University of Washington: Native American Studies and the Department of Communications