Thunderbirds Land at Countrywood

Left to right: Allan Star, from the Lenape tribe in Southern New Jersey, Marie McKinney Ponce, a Cherokee from the mountains of North Carolina, and Louis Mofsie, who is half Hoppe (Arizona) and half Winnebago (Nebraska), captivated their Countrywood audience.
Left to right: Allan Star, from the Lenape tribe in Southern New Jersey, Marie McKinney Ponce, a Cherokee from the mountains of North Carolina, and Louis Mofsie, who is half Hoppe (Arizona) and half Winnebago (Nebraska), captivated their Countrywood audience.
Left to right: While Marie McKinney Ponce demonstrates a dance used to create an updraft for the fires used in their homes, Louis Mofsie talks with his Countrywood audience about the dances’ history.
Left to right: While Marie McKinney Ponce demonstrates a dance used to create an updraft for the fires used in their homes, Louis Mofsie talks with his Countrywood audience about the dances’ history.
With help from Marie McKinney Ponce, Mr. Star works with his four volunteers on a dance that requires the participants to make sure that no body part, except their feet, touches the ground as they pick up a feather with their mouth.
With help from Marie McKinney Ponce, Mr. Star works with his four volunteers on a dance that requires the participants to make sure that no body part, except their feet, touches the ground as they pick up a feather with their mouth.

Countrywood students were treated to a fantastic performance today, teaching them about American Indian culture that weaved history, dance, and song. "This is how we keep our culture alive and how we identify with it," said Louis Mofsie, director of the New York-based Thunderbird American Indian Dancers.

“I think that when they teach about American Indian history in many schools it’s always in the past tense, and we are here to let students know that the American Indian culture is still very much alive,” said Mr. Mofsie, who is half Hoppe (Arizona) and half Winnebago (Nebraska).

Joining Mr. Mofsie was Allan Star, from the Lenape tribe in New Jersey, and Marie McKinney Ponce, a Cherokee from the mountains of North Carolina. “All dances have a history,” said Mr. Mofsie. “There were traditional dances for men and women, as well as ones with more unique names, like "shawl dance" and "fancy dance." Each dance has its own history, which I talk about with the Countrywood students before we perform that dance.”