“Narrative and Counter – Narrative in Commemorative Performance: Native American Powwow Dancing and African American Stepping”

Tuesday, 27 March 2017

4:00 to 5:00 p.m., Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center


Historian and filmmaker Dee Garceau discusses and presents clips from her two documentaries “We Sing” and “Stepping: Beyond the Line,” exploring powwow dances and songs of Blackfeet and Salish people in Montana, an intertribal drum in Idaho Falls, and African-American stepping, a percussive dance invented in the twentieth century by black fraternities and sororities. Both African-American and Native American dances and songs commemorate historic identities in ways that differ from conventional historical narratives about each group. In the process, they broaden audience perceptions about their cultures in the American West. In discussing her work, Prof. Garceau also looks introspectively, commenting on the challenges of her role as a white filmmaker who examines cultures to which she is an outsider. The program is open to the university community and the general public.


In addition to the documentary films noted here, Dee Garceau, Professor of History, Emerita, Rhodes College, and formerly chair of the Women’s Studies Program at Rhodes, is author of Creating Family: Cohabitation in the Intermountain West, 1890-1959 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, forthcoming) and The Important Things of Life: Women, Work and Family in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, 1880-1929 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997). She has also co-edited Across the Great Divide: Cultures of Manhood in the American West (New York: Routledge, 2001). By the way, Dr. Garceau earned her M.A. in history at WSU in 1981.