Tribe performs historic Lame Dance

Many gathered in the Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum to witness the historic Lame Dance be performed during the NAGPRA Conference, Wednesday, May 21.
Female dancers perform the historic honorary Lame Dance for the first time in over 30 years at the NAGPRA Conference Tuesday, May 21 at the Southern Ute Cultural Center & Museum.
Sacha Smith | The Southern Ute Drum
Sacha Smith | The Southern Ute Drum

NAGPRA Conference held at Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum May 20 and 21, the Lame Dance was performed. The dance hasn’t been performed in over 30 years according to NAGPRA Apprentice, Cassandra Naranjo.

“ I know we performed it when I was in Southern Ute Youth Group over 30 years ago and maybe it was performed a little after that, but not since then,” Naranjo said.

The Lame Dance is an honorary dance that was performed by women when warriors came back from a battle or a raid, she said.

Women are the only ones to perform the Lame Dance, and when they perform the dance they drag their right leg to symbolize a warrior coming home injured. The female dancers also wear a shawl across their shoulder to symbolize deceased or injured warriors, and/or loot from a raid, she said.

Due to the dance not being performed in a long time the songs are hard to find, Naranjo said.

“You can’t just perform it to any song, there are specific songs for this dance,” she said. “I had to search for a song and found a recording of one from 1922.”

Men would sing the songs for the Lame Dance with a hand drum.

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