Dancing the Manoomin

After the manoomin is roasted, it must be “danced” to separate the husk from the grain. A hole is dug in the ground, lined with hide and the manoomin is poured in. The dancer dons new moccasins for this work of dancing on the grains in the pit. Often, the dancers are small children who won’t break the grains. Everyone has a job in the harvest. This music invokes the joyous sound of powwow dancers of all ages and genders and the call of the powwow MC: “Everybody dance your style!” Yet, it is tinged with sadness — until 1951, certain sections of the Indian Act in Canada banned ceremonies and gatherings where dancing took place.