Stories & Songs: Dreamers' Dance

Dreamers & The Land | DREAMERS' DANCE


Our Dreamers' Dance is a world renewal ceremony. We dance to songs brought down from Heaven by our Nááchįį, or Dreamers. These songs are remembered and performed by our Doig River Drummers.

Dahwawetsats is our Beaver word for Dreamers' Dance and it simply means, "they dance." We also call it a "Tea Dance," because we always drink tea when we gather together like this.

Traditionally, our people came together to dance and to hear the Dreamer's words and songs near the winter and summer solstices.

Today, our people from the different Dane-zaa bands come together to dance at various points throughout the year. At Doig River, we always hold a Tea Dance around the summer solstice to kick off our Doig River Rodeo weekend.

We also continue to hold Memorial Tea Dances when there has been a death in the community. At these ceremonies, we dance to help the person's spirit begin its journey along yaak'eh atane, the trail to heaven. Like the Dane-zaa people who came before us, we dance in a circle following the sun's direction from east to west.

Our most recent Dreamer, Charlie Yahey, said that if our people did not come together to sing and dance around the time of winter solstice, the sun would continue to move to the south and winter would continue. By dancing together, we help the sun turn toward the north and bring on the long days of summer, renewing the earth's cycle for another year.

Dreamers' Dance Photos:  

Slide show not displaying? Click here to view images

Gary Oker, 2001

Chief Gary Oker teaching about Dane-zaa drumming and the Dreamers Dance. Excerpt from the video; Contact the People, ©2001 Doig River First Nation.

video clip Click to Watch

Know More

In this excerpt from the video Contact the People (2001), Chief Gary Oker talks about Dane-zaa drumming traditions and Dreamers' Dances. Doig River First Nation Rodeo and Cultural Grounds.

Doig River Drummers singing Gaayęą's 'Prairie Chicken Song,' 2004.

Tommy Attachie and the Doig River Drummers singing the Dreamer Gaayęą's "Prairie Chicken Song," Doig River, 2004.

audio clip Click to Listen

Know More

The Dreamer Gaayęą brought this song back from Heaven in a dream he had at Sweeney Creek. The drummers and singers camped with him there helped Gaayęą to remember the song by singing it over and over.