AMAH: A Celebration of Native California Dance

Exhibition: November 15th, 2012-January 11th, 2013

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The Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations (SKINS) in conjunction with The Art Gallery and The Richard Oakes Multicultural Center present, “Amah: Tribal Dances of California Natives” which honors five native cultures from Northern California. The photography exhibition is programed in tandem with this year’s Richard Oakes Celebration, a historic annual event by the Cesar Chavez Student Center. The exhibit showcases an indispensable aspect of Native identity and helps manifest the spirit of their ancestors. Amah, the word in Rumsen Ohlone (a tribe who’s territory includes SFSU) for “the people“ expresses a shared commonality among native dance traditions. Mainly occurring in the spring or summer, native spiritual dances are a means to communicate with the environment and to express gratitude for bountiful provisions. The hand-creation of the regalia through raw materials such as buckskin or shells, and the practice of these choreographed dance pieces which are accompanied by drums and song, is a spiritual right of passage, a tradition that has been passed down since the beginning of Native American culture. Though dance customs are considered to be fluid, ever-evolving and representing the changing aspects of their culture, the fundamental movements, the rhythmic footwork of the dance itself have not changed. Photographers Gilberto Ramirez and Rafael Moreno have captured the native dance culture for the past three years, and honor natives through shooting proper representations of dancers in their traditional regalia and encouraging visibility and education through their artwork in their communities. Members of the community from the local Native Northern Californian tribes represented in the exhibition. Hailey Ferroni (Pomo and Italian American), Michael Preston (Winnimem Wintu), Wicahpiluta Candelaria (Rumsen Ohlone), Desirae Harp (Wappo), and Kathy Wallace (Karuk, Yurok),



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