“I am here. You will never be alone. We are dancing for you.” So begins Cutcha Risling Baldy’s deeply personal account of the revitalization of the women’s coming-of-age ceremony for the Hoopa Valley Tribe. At the end of the twentieth century, the tribe’s Flower Dance had not been fully practiced for decades. The women of the tribe, recognizing the critical importance of the tradition, undertook its revitalization using the memories of elders and medicine women and details found in museum archives, anthropological records, and oral histories.
Deeply rooted in Indigenous knowledge, Risling Baldy brings us the voices of people transformed by cultural revitalization, including the accounts of young women who have participated in the Flower Dance. Using a framework of Native feminisms, she locates this revival within a broad context of decolonizing praxis and considers how this renaissance of women’s comingof-age ceremonies confounds ethnographic depictions of Native women; challenges anthropological theories about menstruation, gender, and coming-of-age; and addresses gender inequality and gender violence within Native communities.
“A truly significant contribution to the field exploring Indigenous approaches to menstruation and the meaning of womanhood. That it is grounded in the particular culture of the author makes it all the more valuable and unique.”
—KIM ANDERSON, author of Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine
“I am in awe . . . Risling Baldy’s interventions into the field are many and absolutely necessary. We Are Dancing for You is located in a place, in the lives of a community where the voices of individual women are heard, as is the author’s. [This book] locates its authority in community knowledge and language. It pushes back against the outside, primarily white male ethnographic professional as authority.”
—DIAN MILLION (Tanana), author of Therapeutic Nations: Healing in an Age of Indigenous Human Rights
June 28, 2019: University of Washington Press Announcement: Best First Book Prize for We Are Dancing For You
December 30, 2018: Review - We Are Dancing For You from Transmotion.
Summer 2018: The Brown Ball of Fury’s Top 10 Indigenous Reads For Summer 2018
August 27, 2018: Restoring Native Ceremonies. The Keenest Observers: Jefferson Public Radio.
August 2, 2018: The Flower Dancers: Reviving Hupa Coming-of-Age Ceremonies. The Northcoast Journal.
July 16, 2018: Cutcha Risling Baldy on the Power of the Flower Dance (Listen) KHSU.
March 19, 2018: Bringing Back the Flower Dance: An Interview with Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy The Peak Magazine.
We Are Dancing For You
sponsored by the Native Women's Collective
With the help of your generous support the We Are Dancing For You book project will donate and distribute this new book to American Indian youth centers, Native rehabilitation programs, Youth and Adult correctional facilities, and Tribal libraries across the state of California. The book project allows anyone to purchase a copy of We Are Dancing For You to be sent to one of these many facilities in California. The We Are Dancing For You book project is sponsored by the Native Women’s Collective.