Grant Recipients

Native Americans

Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa

Manda-Bee-Kee Dance Troupe Documentary

$25,000 • Harbor Springs

During the 1950s, The Manda-Bee-Kee (Water Wonderland) Dance Troupe launched a revitalization of culture and traditions began at a time when racial prejudices were strongly embedded in society. To capture the story of this group, this project produced a short documentary telling the story of the Manda-Bee-Kee Dance Troupe, which will help preserve the knowledge, stories, traditions, and teachings of the traditional Anishinaabe songs and dances. The film they created documented the historical, societal, and cultural impact the Manda-Bee-Kee Dance Troupe had on the Odawa and Native Americans throughout Michigan.

Thirty-five Odawa dancers were in the Manda-Bee-Kee  Dance Troupe during the 1950s and 1960s. The group was developed during a pivotal time in American and Native American history, following the development of the Northern Michigan Ottawa Association, an organization that filed a case with the Indian Claims Commission to get restitution for past grievances. At this time, it was unheard of for Native American organizations to sue the federal government. The actions of the NMOA spurred the beginning of the cultural identity revitalization. Odawa dancers created the Manda-Bee-Kees at a time of tremendous cultural loss—in language and arts. Through dancing, the group revitalized traditions and education on Tribal culture and cultivated connections to the past. The group also performed traditional dances at pow-wows and competitions throughout the country as well as educated people on the traditions and meanings behind the dances and regalia (dance wear).

Check back soon for more information and resources about this project.

Check back soon for more resources from this project.

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