Cecil Manuel, of the Cecil B. Manuel Inter-Tribal Dancers, shared his cultural and spiritual knowledge at the recent BioBlitz in Saguaro National Park. Among the dances he demonstrated was the Hoop Dance. “There are so many different stories that we tell about the dances. Different tribes have different versions of how they came about,” he told me in this video interview at the BioBlitz. Through his dance and knowledge, he demonstrated an ancient cultural affinity with the Saguaro region.
“Traditionally, Akimel O’odham, my people, are from here,” Manuel explained. “They respected and used everything that was in this environment. People would pray, and the Creator would show them how to use what was here. Everything here, rocks and everything, was here for a different reason, so they were used with respect.
“That’s the tie I have here, to the Earth … and everybody should be like that. That’s the purpose of the BioBlitz, to show people that this is important, it’s not just a piece of land, it affects us all as human beings.”
David Braun is director of outreach with the digital and social media team illuminating the National Geographic Society’s explorer, science, and education programs.
He edits National Geographic Voices, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society’s mission and major initiatives. Contributors include grantees and Society partners, as well as universities, foundations, interest groups, and individuals dedicated to a sustainable world. More than 50,000 readers have participated in 10,000 conversations.
Braun also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship.