Meet Heewekse, a Nez Perce teen with a passion for Fancy Shawl dancing.

Heewekse’s mom danced all the way through her pregnancy with Heewekse, passing down a love for an important Nez Perce tradition early on. Heewekse’s grandma then introduced her to a form of dancing called Fancy Shawl, and began taking her to compete at powwows.

Now a teen, Heewekse continues to dance Fancy Shawl—partly because she knows how happy it makes her grandma to see her dance and partly because she wants to carry on Nez Perce tradition. But dancing also brings Heewekse joy, a feeling of being in the moment with the wind and music all around.

Also a basketball and volleyball player, Heewekse plans to continue to dance and would love to travel to compete in large powwows like Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque someday.

“I absolutely love just dancing. I feel like I’m good at it, I’m in control of how I dance, and I just feel free.”

Nez Perce traditions are largely passed down and shared by family and community members. If you’re interested in introducing your child to the many aspects of Native American culture, attend one of the many pow wows or tribal events in Idaho.
Annual Tutxinmepu Powwow Presented by the University of Idaho Native American Student Center (Moscow)
Annual Seven Arrows Powwow Co-hosted by Red River Powwow Association and Boise State’s Intertribal Native Council (Boise)
Native American Awareness Week Hosted by Lewis-Clark State College (Lewiston)
Julyamsh Powwow (Coeur d’Alene)
Young Nations Pow Wow (Lapwai)