The Apache Crown Dancers, also known as Mountain Spirits, are traditionally associated with the young women's sunrise ceremony. The Crown Dancers are from Whiteriver, Arizona and begin dancing and singing at an early age.
Centuries ago, the Apache believed that there were mountain spirits living in the highest mountains near a cliff or a cave. If sickness came among the people, the mountain spirits' medicine man had to call these spirits down fromt he mountain to dance during the night hours of darkness for the people, in order to bless them and keep evil spirits away.
Today, there are few Crown Dance medicine men among the younger generation, who know the Crown Dance songs and prayers.
They entertain nationwide at major conferences, powwows, art shows, social events and family gatherings. Most importantly, the Crown Dancers still keep their tradition alive by dancing for the young women who are coming of age. In this version of the dance, the Crown Dancers will be dancing to a blessing song that will bless the earth and all the people involved.
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