The Importance of Art and Dance


The Makah Tribe still considers art to be a crucial part of every day life. The Northwest coastal style is a very distinct one that isn’t found anywhere else, so many Natives make their living as artists! They sell their carvings to shops, galleries, and individual collectors all over the world. They make very good use of the resources around them and are typically able to use the wood from the trees that surround their land. The most commonly used designs are that of the raven, eagle, wolf, salmon, halibut, and whale. Each animal that is depicted is symbolic and resembles something very important to the Makah people. The carving made from the trees can be as small as earrings and as large as totem poles! The carving are usually used to tell a story, and these stories are passed on from generation to generation.

Just as the carvings are a way of passing down stories from one generation to the next, dance is also used in this same manner. Each dance tells a story of the history of the land and it’s people. These dances are the way that the Makah ancestors wrote down history, instead of using pen and paper. These songs, dances, and stories can be owned by families, groups, or individuals. Only the person or persons that the dance belongs to can preform it. At potlatches these songs can be reaffirmed to their rightful owners. The songs can be used to celebrate life as well as mourn death

Sources Cited: The Makah Tribal Wedsite:



2 thoughts on “The Importance of Art and Dance

  1. I have two recommendations. Maybe include what kinds of trees they used. And Also think about talking more about how people can own dances and that only they can perform it.


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