President Obama At Dillingham Middle School Learned How the Yup’ik Dance

President Obama dances with and greets students at Dillingham Middle School on Wednesday, Sept. 2. Photo: Tara Young

President Obama dances with and greets students at Dillingham Middle School on Wednesday, Sept. 2. Photo: Tara Young

Published September 3, 2015

DILLINGHAM, ALASKA – At the Dillingham Middle School, President Obama was treated to a youth cultural dance performance. The grade-scool-aged children performed four Yup’ik dances.

The Yup’ik are Eskimo’s or Inuit people and they live in Southwestern Alaska..

Obama sat on the front row, grinning throughout the performance and clapping appreciatively. Sonny Black Eagle (President Obama’s adoptive Crow father, who has passed) would have loved to witness these Yup’ik dances.

The children wore Native headpieces and attire and did an admirable job staying in unison as they sang and danced. Their adult leader, Sophie Woods, explained the songs and a little bit about their culture, telling the crowd that their native language is disappearing.

One song focused on honoring berries and another featured the lyrics “Don’t be afraid to play basketball.”

Obama jumped up and danced with the children during the last song. “I’ve been practicing,” he said. Clearly the president had taken a crash course on the routine.

Afterwards, he told the crowd that he’s so happy to be here and would try to bring Michelle and the girls back.

“Keep up your traditions even as you go out into the big world and learn,” he said.

Before departing, Obama posed for a photo with the kids, nearly causing a pile-up when he asked who would help him up.

 

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