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Native American tradition beats loudly at state competition

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - Tradition, culture, and some elaborate costumes were on display at Detroit Lakes middle school today.

Thomas Mason started the DL Drum and Dance team ten years ago, hoping to share the Native American culture with the community. Today, the town hosted the state competition for the first time.

The drums and dances are deeply rooted in tradition. The costumes are elaborate, colorful and heavy.

Veronica Roy, DL Drum & Dance Team: "It takes a lot of energy, so you have to be in shape and you can't drink pop all day."

Teams from across Minnesota came to Detroit Lakes middle school for an all-day Drum and Dance competition.

But it isn't just a competition - it's a culture.

Thomas Mason, DL Drum & Dance Coach: "What we teach are the legends, the stories about some of these dances. A lot of these dances have a story behind them."

The local team got its start ten years ago, after coach Thomas Mason moved here. He grew up in a community teeming with racial tension and wanted to avoid that for his own children.

Mason: "So we can show the community what our culture is all about, and break down those stereotypes about how they view native people."

His daughter Veronica was a member of that very first team.

Roy: "I like keeping the culture alive, and knowing that there's a future in this."

This is the first time Detroit Lakes has hosted this state competition. So, for Thomas and Veronica, who is a senior this year, everything is coming full circle.

Roy: "We kind of got really close and became a family and it's hard to leave your family."

The traditional costumes, with their intricate beading, are all home-made.


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