Medicine Fiddle

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Medicine Fiddle explores the music and dance heritage of the Fur Trade among Native and Métis families on both sides of the U.S. and Canadian border. Fiddling and step (clog) dancing was introduced to Native peoples by French fur traders in the late 1600s and a century later by Irish, Scottish, and Scots-Irish trappers, lumberjacks, and homesteaders. Over the past two centuries, in the confines of family gatherings on remote reservations, this music has survived and has permeated the cultural memory of mixed-blood descendants. Some of the music and dance has absorbed a Native musical influence, and a Native spiritual culture sustains it. The stories, music, and dance are performed in family settings.

  • Film by: Michael Loukinen
  • Produced by: Michael Loukinen
  • Cinematographer: Miroslav Janek
  • Sound: Matt Quest, Dennis O'Rourke, David Turk
  • Editor: Miroslav Janek
  • Other Credits: Folklore Consultants: James Leary, Anne Lederman, Nicholas Vrooman
  • Funding: North Dakota Humanities CouncilMichigan Council for the ArtsNational Endowment for the ArtsFolk Arts Program
  • Original Format: Film: 16mm
  • © 1991, Michael Loukinen
  • 1h 21mins, Color