When traditions fade, Native Americans dance to remember

For 56 years, Louis Mofsie has danced with his troupe, making Native American heritage shine and ensuring that age-old steps live on, even if their tribes of origin may have forgotten them. Born in Brooklyn 82 years ago, the director of the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers -- which he founded in 1963 -- is a native New Yorker who only saw Indian reservations on trips out West. The son of a Hopi from Arizona and a Winnebago from Nebraska, he was still passionate about Native American culture as a young man, quickly looking beyond his tribal ties. "We went to different reservations, and we danced with the people and we learned the songs and we learned the dances," recalls Mofsie, who also learned from the large Mohawk community that lived in Brooklyn. "We put these all together, and then we all came back here to New York.

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