Tsimshian tribe dance presentation to be held Aug. 26

A group of Native American youth from the Tsimshian tribe in southeast Alaska will be doing a dance presentation at the First Presbyterian Church of Carson City at 6.30 p.m. on Aug. 26.

The group is being brought here by Rev. Larry S. Emery, former pastor of the Community Presbyterian Church in Walnut Grove in the Sacrament Delta. He’s now the pastor of the Metlakatla Presbyterian Church on the Annette Island Indian Reserve, the only remaining Native America reservation in the state of Alaska.

“The Church dance program means so much to me,” said dancer Marissa Yliniemi, 13. “Our ancestors were asked to give up their dancing because the church did not understand that they were not practicing devil worship. But we have been able to keep our native culture alive at the same time as being Christian.”

As a part of the program the audience will be invited to join in dance, as an act of fellowship and unity.

Other performances in the Northern California area have included churches and schools in Berkeley, Castro Valley, Sacramento, Davis, Yuba City, Auburn, Loomis, and Walnut Grove, Calif. The group also will be performing at the Zephyr Point Conference Center on Aug. 25.

Annette island was settled as a Christian community by natives from the Tsimshian tribe in British Columbia, Canada, in 1887. While the island is no longer a Christian community, religion still has a strong influence. The Metlakatla Presbyterian Church was founded in 1920 by Rev. Edward Marsden, the first Native American from Alaska to graduate a four year college to be ordained as a Protestant pastor and to become a United States citizen.


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