Folk Art PA

Victoria Angelo and Marta Sam

Native American Traditional Dance and Crafts

As a child, Bill traveled a lot, but he currently resides in Altoona. His dance and beadwork designs reflect both the Western Plains traditions where he was born, and Northern Woodland traditions where he now lives.

“Native people view Mother Earth as giving sustenance in terms of food and clothing and all the things we utilize from the environment. So our steps, in touching the Mother Earth as we dance, bring us closer to the importance of giving thanks for what she provided for us.”

As Bill Roberson dances the Northern Traditional dance of his Tsolagi People, he feels honored to pass on the culture. He wears the leg rattles he crafts in the original Tsolagi manner and materials, including deer toes. He also makes and wears the more modern rattles with bells and hand hammered coins that became popular through European trade with Native People. Some of the dances are social and some have spiritual meaning.  Sometimes people dance for themselves, and at other times they dance for loved ones who may have a sickness, problems within the family or tribe

The leg rattles are worn to keep beat with the drum during dance. “The drum beat is not just a drum, but as part of the song it’s also the heartbeat of our People. Our Elders say it is the heartbeat of All People. Regardless of the color of our skin, at some point, all of us are healing around the drum.”