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Valley couple create virtual dance competition for Native American tribes

With coronavirus cancelling Pow Wow, a Valley Native couple helped to create a virtual dance contest to bring together tribes from all across the U.S.

PHOENIX — It all started as a way to give back, and now a virtual dance contest on Facebook is going viral.

Tylor Etsitty and her husband wanted to give back in the best way they now how, through dance. 

Tylor created the Arizona Dance Quarantine Special 2020 on Facebook, and the submissions started pouring in. 

With Pow Wow cancelled because of coronavirus, many people in the Navajo tribe and others say they miss dancing. 

"Pow Wow to Native Americans, it means celebration of life. It's a healing dance and filled with prayers through songs and different dances," Jolene Thompson said.  

She says during this emotional time, she submitted her video to honor her loved ones. 

This virtual dance contest is a way for these Native families to stay connected, showing faith and unity during Quarantine. 

"Even though we can't be together and pray together the way we want to, we still find a way," Dr. Raetava Godinez. 

The virtual dance contest has even reached tribes from all across the U.S. Tylor said the response is overwhelming and humbling at the same time. 

There are categories to include tribes from all across the country and even Canada. 

As for judging, Tylor said it's tough. She wishes she could pick everyone, and she brings in other judges to help her.

As many families across the U.S. deal with the pandemic, people are all finding their own ways to cope. For many Native American families the overall message is simple, to keep the culture alive and celebrate life. 

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