WETUMKA, Okla.- The Wetumka Creek Indian Community recently launched their first dance in December 2023. At that event, members were seen having a great time and were eligible to receive door prizes. A special guest even appeared at the first class, well-known Seminole filmmaker Sterlin Harjo.
The Wetumka Creek Indian Community Chairman Lenora Crump (Mvskoke) has been part of her community’s board for six years. She has held her current position for a year, and enjoys utilizing the funds provided by Muscogee (Creek) Nation for various activities for community members.
For events like dance classes, community members usually have to go outside of their city to participate in one. The idea for Wetumka’s class came from Crump’s sister after she attended the annual Elder’s Sweetheart dance hosted by MCN Elder Services. That’s when Crump and her sisters contacted Heather Valenzuela, the owner/dancing instructor of Giddy Up Two Step.
Valenzuela taught the first dance class at the Wetumka Indian Community Center. A few days later she invited the community to join her at Tulsa’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Community for another class. According to Crump, community members got their hair done and put on their boots to go dance Tulsa.
“We do have some good dancers out there and they are breaking out their boots and dusting them off and they are getting with it,” Crump said.
These classes are open to anyone over the age of 18 years old. Each participant was entered in a door prize contest, which included a $200 Western Store gift certificate. Door prize contest age categories included 18-54 years old and elders 55 and over.
These classes typically see between 13-15 participants. “Majority of those were the elders who are still young at heart,” Crump said. The community is not looking for a particular number of participants, they just want to see everyone involved have a good time.
Harjo is friends with Valenzuela and heard about the class from her. According to Crump, Harjo did more than just dance at the class.
“That was a surprise guest appearance but he put us at the top of the communities when he did that but that was all unexpected. It was the highlight,” Crump said. “He did a little short video and he was pretty active in dancing with our members, it was fun and of course there were some that enjoyed taking pictures with him.”
Crump remarked that she laughed a lot while learning new dance moves. “I have no rhythm, but I do enjoy music. I love listening to music and I feel like it’s therapeutic as well. But I’m not that good but I’m having fun.” Crump said laughingly.
Crump enjoys providing a new physical activity that had not been offered yet for community members. Some of them may not know how to dance or had not danced in quite a while. Crump loves to see each member getting into a groove. She is hoping to start providing dance classes quarterly for the community.
Dance classes will primarily be taught at the Wetumka Indian Community to allow better access for members. The group will also attend classes in Tulsa as well. The community has sent a request to MCN for an activity center building, which will create more space to host bigger events.
“I like to get other communities involved and not just secluded from Wetumka. I think it would be good for other communities if they could encourage them to do something like this as well because you will get older and younger participants and good fellowship. I think it will be a good health benefit and to just have a good time and a little exercise there,” Crump said.
To keep up to date with community events, follow their Facebook page, Wetumka Creek Indian Community.