While in Los Angeles for a photo shoot on March 5, some members of the Phoenix-based dance troupe Indigenous Enterprise had their powwow regalia (outfits) stolen from their vehicle.
The regalia included beadwork, feathers, bustles, aprons, moccasins, head roaches and arm bustles, all of which hold significant cultural meaning to each member.
Performer and designer Tyrenn Lodgepole (Diné) was one of those whose regalia was stolen.
“Everything went smoothly and the photo shoot was beautiful, and we were doing that to showcase our culture in a positive way in a more modern sense as a younger generation,” said Lodgepole.
“On the last day of the shoot, our car unfortunately was broken into, and my regalia, as well as another dancer’s, was taken. I was left in shock. You don’t expect these kinds of things to happen. Our regalia, that’s the last thing [on your] mind. It unfortunately happens more often than not.”
Lodgepole said that the troupe has had a huge support system backing the performers since the day the incident happened.
Regalia can be very expensive, so Indigenous Enterprise started a Go Fund Me fundraiser with a goal of $10,000—which they met within seven days.
“Thankfully, a lot of people—not just locally in our communities, but in many communities around the world—saw what was going on and offered donations and words. It’s been a beautiful moment. Everything is coming together. It’s what’s keeping me up. It’s a super-bad situation and there is a lot of unease about it, but I’m keeping an optimistic mindset that something good will come from it too,” said Lodgepole.
“Talking to some elders and hearing different stories and teachings behind the beadwork, [the regalia’s meaning] is a lot deeper than just something you put on and dance with. There are a lot of prayers that go into it and a lot of teachings that go into each color and design.”
Many people have reached out to Lodgepole to lend a hand with providing regalia, and in the meantime, one of his friends is lending a regalia for him to use in upcoming performances.
Indigenous Enterprise also includes Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Jorge Gonzales.