On October 21, 7-year-old Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community member Carlos Mendivil Jr. (Pima/Cheyenne) performed a traditional fancy dance at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale Raise the Rooftop fundraiser, held at Scottsdale Fashion Square.
Mendivil was selected to perform at the event from a group of many performers at the Boys & Girls Clubs Talent Show on September 25, according to Red Mountain Boys & Girls Club Branch Supervisor Angela DiCicco.
“It makes me nervous, excited, happy and proud to dance like my dad,” said Mendivil Jr. after being named the Judge’s Choice at the talent show.
His parents are Lavenda Balderas and Carlos White Tail Mendivil Sr., and his grandparents are Connie Balderas, Gume Balderas, Winnifred White Tail Mendivil and Spencer Mendivil.
His father is a sun dancer and a painter and has been a runner for other ceremonial participants. He was instrumental in teaching his son his Cheyenne ceremonies and traditions.
“My son has been dancing since he was 2 years old, and he attended his first Cheyenne sun dance ceremonies as an infant,” said Lavenda Balderas, Mendivil’s mother.
This summer Carlos was initiated into the Cheyenne Dog Soldier Society.
“He descends from a long line of Cheyenne and Arapaho chiefs,” said his grandmother Winnifred White Tail Mendivil. “His great-great-grandfather, Ralph White Tail, was an Arapaho chief and a ceremonial leader, and his great-great-great-grandfather Howlingcrane was a Cheyenne chief.
Winnifred continued, “Junior is a fancy war dancer and is carrying on the family legacy of traditional dancing. We are so proud of him!”
Mendivil was given the Cheyenne name White Tail after his great-great-grandfather.