Native American dance demonstration at West Allis campus


Photo by J.F.DeHoyos

Ronnie Preston (left) and brother Daniel Preston (right) of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, display their regalia for the students of the West Allis Campus during their Native American dance demo on Oct. 19.

On Nov. 19, in the West Allis campus cafeteria, brothers Ronnie and Daniel Preston of the San Carlos Apache tribe put on an amazing demonstration of cultural significance.
The demonstration was in recognition of Native American heritage month. Their message was to educate others about stereotypes and the importance of knowing more about their culture through their dance, and explanations of what certain colors and symbols represent and mean.
Daniel Preston, a fourth semester Human Services student, is actively engaged in the surrounding community area, and has been a member of Student Government for the past two years. The colorful “regalia” as it is referred to, has taken him and his brother a total of five years to complete. Daniel Preston’s regalia incorporates eagle feathers from an eagle that was requested and delivered to him by the federal government. This acquisition takes two to three years depending on the bird. They are only given to federally recognized tribes throughout the states.
The colors blue and white are used in his regalia representing the blue sky and the white snow, and it also honors his mother, Lorraine Mike-Preston, and his wife, Sue Preston, who have been very supportive in his endeavors and struggles with staying on the “red road” (this is what Native Americans call the spiritual and right path in life.)
When asked why he finds this worthwhile, Daniel Preston said, “By doing this we’re trying to set a positive example in all communities. How else are you going to defeat stereotyping?” He added that if one or two people come away from the presentation with a better understanding, then it is worthwhile.
Daniel Preston’s journey is both cultural and spiritual. He plans on performing regularly in the upcoming years at the West  Allis campus. “A warrior’s heart is in the lives of the people,” said Daniel Preston, “somebody who has overcome the adversities of society, also is representing of the people.”
That is exactly what his brother will be doing next month in Florida. Ronnie Preston will be competing for the state of Wisconsin in traditional competition dance and he hopes that Daniel Preston will accompany him on this journey.

A warrior’s heart is in the lives of the people… somebody who has overcome the adversities of society, also is representing of the people.”

— Daniel Preston of the San Carlos Apache tribe