In the Spirit of Medicine: in August I danced for the first time

Aug 17, 2020

Dr. Arne Vainio dances for the first time in his gifted regalia, joined by Richard, a young grass dancer
Credit Ivy Vainio. Used with permission.

George has always told me seeing a doctor dancing would be healing for everyone and I discovered that meant me as much as anyone else.  

Richard is a young grass dancer and he has worked hard to be in the arena. We bonded right away and we danced side by side. He dances every dance and he clearly feels the drumbeat somewhere deep inside. George watched us dancing and he slowly crossed the grassy circle between songs and sat at one of the drums. I danced next to Richard as George sang and I could see him with the other singers and I knew he was singing for his regalia and he was singing for his mother. He was singing for all the past times he had been in the arena and he was singing the prayers he used to dance. He was singing for Richard and he was singing for me and I tried to listen for his voice as we made our way around the circle.

In the Spirit of Medicine features the essays of Dr. Arne Vainio, an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs  Band of Ojibwe and a family practice doctor on the Fond Du Lac reservation in Cloquet. His essays on life, work, medicine, and spirit are published in News from Indian Country and you can find the link to this story here.

And you can listen again to In the Spirit of Medicine: It’s the only thing I have left for you here.