When Joe Sam Scabby Gown was inducted into the Montana Indian Athletic Corridor of Fame in 2018 for his grass dancing, he was battling throat cancer and wasn’t performing perfectly.
No one predicted him to dance, but Scabby Gown came to the party donned in whole regalia.
“When I observed he was in his regalia, I just believed, ‘Oh s***, observe out,'” Don Wetzel Sr., founder of the corridor of fame, recalled. “He bought out there, and he did not skip a defeat. He was the similar then as he was 40 a long time in the past when I initial noticed him dance. It blew men and women away.”
Scabby Gown, winner grass dancer who traveled the planet for powwow events – and manufactured buddies in all places he went – died of throat most cancers on June 22. He was 62 decades outdated.
Scabby Robe, who is Blackfeet, was born on June 7, 1959 to mothers and fathers Audrey Marie Whitegrass and Joe Scabby Gown.
Wetzel coached Scabby Robe on the Browning Superior College Boy’s cross nation group, and Scabby Gown served as Wetzel’s supervisor for the school’s basketball workforce from 1972 to 1980. Wetzel remembers Scabby Robe coming to just about every practice and game, from time to time getting so passionate he would gain complex fouls from the bench.
“He sat correct upcoming to me on the bench for 8 decades as we gained condition titles,” Wetzel said. “We just related. I consider it was a spiritual thing. It was nearly like we were brothers.”
As the workforce noticed achievement on and off the court, Wetzel mentioned he envisioned his players and Scabby Robe becoming Blackfeet leaders.
“Individuals boys ended up hard. They would’ve been outstanding tribal councilmen, elders and storytellers,” Wetzel mentioned. “When you win, your attendance goes up, your GPA goes up. It’s a big offer, and we had that. That is why I say people boys should’ve been leaders.”
But Wetzel stated too a lot of of people gamers have died younger, from liquor, sickness or auto accidents.
“Joe Sam would’ve been an outstanding cultural chief. But he and far too quite a few some others have handed. We’re losing our spirit. I learned the way from my elders, so now some kids are likely to miss out on that,” he stated. “I do not know how else to say it, but when Joe Sam passed, I misplaced a aspect of myself. I beloved him, and I would like other folks could’ve uncovered much more from him.”
‘The gentleman of 1,000 moves’: Scabby Gown was a champion dancer
Though he also executed extravagant dance and hen dance, Scabby Robe was notorious for the grass dance, a speedy-paced design and style of Native American powwow dancing that features sweeping motions, mimicking swaying grass.
Scabby Gown traveled the powwow circuit each and every summertime, in some cases hitchhiking across the region to get to the next occasion.
From time to time called “the person of 1,000 moves” or “the legend,” Scabby Gown was a champion dancer, usually using initially spot in the powwows he attended. As his fame grew, he carried out in nations around the world around the globe, which includes Russia, Poland, Denmark, Japan, Taiwan and the Netherlands. He was the first dancer to be inducted into the Montana Indian Athletic Corridor of Fame.
“He was the greatest dancer I have at any time recognized,” stated John Ground III, Scabby Robe’s relative and vacation spouse. “His design was tough to copy. His actions ended up choreographed from head to toe. He was rapid, then slow. It was actually exceptional.”
Rainbow Azure, Scabby Robe’s dance lover, said when Scabby Robe danced, “it was like he was telling a story.”
“His design and style was so smooth, like he was dancing on water. He was very balanced. He would go small and then high, he would go still left then right,” Azure said. “Just about everywhere he went, he introduced that energy – that dance, it really is drugs.”
If Scabby Gown couldn’t locate a auto to get to a powwow, he would ask Frank Thomas, a shut good friend, to take him to the situations. Thomas mentioned the two traveled the country’s powwow circuit for many years.
“He’d connect with me and say, ‘Hey brother, let us go in this article. There is a powwow there,'” Thomas recalled. “He cherished it so substantially. It was his lifestyle.”
But Thomas stated Scabby Robe didn’t dance for recognition or awards, rather he danced for his people today.
“A single time at Fort Belknap, somebody shook my hand and thanked me for bringing Joe Sam. She asked if Joe Sam could dance at her mom’s 90th birthday, and Joe Sam reported yes. He went out to Fort Belknap and danced for her birthday, and she was so excited. He was genuinely humble and would do stuff like that all the time,” Thomas mentioned. “His dancing would make people today sense superior about on their own.”
As his most cancers worsened, Scabby Robe failed to halt dancing. His son, Joseph Andre “Anjo” Scabby Robe, stated when his father was honored at a Bozeman powwow in 2017, he had a tracheotomy positioned in his neck to help him breathe.
“He danced at that powwow,” Anjo recalled. “Even with that (tracheotomy). No one anticipated him to dance but when he did, anyone got up to dance with him. It was amazing. He was just the greatest at dancing grass.”
Scabby Gown is survived by 4 siblings, Fortunate Whitegrass, Marcia Sue Kicking Girl, Wanda Scabby Gown and Kenny Scabby Robe six small children, Joseph Andre Scabby Robe, Sammy Joe Leona Scabby Gown, Julie Anne Scabby Robe LittleChief, Mike Scabby Robe, Dave Scabby Gown and Haven Scabby Robe and 6 grandchildren, Ashley EagleSpeaker, Taelyn Scabby Robe, Andre Scabby Gown, Koda Rain Scabby Gown, Chevyo Scabby Robe and Dillon Scabby Robe.
Nora Mabie handles Indigenous communities for the Good Falls Tribune. She can be attained at [email protected]. Signal up for her publication on tribal news. To assist coverage of tribes in Montana, subscribe nowadays.