George Flett a Spokane Tribe artist painted the above picture of Ron in
the midst of his vision.
A version of the story:
When our one God created the creatures, there was so much to think about.
For every purpose there had to be some creature. No creature could be left lonely. One
creature was created almost by chance. The Prairie Chicken really had no purpose that God
could remember, but it was a happy creature so it was left to roam the earth with its
The Prairie Chicken was so thankful for its life that it spent much of its
time dancing to show its joy to its maker. Over passage of time, God became comfortable
with this special praise of this creature and smiled often upon it.
As time flowed forward, there were fields, and hunters, and
specialization, and somehow all the Prairie Chickens were lost in our area until none were
left. This made God feel a loneliness for it. He looked around but could not find even one
of these dancing creatures. He shed a tear for them. He looked further. Things were
changing fast, but he did see Indian humans dancing at a powwow and it reminded him of the
Prairie Chicken. He smiled.
There were so many types of dance. There was the dance of traditional,
dance of fancy, the dance of rain, the dance of hope, the dance of love, the dance of
grass, the dance of peace, the dance of war, the dance of nobility, the dance of dance,
but nowhere was there a dance of the Prairie Chicken. God enjoyed them all, but he missed
that old Prairie Chicken kicking up its dust. This made God go into the dreams of Ron
Atcheynum a Plains Cree Indian to give him a vision. Ron was a good dancer, but after
seeing this vision of the Prairie Chicken, he was inspired. Thank God for those who can
get inspired by the little things. Without them how much would we miss?
At the next major powwow and dance contest Ron was prepared with his
Prairie Chicken costume and the dance movements that he had been working hard on. The
judges saw something like a vision when he danced and he won the contest. So many people
began emulating Ron's dancing that the elders created a special dance contest just for the
Prairie Chicken Dancers. After a couple years every young person wanted to dance in this
contest. Ron became a judge for this contest. Each year he comes to Spokane to see the new
Prairie Chicken Dancers and judge them.
God looked down on this new activity and said, "It is still
This is just one aspect of what you could see in a
powwow here near Spokane at the Riverfront Park, the Spokane Reservation, The Kalispel, and
many other nearby powwows.
This is what we live in the midst of, if we can just open our history eyes
A Prairie Chicken Dancer at the year 2000 pow-wow in Spokane's