With the seemingly inevitable changes sweeping through indigenous communities in Belize and around the world, many community leaders in the Santa Cruz village of Belize were concerned that the young people would not have an opportunity to learn the Deer Dance and the traditional importance behind it. The leaders in the community decided that something needed to be done to protect this tradition for the younger generations of this area and so the DEER DANCE PROJECT began.
The Positive Legacy project for Jam Cruise 14 was to fund the Deer Dance Festivities and the Documentation of the tradition in Santa Cruz, Belize. The documentation of the Deer Dance would be something tangible for the younger generations to enjoy and help to aid in keeping tradition alive. Positive Legacy Supporters rallied behind this project and helped raise money to fund the protection of Maya Culture. Positive Legacy awarded the community of Santa Cruz with a $13,750 GRANT to fund the festivities and documentation production.
DEER DANCE INFO:
The Deer Dance is an important heritage practice of the Maya communities of southern Belize. The Maya are intimately connected to the rainforests where they have made their homes and livelihoods for hundreds of years. This connection is reinforced through the ecological practices of daily life, as well as through the celebrations and rituals that mark the changing of the seasons, the passing of time and the traditions of Maya heritage. The Deer Dance tells the story of the relationship between Maya people and the land, and is traditionally danced during the Christmas/winter solstice week. Maya heritage practices are not simply important for telling the story of the past, but they are also critical to maintaining well-being in communities today.