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Tucker enjoys dancing for tribe

Hope Tucker dances during the Thanksgiving Pow Wow. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Hope Tucker dances during the Thanksgiving Pow Wow. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Hope Tucker is a hardcore dancer.

The 13-year-old member of the Poarch Creek Indian Pow Wow Club competed in her first ever teen event dance last week during the 45th annual Thanksgiving Pow Wow.

Tucker said it takes a lot of hard work to master her dancing craft, which its focus is in jingles. She wears a jingle dress that has rows of metal cones that are created to make a jingling sound as the dancer moves around.

“It takes a lot of nerve to do it because most people my age, they’re not really interested in dancing,” Tucker said. “It takes heart to do it, basically; and hard work and dedication.”

Ever since she was 8 years old, Tucker said she’s been wanting to give dancing a try, and added that she wanted to learn more about her culture, history and language.

Tucker is a part of the Poarch Creek Indians, who speak the Muskogee language. The PCI is the only federally recognized tribe of Native Americans in Alabama, and is located mostly in Escambia County.

While learning to dance within the Pow Wow Club, Tucker said she’s learned that the group boasts a family atmosphere.

“I’ve learned that people in the Pow Wow Club are not just your friends, they’re your family,” she said. “They help you. We all help each other out. We help each other out with our footwork, and how to raise our fans and all of that. So, we’re mostly like one big family.”

Tucker danced in the teens jingle category last Thursday afternoon against other girls in her event.

Earlier in the day, Tucker danced for the first time.

She said it was quite an experience.

“It was kind of scary at my first pow wow because I was mostly nervous because I was scared I was going to mess up,” Tucker said. “But my friends actually helped me through it by giving me some encouraging words. They said, ‘don’t be scared. You’ll do fine. Just be you,’ and all of that.”

Tucker is the daughter of Waylon Tucker and Theresa Tucker of Poarch.