2 minutes reading time (302 words)

Artist Interview: WAV Artist Johni “Red Thunder”Helohahoma

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Johni Helohahoma is another WAV artist, whose last name translates to “Red Thunder.”
Talk to Helohahoma for only about five minutes, and you might already be hit information overload, as he offers a wealth of knowledge on Native American culture.

Going back to when he was a child, he was reading-up on his roots. “My parents really stressed a lot of education,” says Helohahoma, who buried his head in books at the age of five.
Whenever Helohahoma finds time, he visits local pow wows. Recently, he visited one in Moorpark. “They’ve been putting on this pow wow for a lot of years,” he says. When Helohahoma dances at these pow wows, competitiveness is miles away from his mindset. “I’m not really competition-oriented,” Helohahoma says.
Helohahoma performs at these pow wows, dancing in ranging styles. “They can be generic dances, or they can be related to particular tribal aspects.”
Both males and females perform these dances, sometimes together. “The men – they dance in one dance. And then the women – they dance in separate dances of their own,” he says.
“And then there’re dances … they call ‘intertribal,’ which anybody can dance in.”
Featuring an array of music including rock n’ roll, and offering arts and crafts, the event draws the people from all walks of life. “Pow wows are set to attract everyone, basically. They’re not exclusive,” Helohahoma says.
“We get a mixed crowd.”
Despite, these pow wows allow Native Americans to connect to their roots. “It’s our social networking. It’s basically where people … get news. You know?” says Helohahoma about these ceremonies where “family” is not based genetics, but embracing others who are not in the bloodline.
“We have a lot of, what we call, ‘extended family.’”
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