By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
FORT HALL — Shoshone-Bannock student, studying at Idaho State University, Tyson Shay, gave a presentation on Living in Two Worlds on Tuesday, October 13 for ISU’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration.
Shay reflected on his upbringing dancing at powwows, singing and emceeing. He grew up in Fort Duchesne, Utah and Fort Hall.
“As a person who upholds my culture to the highest standard, I took my cultural disciplines and applied the same principles into furthering my education,” Shay states on the promotional flyer for the event.
He graduated from ISU with an Associate of Science in Business in 2012 and is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in management in 2021.
He welcomed everyone in Shoshone language and introduced himself. In honor of Indigenous People’s Day he sang a song for the occasion.
When he lived amongst the Northern Ute people he experienced their lifestyle in the ways of culture, hunting, and traditions within the household. He was close to the elders. Song and dance was always a part of his life. Cattleman was the way of the family. He returned to Idaho as a teen.
He got into dancing and did so to honor his people, the elders, family, and lastly himself.
Shay said through body movements one can tell a story. He started out as a traditional dancer and switched to grass later. He said everyone has a reason for dancing. His reason was for the younger generation, to show them his story as the eldest male in his family and to be a good role model.
With dancing he also learned to sew and to bead his own regalia. Everything on his regalia has meaning to him, in the design and colors. The beadwork on his regalia took five years and the sewing on his outfit took about three months.
Shay said when he sings, he sings for the people.
He’s been around the drum since he was a baby. He started singing in competitions as a 10-year-old-boy, and in ceremonial ways. He was taught by his family in Satus, Washington.
He learned from his grandfather how to carry himself as a singer, he explained a singer must remain humble and to conduct yourself respectfully around the drum and when in the community. He said one must be in control of their emotions.
Shay talked about his drum group Medicine Thunder, which he formed with his brother Eric Chip Dann and his nephews and people from the local community. His job as a singer is to touch someone’s soul and spirit and make them feel happiness.
Shay has evolved in the powwow world and has become an emcee, speaking at several local events for the community and his job. His confidence to take the mic was inspired after winning a school speaking competition in one of his business classes.
Living in two worlds has not been easy for Shay but he dedicates himself to be a good role model for the younger generation and to show his sons how live in a good way.