As a child Bill traveled a lot. So his dance and beadwork designs reflect both the Western Plains traditions where he was born, and Northern Woodland traditions where he lives. Bill is Tsalagi (Cherokee). He performs Traditional Northern dance at pow wows. He uses smoked moose hide for moccasins, carves bone into medallions, makes dance leg bands from deer toes (hoofs), and designs breastplates, pipe bags and jewelry with motifs from woodland flower to prairie key hole design. As Bill creates each piece, performs each dance, and tells each story he conveys the spiritual purpose in each detail, that transcend the individual, to connect the community. He is a PCA apprenticeship recipient. “Native people view Mother Earth as part of giving sustenance, in terms of food and clothing and all the things we utilize from the environment. So our steps in touching the Mother Earth as we dance brought us closer to the importance of that thanks for what she provided for us.” As Bill Roberson dances the Northern Traditional dance of his Tsalagi People, he feels honored to pass on the culture. He wears the leg rattles he crafts in the original Tsalagi manner and materials, including deer toes. He also makes and wears the more modern rattles with bells and hand hammered coins that became popular through European trade with Native People. Some of the dances are social; and some have spiritual meaning. The leg rattles are worn to keep beat with the drum during dance.
“The drum beat is not just a drum, but as part of the song, it’s also the heartbeat of our People. Our Elders talk about that it’s the heartbeat of All People. Regardless of the color of our skin, at some point, all of us are healing around the drum. So, sometimes people are dancing for themselves, or for loved ones who may have a sickness, or problems within the family, or tribal problems. “