SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The Native American Heritage Festival brought some of the best displays of Native American culture to Santa Ana. And the dances are an essential part. However, behind the traditional dances, there's more than meets the eye.
"Through the hoop dance, I try to share the message not only to be proud of who you are but to also know that you have the ability inside of yourself as a human to be able to navigate the ups and downs of life," said Eric Hernandez
Hernandez is a world champion hoop dancer. He wants people see the hoop dance as a metaphor for moving through life with grace and beauty.
"We're still here today and our songs and dances have remained relevant and adapted and changed in today's contemporary art world," said Hernandez.
With vendors, crafts and traditional song and dance, the festival highlights the rich culture and tradition of Native Americans.
"We still have our reservation and our land that is designated for our communities but about 40% of Native American people are living here in suburbs. I grew up in West Covina," said Hernandez.
The free festival took place at Thornton Park, where the fun included a drum circle and an ancient hula experience, combining rhythmic movement and storytelling. It also provided a great chance to learn from, and about, the Native American community.