::Going to a PowWow - What It Meant to Me
By: Michaele Glenn::
* The Powwow is the Native Americans way of getting together meeting, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships and making new ones.
* The Powwow is the Native Americans way of renewing the old ways and to preserve a rich heritage.
* The Powwow is the venue that approximately 90% of all Native Americans attend or participate. They are held year-round around the country even Alaska!
* Native American Powwow celebrations help to maintain some continuity of traditions.
And what could a Native American powwow mean to a non-Native American? Heres my little story (although there is some Indian ancestry).
My parents lived in southern Delaware and once a year The Delaware Nanticoke Powwow is held. My husband, daughter and I would go down for the weekend, go to the powwow and we all had a GREAT time!
We would watch the dances which varied by tribe and by dress. We watched tribal chiefs, princesses, elders, organizers and all the dancers enter the circle carrying various regalia items and the U.S. flag and tribal flags and other flags too, all carried by Native American U.S. Veterans. This is called the Grand Entry.
Wed watch the men dance, the women dance and the children dance. We listened to the singers without them, there would be no dancing. And, when I think about it, the songs were in the different languages of the various singers yet another way to preserve unique tribal traditions.
The rhythm of the drums resounded like a heartbeat! The ceremonial dress was magnificent and the dances were explained and that helped everyone understand what we were watching.
We would visit booths, eat A LOT of food and watch more dances. Walk around, look at crafts, books, listen to music, eat again, At the end of the powwow, everybody came together in a circle and all who wanted to could join the circle and dance the Round Dance. Everyone was interspersed with each otherIndian, non-Indian, Indian, etc. I was moved, inspired, and my daughter who was about 2 or 3 had the time of her life! I felt welcomed, information was freely shared, and questions were answered.
The last time we ever got together socially with my parents before my mother died of cancer was at that powwow in 1989 she died in 1990. It was our last chance to renew ties, make memories, dance, laugh, and sing before hospitals, chemotherapy and hospice.
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