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Leaf Home arrow Heritage arrow Heritage2 arrow Tribes gather for annual Pow-Wow
Tribes gather for annual Pow-Wow
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 09 May 2011

Tribes gather for annual Pow-Wow
By Barbara Richards
May 9, 2011

Members of over 50 Native American tribes gathered this weekend for the 39th annual Pow-Wow, during which dancers performed a special healing ceremony to celebrate women on Mother’s Day and also honored Cody Lavender ’10, a Native American student who died during his junior year at the College, according to Master of Ceremonies Alex Shepherd.

A significantly larger crowd than in recent years amassed on the Green on Sunday to watch Native American dances, eat traditional fry bread and learn about the culture and history of various tribes, Daryl Concha ’11, a member of the Pow-Wow committee, said. Due to inclement weather on Saturday, the Pow-Wow was hosted at its rain location in Thompson Arena.

“We had a lot more people come than in past years,” she said. “For many it was their first Pow-Wow on the Green.”

 The Pow-Wow — which is entirely student-run — is an opportunity to share Native American culture at the College with a wide variety of students and community members, Concha said.

“The committee put in a lot of hard work and we’re grateful for a great turn-out,” Concha said. “We’d like to keep having Pow-Wow on the Green since it’s closer to the center of campus — it’s vital to share that experience with students who wouldn’t otherwise know about the Native American experience at Dartmouth.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Native American Program at the College, and many Native American former students were on campus, according to Concha.

Head man dancer Craig Merrick and head woman dancer Erika Chase led the grand entry — during which all the tribes entered the arena — on both days, according to the event’s website. Participants were clad in feathers, shawls, beads, bells, furs, bones and colorful tassels as a part of their respective tribe’s regalia. Women wore feathers in their hair while many men donned large headdresses.

Native American vendors selling food and clothes surrounded the area where people danced wearing. In the dance area, entire families — including children, infants and elderly couples — danced together.

Joe Naeem ’11, who attended the Pow-Wow, said he was impressed by the energy and excitement in the air.

The two-day dance competition was divided into categories of juniors, men and women, according to the Pow-Wow’s website. according to the website.

After dancers in each category performed, participants could partake in social inter-tribal dances. The Pow-Wow also featured a drumming competition each day. Participants in each competition were eligible to receive prizes of drums and costumes worth hundreds of dollars, 

The majority of tribes represented are based on the East Coast and in Canada, but the head staff of tribes from other regions were also represented, Concha said.

The presence of Native Americans from diverse areas of the country was evident during the dance competitions, Morgan Blackburn ’13, a member of Native Americans at Dartmouth, said.

“You really get to see the many different styles of dancing when tribes from the North and the South come together to compete,” she said.

The Pow-Wow also presented an opportunity for a wide variety of students to partake in the festivities, according to Blackburn. “My favorite part was the inter-tribals, when people from the stands could come down and dance,” she said.

Unlike in previous years when NAD selected a single president for the Pow-Wow, the organization selected two co-presidents, Dylan Brown ’13 and Montana Wilson ’13 this year, Concha said.

Brown and Wilson declined to comment for this article.

The Pow-Wow is funded through the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, according to Concha.


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