In the sunshine and breeze of a perfect spring afternoon, crowds of students and visitors gathered at the Bema to participate in the College's 22nd annual Native American Pow-Wow Saturday.
The celebration began with the Grand Entry parade and the Invocation prayer lead by Jack Anquoe, an Oklahoma Kiowa and head singer of the Grey Horse Singers. Anquoe prayed for the afternoon's successful generation of good feelings as well as a safe return home for all the visitors and performers.
The Pow-Wow consisted of a six-hour show of exhibition and competitive dancing and a food and crafts fair on the Bema. A stream of trading booths displaying Native American edibles, beaded jewelry, drums, skins and clothing aligned the walkway leading to the performance ground.
Deanna Dick '96 from Tulsa, Okla. donned a vibrantly colored Cherokee tear dress, with fabric that was torn and sewn together -- a method employed by the five tribes of Georgia and North Carolina during their forced relocation to Oklahoma under former U.S. President Andrew Jackson, Dick said.
Dick danced the Southern traditional in the intertribals. Compared to the faster-paced Northern fancy and jingle dances, this style is characterized by slow, heavy steps.
Locke, a pre-eminent Lakota dancer and flute player from South Dakota was accompanied by Tchin, a Blackfeet/Narragansett educator, artist and flutist in playing a melodious rendition of the Goodlands love songs written in 1850.
Tchin, the pow-wow's master of ceremonies, introduced the love songs. "The songs are dedicated to brotherhood, sisterhood, and the love that transcends the limited way we all think," Tchin said.
A blanket dance was performed to honor the Thundercloud drummers of Black River Falls, Wisc. Donations to help cover the cost of the drummers return trip home were collected in the blanket.
Many of the participants and spectators said they had previously attended Pow-Wows across the nation in places like Colorado, North Dakota and New Mexico. There was a general consensus that the Dartmouth Pow-Wow, though smaller than most, demonstrates the same spirit and camaraderie akin to large-scale gatherings.
"The Pow-Wow is also an opportunity to show the Dartmouth community that Native American culture still exists, to give non-Natives a view outside popular culture of real people rather than symbols," said Bear Christensen '93, who was attending his fifth Dartmouth Pow-Wow.
Missy Damato, a resident of Windsor, Vt. attended the Pow-Wow with her family. "I'm grateful that in the area we live such an uplifting experience has been made available to my children," Damato said.
"I admire the honor which Native Americans find in their identity. The Pow-Wow encourages me to explore the customs of my own roots," she said.
Danielle Moore '95, a Native Americans at Dartmouth member, said the communal spirit conveyed by the celebration reflects the solidarity and fellowship of Dartmouth's Native American population.
The day ended with a community dinner of chili, squash soup, brown beans and wild berry shortcake on the Bema.
The Pow-Wow was sponsored by Native Americans at Dartmouth and the Native American Program.