Pow-wow slated for the Green

by Joseph C. Scott | 5/8/98 5:00am

Native American dancing groups are coming from across the country this weekend for the 26th Annual Native Americans at Dartmouth Pow-wow.

According to Anna Tsouhlarakis '99, one of the Pow-wow's organizers, the Dartmouth Pow-wow is the second largest pow-wow event in the northeast. Tsouhlarakis said Dartmouth's event is the largest college-sponsored pow-wow in the East.

The Pow-wow consists of different dance competitions with various Native American groups, Tsouhlarakis said. This year, the Pow-wow will also feature an Iroquois social dancing group, which will integrate community and College spectators in the dancing.

If the weather holds, the Pow-wow will be held on the Green. If it rains, the celebration will be held in Thompson Arena.

"We're looking at the weather fronts, which say it will either rain or be really nice," Casey Sixkiller '00, a member of Native Americans at Dartmouth, said. He said the Pow-wow organizers will make a decision on Friday morning about the location.

Events at this weekend's Pow-wow include a free community dinner on Saturday, Native foods and Native arts and crafts.

Men's dancing contests include Fancy, Grassdance and Traditional dancing. Female competitions include Fancy, Jingle and Traditional dancing. There will also be competitions for children and "Tiny Tots."

The Pow-wow means different things to different students.

Sixkiller called it "a celebration of Native Americans at Dartmouth" and "a part of the history of Dartmouth."

Tsouhlarakis said the Pow-wow helps Native students "reassume ties with people back home." She said the College's large Native American population isanother reason for the celebration.

"It's a chance to open ourselves up to the community," she said.

Tsouhlarakis said the Pow-wow idea resides in the old Native American pow-wows.

Pow-wows were "times when tribes used to come together and trade, make friends and resume old friendships," Tsouhlarakis said. "That's basically what our Pow-wow is."

Other schools in the Northeast have pow-wows, Tsouhlarakis said, but "Dartmouth's is by far the largest."

Harvard has had a very small pow-wow the past few years, she said. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the University of New Hampshire and the University of Vermont at Montpelier also have pow-wows.

Prior to 1995, the Pow-wow events were held on the Bema. The Pow-wow was first held on the Green to celebrate the dedication of the Native American house. Concern over damage to the grass on the Green caused the College to move the event off the Green in 1996.

However, after a puppet performance in the fall of 1996 was held on the Green, NAD and other student groups protested the move. College officials then said the event would be allowed on the Green every year.

The Pow-wow events begin at noon on Saturday. Admission and parking are free.