College celebrates 29th Pow-wow

by Khalil Ayvar | 5/14/01 5:00am

As the drums sang their last songs and the dancers carried the flags out of the dance circle, Dartmouth's 29th Annual Pow-wow concluded yesterday in Thompson Arena.

Due to a 70 percent chance of rain on Saturday -- which ended up pouring down in the late afternoon -- and chilly, gusty weather predicted for Sunday morning, the Pow-wow was held indoors at Thompson Arena both days.

Pow-wow Chair Cody Harjo '04 said the indoor arrangements were meant to be "more comfortable for the dancers and audience."

Arvina Martin '02 said the turnout was "less than last year, because it was way the heck out here [in Thompson]."

Relatively few of the spectators were Dartmouth students.

Last year's pow-wow took place one day in Thompson and one day on the Green, the latter attracting many more students because of its more central and conspicuous location.

Dancers and vendors from all around the Northeast, Canada and further west all gathered in the hockey arena, sharing their culture with an audience of local and out-of-state spectators.

The Grand Entry at noon each day brought the flags of three nations into the dance circle, each borne by veterans of their respective countries: the American flag, the Canadian flag and the Eagle Staff representing the Native American nation, and the first flags that flew long before Columbus.

Throughout the dancing, intertribal songs were interspersed with honor songs and competition songs, as well as other social songs. Intertribal songs were open to audience members as well as regular outfitted dancers.

Among those honored with various honor songs over the course of the weekend were veterans of all countries, graduating seniors, the Native American students at Dartmouth -- "the hope and future of our people," said the emcee -- and all mothers, on Sunday, which was Mother's Day.

Vendors sold a wide variety of Native American crafts, materials, clothing, food, trinkets, tapes and CDs, beautiful jewelry and other items, from many different tribes and geographic regions, including Canadian and Incan stalls.

Both days saw several dance competitions in varying styles, ranging from Tiny Tots -- toddlers in dance regalia beginning at an early age -- to men's and women's traditional and fancy dance categories, all judged by Native American students and other invited dancers and guests. Winners were announced at the conclusion of Sunday's Pow-wow.

"These were the best quality dancers we've ever had," Harjo said.

The Native Americans at Dartmouth (NAD) also pulled in some well known drums, including Yellow Jacket -- the Host Drum -- and four others -- Mystic River, Old Point, Iron River and Windy Grass -- who rotated turns to sing for the dancers and competed themselves in a drum competition judged by the Host Drum.

The Yellow Jacket singers came from near Durango, Co. to be the Host Drum at the Pow-wow.

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