Native Americans to host annual Pow-Wow this weekend

by Khalil Ayvar | 5/11/01 5:00am

When feathers, drums and a dance arbor appear on the Green tomorrow, Dartmouth will know it is ready to welcome one of its unique spring traditions -- the Pow-wow.

Since 1972, the Native American Program has hosted an annual Native Americans at Dartmouth Pow-wow, which has grown to be the second largest such event in the Northeast.

Alumni, students, native dancers, vendors and drums from near and far will come for the two-day event to celebrate Native American tradition.

The History

The first Dartmouth Pow-wows were held near Storr's Pond, or in Alumni Hall in cases of inclement weather, and were visited by relatively few spectators, most of whom maintained an apprehensive distance from the festivities.

Since then, the size and popularity of the event has increased tremendously, outgrowing its original location and the BEMA.

The event eventually won the right to celebrate on the Green in 1997 after a successful student battle and petition to the administration.

In its current location, the Pow-wow has become even more visible and hence popular than ever before, with some considering it as much of a Dartmouth tradition as the Homecoming bonfire and Winter Carnival snow sculptures on the Green.

In past years, there have been Hawaiian, Alaskan, Aztec and Mayan dancers in addition to the more traditional Pow-wow tribal styles.

"The Pow-wow gives us a sense of purpose and community," said Cody Harjo '04, Pow-wow chair.

She said people have come to "expect [the Dartmouth Pow-wow] as a College tradition, like Green Key."

Harjo and some other Native American students said that the Pow-wow is "open and welcoming to everybody," and that it is intended to be a "social gathering ... for everyone to enjoy."

Arvina Martin '02 described the Pow-wow as an opportunity to "dance, eat, sing, have fun."

This Year's Details

Running continuously from the Grand Entry at noon on both tomorrow and Sunday to the closing ceremonies at 6:00 p.m., the Pow-wow will take place on the Green.

Thompson Arena will be the rain location.

Four or five native drums, of both northern and southern singing styles, are expected to sing for the dancers, in addition to the host drum, the Yellow Jacket Singers of Durango, Co.

There will be competition dances in a number of categories, including men's grass dancing, men's and women's traditional dancing, women's jingle dress dancing and men's and women's fancy dancing, in addition to junior categories for children.

Intertribal songs are open for all dancers and spectators to participate in, and students are welcome, regardless of their level of experience.

There will be many vendors set up around the dance arena, selling a variety of crafts and materials, as well as frybread, a traditional Native American treat.

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