IU Traditional Powwow continues to grow as lead event for Native American Heritage Month

  • Oct. 18, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Native Americans will gather Oct. 26 and 27 at Indiana University Bloomington to share history, culture and arts at a traditional powwow.

The Indiana University Third Annual Traditional Powwow will begin at 11 a.m. each day at Willkie Auditorium, 150 N. Rose Ave. It also will serve as the lead event for IU Bloomington's observance of Native American Heritage Month.

In advance of the powwow, Clyde Ellis, professor of history and Distinguished Scholar at Elon University, will present the lecture, "This Is a Good Way, Get Up and Dance: A History of Modern Powwow Culture."

Ellis' talk will begin at 4:30 p.m. Oct. 24 in De Vault Gallery of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, 416 N. Indiana Ave. A reception will follow. The lecture is co-sponsored by IU First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, the Department of History in the IU College of Arts and Sciences and the Mathers Museum.

Other events in November will include lectures and workshops. Most are free and open to the public.

This year's IU Powwow has grown in size and scope, and participants are coming from across the country and even from Canada. In past years, the event has attracted several hundred people from across the Midwest.

"Our goal is for the IU Powwow to become the largest powwow in the Big Ten and one of the most prominent powwows in the Midwest," said Nicholas Belle, a doctoral student in anthropology from Long Valley, N.J., and Native American programs developer for First Nations Educational and Cultural Center. "We are encouraging everyone to come to this year’s powwow, make some new friends and plan on returning to next year’s powwow."

The Northern host drum will be Brave Heart, also known as Chante T’inza,  from Pine Ridge, S.D., which performs music from the Oglala nation. Their latest album is "That's How We Roll" on the Bear Tracks label.

The Southern host drum will be Cozad from Hominy, Okla. It is a Grammy Award-winning Kiowa drum group that was founded by Leonard Cozad Sr. in the 1930s and consists of his descendants. They performed on the 2001 Grammy winner for Best Native American Music Album, "Gathering of Nations Pow Wow." Their most recent album, "California Pow Wow," won the 2005 Native American Music Award for Best Historical Recording. Cozad is a five-time winner of the Southern Challenge drum championship at the Gathering of Nations and was the host Southern drum at the inaugural National Museum of the American Indian powwow in Washington, D.C., in 2002.

Chaske Hotain, originally from Sioux Valley, Manitoba, Canada, is the event's invited drum.

Terry Fiddler, a Lakota from Red Wing, Minn., who has won multiple dance competitions, including at the Gathering of Nations, will emcee the event. The arena director will be Darrell Goodwill, a member of the Dakota/Lakota nations from Window Rock, Ariz., who is an eight-time world champion in grass dancing and a member of the American Indian Dance Theater.

Head man dancer will be Isaiah Stewart, a member of the Oglala Lakota nation from Lawrence, Kan., and a student at the University of Kansas. Head woman dancer will be Charlie Cuny, of Kyle, S.D., an Oglala Sioux tribal member who was a contestant in the 2013 Miss Native American USA. She is a student at Haskell Indian Nations University.

The powwow will feature American Indian arts and crafts as well. A highlight will be performances by drum groups and singers and the ceremonial "grand entries" representing tribes from across the United States and Canada each day at 1 p.m. and at 7 p.m. Oct. 26.

"Gourd dancing," which honors veterans and community elders, will take place each day at 11 a.m. before grand entry. A meal will be served at noon each day, free of charge. Crafts will be available for purchase.

"Specials" at this year’s powwow include a two-person handdrum contest and jingle dress and northern traditional dance contests. These will take place at the IU Powwow as well as at one of the event hotels, Bloomington's Holiday Inn.

"Powwows originated from the development of inter-tribal culture, where people share their experience of being native in the United States," said Brian Gilley, director of the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center and an associate professor of anthropology. "They present a level of solidarity among the multi-tribal populations who have disparate political and social agendas. It becomes a meeting point for all of those different cultures."

People attending their first powwow should be aware of basic etiquette, which is mostly simple respect and common sense. For example, ask permission before taking photos of dancers, singers or other participants.

A dancer's clothing is a treasure, an expression of history, with some regalia handed down through generations. Always ask permission to touch regalia.

The powwow is being presented by the Native American Graduate Student Association, the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, the IU Student Association and IU First Year Experience.

Other Native American Heritage Month events will include:

  • Native American Beading Workshop with Belle at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 2. All beading materials and instruction will be provided free of charge, but registration is required. To register, contact the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center at fnecc@indiana.edu or 812-855-4814.
  • Native American Beading Workshop with Master Artisan Marilyn Cleveland, a Cherokee and White Mountain Apache, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 19, also at the Mathers Museum. Lunch will be served at noon. Registration is required for this workshop; contact fnecc@indiana.edu or 812-855-4814.
  • Western Cherokee Double Wall Basketry Weaving Workshop with John W. Johnson, IU associate professor emeritus of folklore and a member of the Cherokee nation, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 10, also at the Mathers Museum. Lunch will be served at noon. Registration is required; contact fnecc@indiana.edu or 812-855-4814.
  • Mathers Museum Director Jason Baird Jackson will teach an IU Lifelong Learning course that explores the arts and cultures of Native North America from 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 12 and 19. He will draw upon his collaborations with contemporary native communities and make special use of the Mathers Museum collections that are not on public display. The course costs $50. Registration is available online.

Related Links

Darrell Goodwill

Darrell Goodwill

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Media Contacts

George Vlahakis

Nicholas Belle

  • IU First Nations Educational and Cultural Center
  • Office 812-855-4814
  • fnecc@indiana.edu

Brian Gilley