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IU Seventh Annual Traditional Powwow celebrates Native American cultures

For Immediate Release Mar 28, 2018
A hoop dancer at the 2017 IU powwow.
The IU Annual Traditional Powwow features Native American dance sessions, singing, craft vendors, informational booths and food.IU Communications

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana University Seventh Annual Traditional Powwow, celebrating historical and contemporary Native American cultures, will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 7, at Dunn Meadow on the IU Bloomington campus.

The powwow, which attracts members of the Native American community from across the country, will feature traditional Native American dance sessions, singing, arts and crafts vendors, informational booths and food. Held outdoors for the second consecutive year, the event is hosted by the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, a program of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs. It is open to members of the IU community and the general public at no cost.

“The IU Annual Traditional Powwow is a welcoming event that combines a terrific educational opportunity with a rich cultural experience for people of all ages, whether on the IU campus or for those in the community who would like to learn more about Native American cultures,” said James Wimbush, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, dean of The University Graduate School and the Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership. “I am proud that IU continues to host such a unique event on its campus, and based on the exciting programming that has been put together, I think this year’s powwow will be another wonderful experience.”

From 11 a.m. to noon, the Indiana Raptor Center will put on a raptor show, sharing background on the birds, their uses and their meanings in contemporary Native American cultures. Throughout the powwow, attendees can visit vendors selling arts and crafts, including an Indian taco stand during lunch, and an activities tent with educational activities.

The powwow also features two dance sessions, from 1 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. Both the afternoon and evening sessions will begin with a grand entry. Tribal color guards bearing flags and eagle staffs of some of the tribes that are present will enter the arena together, along with dignitaries, tribal royalty and dance participants.

The sessions consist of both dance exhibitions and intertribal dancing, in which spectators are encouraged to join. During the afternoon grand entry, selected IU administrators and directors of IU Bloomington campus culture centers will be introduced. At the evening grand entry, Native American graduating seniors from all IU campuses are invited to be honored.

“Honoring the heritage of Native American people through the IU Annual Traditional Powwow has become a cherished event on the IU Bloomington campus,” said John Nieto-Phillips, IU associate vice president for the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, IU Bloomington vice provost for diversity and inclusion, and chief diversity officer. “The powwow brings together the campus, Native American and local communities in celebration of Native American cultures.”

Also among the scheduled activities are dance exhibitions from 5 to 7 p.m. by visiting powwow participants and Paso a Paso, an IU Latino student dance organization. The powwow will also have several informational vendors on hand, including a representative from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources who will be available to talk about Native American people being represented in Indiana state parks.

The head staff for the powwow includes Dylan Prescott, master of ceremonies; Marcus Winchester, arena director; Dana Warrington, head man; Michelle Reed, head lady; War Paint, host Northern drum; Cozad, host Southern drum; Ho-Chunk Station, invited Northern drum; and Iron Bear, host Southern drum.

“Each year, the IU Annual Traditional Powwow continues to grow in new directions, and for this year’s event in particular, we’ve placed an emphasis on connecting with people who are part of the tribes who once lived in Indiana,” said Nicky Belle, director of the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center. “Presenting this powwow to the IU campus and local residents, along with the Native community, is significant because it prominently displays a contemporary Native identity that is often ignored.”

Before the powwow, Richie Meyers of Oglala Lakota College – a member of IU’s First Nations Leadership Ambassador Council and the Oglala Sioux’s representative for IU’s Office of Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act – will give a lecture titled “Performing Native Identity: Indians in Social Media,” from 5 to 6 p.m. April 6 at the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology. At 6:30 p.m. that evening, Ho-Chunk Station will perform in front of Target at Bloomington’s College Mall. Both events are free and open to the public.

Media Contact

Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs

Elizabeth Blevins

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