Indiana University Bloomington

IU Traditional Powwow is lead event for Native American Heritage Month

  • Oct. 27, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

The Indiana University Fourth Annual Traditional Powwow will begin at 11 a.m. Nov. 1 and 2 in Alumni Hall at the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. It also will serve as the lead event for IU Bloomington's observance of Native American Heritage Month.

The Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs and the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center are presenting the event. Other supporters include the Native American Graduate Student Association and the American Indian Center of Indiana.

Another major highlight of the special month will be the visit by multi-instrumental musical performer Ed Kabotie, a member of the Hopi nation from Santa Clara Pueblo, N.M. He is a drummer with hip-hop band Summit Dub Squad, and a guitarist with the "Nu-Native" band Twin Rivers and another band, Los Coyotes.

Kabotie will speak at noon Nov. 13 as part of the Native American Graduate Student Association Luncheon Speaker Series at the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, 712 E. Eighth St. He also will present a lecture at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, 416 N. Indiana Ave. He will present a free concert at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 in the Fine Arts Auditorium.

Two pre-powwow lectures also are planned.

  • Jessica Bardill, assistant professor of English and an expert on indigenous literatures of the United States, will speak on the topic, "Narrating Relations: Indigenous and Scientific Ways of Knowing." Her talk will begin at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30 at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, 416 N. Indiana Ave. A reception will follow at the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, 712 E. Eighth St., from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • On Oct. 31, Clyde Ellis, professor of history and Distinguished Scholar at Elon University, will present the lecture, "Get Up and Dance: The Evolution of Modern Powwow Culture." His talk will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, 423 N. Fess St.

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

Each year, the IU Powwow has grown in size and scope, and participants are coming from across the country and even from Canada. The event typically attracts hundreds of people from across the Midwest.

The Northern host drum will be Battle River Singers from Red Lake, Minn., who have been called one of the most original singing groups on the powwow trail, blending traditional styles with a contemporary approach.

The Southern host drum will be the Wisconsin Dells Singers from Prairie du Sac, Wis. All are members of the Ho-Chunk nation and the Bear clan. Ho Chunk Station, also based in Lyndon Station, Wis., 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 Nicky Belle, an IU student from Bloomington, Ind., who is affiliated with the Standing Buffalo Dakota nation.

Invited dancers this year will include Denny Medicine Bird, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma, from Jones, Okla.; Buffy Simmons, a member of the Choctaw nation and a student at Rose State College from Shawnee, Okla.; Darrell Hill, a member of the Oneida and Menominee tribes from Milwaukee, Wis.; and Grace Pushetonequa, a member of the Meskwaki tribe from Tama, Iowa.

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 7:30 p.m. Nov. 1.

A meal will be served at noon each day and dinner at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 1, both free of charge. Crafts will be available for purchase. The American Indian Center of Indiana will be providing free blood pressure and glucose screenings.

There will be a "specials" event featuring men's Northern traditional dancing, which will be held in honor of Graham "Teed" Howard, a Brown County resident who has been involved in area powwow activities for many years. It will take place during the Saturday evening session.

"Powwows originated from the development of intertribal 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 multitribal 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.

Other Native American Heritage Month events will include:

  • A talk by Christina Snyder, associate professor of history and American studies at IU, at 12:45 p.m. Nov. 6 at the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center. It is part of the Native American Graduate Student Association Luncheon Speaker Series.
  • Native American Beading Workshop with Master Artisan Marilyn Cleveland, a Cherokee and White Mountain Apache, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 8, also at the cultural center. Lunch will be served at noon. Registration is required for this workshop; contact fnecc@indiana.edu or 812-855-4814.
  • A free screening at 3 p.m. Nov. 10 of the movie "Running Brave" at the IU Cinema. Following the movie, there will be a Q&A with the subject of the film, Billy Mills, and the actor-director who portrayed him, IU's own Robby Benson. 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Tokyo Olympics, when Mills won the gold medal. His foundation, Running Strong for American Indian Youth, helps Native American young people tackle complex challenges that stem from years of oppression and poverty.
  • Cherokee Basketry Weaving Workshop with John W. Johnson, IU associate professor emeritus of folklore and a member of the Cherokee nation, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 10, also at First Nations Educational and Cultural Center. Lunch will be served at noon. Registration is required; contact fnecc@indiana.edu or 812-855-4814.
  • An Indian Taco Sale from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov 17 at the cultural center.

Related Links

This year's powwow again will feature much dancing by those wearing colorful clothing and regalia.

This year's powwow again will feature much dancing by those wearing colorful clothing and regalia.

Print-Quality Photo

Last year's event attracted several hundred people from across the Midwest.

Last year's event attracted several hundred people from across the Midwest.

Print-Quality Photo

Media Contacts

George Vlahakis

  • IU Communications
  • Office 812-855-0846
  • Cell 812-345-1500
  • vlahakis@iu.edu
  • IU Inc.

Nicky Belle

IU First Nations Educational and Cultural Center

  • Office 812-855-2689
  • fnecc@indiana.edu