Cleo, Joe and I are at the 10th Annual Region of the Moundbuilders Pow Wow Newark, Ohio. Shawn Reilly hosts this yearly event. It is a small inter-tribal and general public is welcome.
This is our first outing since I discovered you have to plug the RV into itself for the generator to produce working power. W00t!We had air-conditioning and a fan. Coffee in the morning, air at night, and a shower after a long day of dancing.
What is a powwow? It is an event that brings many nations of Native Americans and Métis (multi-racial) together to dance. The dances we do honor our ancestors, veterans, or someone who has experienced an extraordinary deed. Our dances are prayers.
There will be storytelling, flute playing, exhibition dancing. The MC will announce the type of dance and tell a generic story. Each dancer will dance their story and by listening to the MC commentary you will begin to distinguish the tales being told by each dancer.
Regalia is worn to dance, not a costume. To refer to a dancers clothing as a costume is an insult. Many pieces of a person’s regalia may be antique, passed down from great grandparents. It is polite to ask to take a photo, it is not acceptable to touch a person’s regalia.
My favorite dance, which I am too old to dance, is open to all children under the age of 12. If they do not have their own, a plastic bag will be provided for them to dance. It is called the ‘candy dance’. Someone donates lots (10 pounds or more) of dance candy. This Someone will toss the dance candy on the ground all around inside the powwow circle. The rules are enforced and simple. 1) do not pick up any candy when you enter dance ring. Wait patiently to begin dancing. 2) Dance while the drum plays. 3) When the drum stops playing, pick up as much candy as possible and put in the bag. 4) When drum begins playing, dance. These rules will continue until all the candy is picked up and the ‘candy dance’ is finished. Children should share dance candy with the adult(s) that brought them.
I will cover many other dance styles and regalia in future posts. Grass Dance, traditional cloth, fancy shawl, fancy men, traditional men, the Grand Opening and closing of the powwow circle are to come.
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