Here it is Wednesday again! Today we would like to take you to somewhere very special, very American. Today we take you to Chemawa Indian School.
This is the oldest Indian school in the U.S. This past Saturday they held a Pow Wow. A pow wow is a social gathering of North American’s Native people. Over the years pow wow’s have evolved. In old western movies the word pow wow was often used to describe a gathering to talk things out. The modern day pow wow is generally held for a specific event where both Native American’s and non-Native American people meet to honor, dance, drum, sing and socialize as they honor American Indian culture.
Located just 10 miles from us is Chemawa Indian School. This last Saturday Chemawa held a pow wow in honor of the school’s 130th birthday. Roy and I took two of our granddaughter’s and their dog, Mazy, to the pow wow.
This was not the girl’s first pow wow. Roy grew up in Montana and had many Native American friends. He holds fond memories of attending pow wow’s at the local Indian Reservation, Fort Belknap. He has taken the girls to a couple of other pow wow’s where they enjoyed the festivities… well one would and one would complain it was too loud! This pow wow was my first one! I have been out of town or busy for their other trips. Chemawa holds four pow wow’s a year.
Because of the winter weather, the festivities are held inside in the school gym.
There were a few vendors outside, that the wind, rain and snow was trying to ruin… Inside the gym, around the edge were venders selling a variety of Native American wares. We bought some salmon, some jewelry and of course feathers… for all three girls.
In the center of the gym is a stand where an announcer conducts the pow wow from. There is a center area designated for dancing. Around that area are various drum groups. They each have a name. The announcer does a role call, and the drum circles drum their answer.
The announcer is a graduate of the very school and is now on staff there. He announces the grand entry is to begin. The drum circles begin their drumming, the singers the singing and first enters the veterans of various foreign wars, most baring flags. The crowd stands to honor them. Following them comes princesses from various tribes, dancers, junior princesses, and other people,dressed in bright, colorful traditional clothing.
Here is a video of the grand entry…. it is not the best quality. We were on a bleacher, and as the entry continued, the crowds in the bleachers joined in with dancing or stomping… so everything was shaking… especially my little camera! The feeling there was electric! But not just electric but also reverent. I am not sure how it can be both… but it was.
This next video shows what took place next. The drum circles. They would call each circle’s name, and they would drum and maybe chant.
Next the dancing started! They would announce what dance, and who could dance. Like the shawl dance, all those with shawls would go dance. Or the jingle dance, all those who had jingles on their clothing were invited to dance.
Next the all dance, all were welcomed to dance. Last year granddaughter number one was totally into dancing, number two would not.
This year number one would not dance, but number two thought she would like to. So she, Mazy Dog and Papa Roy went to join the procession. It is very loud on the floor, being surrounded by many drum circles! Mazy and granddaughter number 2 were not sure about that! But Papa Roy loved it! I do believe he was the only person at the pow wow dancing in Dutch farmer shoes!
That was our outing to share with you this week! We would totally encourage you to attend a pow wow, should you have the opportunity! It is enjoyable as well as enlightening to a bit of the Native American’s Herritage.