Thursday, 28 July 2016

Pow Wow Time!



A couple of days ago My Rare One and I went to a traditional pow wow held in conjunction with Edmonton's K-Days celebration. The pow wow dancers, drummers and singers came from Alberta's Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation and other Treaty 6 First Nations in the province. We watched for about 4 hours and had a great time!

Have you ever been to a pow wow? It's been about 25 years since I last attended one in Manitoba at Sagkeeng First Nation north of Winnipeg. I was long overdue to go again. And My Rare One had never been to a pow wow before and was very keen to experience all the sights and sounds.

The drumming groups with their powerful pow wow drums and traditional singing were uniformly excellent! I loved seeing the older and younger men sitting together at the drums, all clearly having a wonderful time. You should have seen the look of pure joy on some of those kids' faces as they drummed and sang as accepted equals with the other men in their circle!


[Photo credit:
Greg Southam / Postmedia]

The dancing and the dancers' regalia were pretty spectacular too. There was every style of regalia and every kind of dance, except there was no hoop dancing (at least not on the day we attended). The dancing was divided by age group, gender and kind of dance. In between each category, there was always an "inter-tribal" round dance where anyone was welcome to participate, whether or not they were in regalia or street clothes or were pow wow dancers or members of the audience.

My favourites have always been the traditional women grass dancers -- so dignified and regal as they move with small steps, caressing Mother Earth with their feet, slowly dancing like the centre of calm and strength in the swirl of energetic male dancers, jingle dancers and shawl dancers.

My Rare One's favourites are the jingle dancers, young girls and women festooned with small metal cones on their regalia which make a joyful and rhythmic tinkling sound as they energetically dance.

To conclude this post, here's a tiny jingle dancer for your delight!


[Photo credit:
Greg Southam / Edmonton Journal]

56 comments:

LL Cool Joe said...

The day things aren't divide by gender will be a day I will do a pow wow dance myself.

I'm glad you had a great time! Sounds like it was a load of fun to watch.

anne marie in philly said...

I have never been to a pow wow, but it looks VERY interesting!

Mark said...

That IS a tiny jingle dancer. I've never been to a pow wow myself but they sound like a lot of fun. I don't think I could even find one in the UK. Maybe soe time in the future I'll be afforded the chance.

Marie Smith said...

Beautiful photos. I am pleased that our country is beginning to address the concerns of our Indigenous which our white culture caused. We cannot move fast enough on the issues in my opinion!

Anna of the Mutton Years said...

No, I've never been. We don't tend to have them in Sussex, England. Very interesting. Love the photos and your write up. Thank you

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i love a good pow wow. that is the cutest jingle dancer.

Cheryl said...

I have been to Powwows and I think they are very fun. As a young kid, I lived in Flagstaff, AZ that hosted an All Indian Powwow every year that took over the whole town. I could look out the front window of our house and watch the dancers. In 1980 Flagstaff quit hosting the event because the influx of visitors to the town was so huge that is was no longer manageable.

Glad you and your Rare One had fun. The little jingle dancer is super cute.

Sylvie D said...

The little girl is sooo cute! I have not been to a Pow Wow in years and after reading this, I want to go again!

JACKIESUE said...

she's adorable.sorta looks like abby..going to a pow wow is on my bucket list.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I have never been to one of these and I would LOVE to! That little one at the end...soooooo cute. And your line "caressing Mother Earth with their feet". Profound. Beautiful. It gave me goosebumps.

Leeanna Henderson said...

Pow Wows are so cool! We had one in the town square about 7 years ago. Before I had my knee surgery. It was so colorful and full of tradition. I miss seeing that.

Susan said...

It's been eons since I was at a pow wow and I can still remember it clearly. It was a wonderful and powerful time. LOVE that tiny jingle dancer! Now there is attitude!

Debi Livsey said...

Spectacular indeed! A friend passed many years back, and the hoop dancers honoured her spirit! I love how this moves something? Inside, don't you? Thank you for this wonderful memory xo

brewella deville said...

I went to the Taos Pueblo pow wow in the mid-eighties. It was incredible. I met a man and his teenage son who were from Arizona and had come up to participate in the dancing. I asked for permission to take pictures while they were getting ready, and we chatted for a while. He had an older son who was a Marine stationed about half an hour from where I lived at the time. I suppose some might think that his pride in his ancestors and his culture and his pride in his son serving in the U.S. military would be incongruous, but it's something that I've thought about many times since then.

mrsduncanmahogany said...

I love the jingle dancers - beautiful sounds. Pow wows have incredible energy don't they?!

Kay G. said...

Wish I could go to a powwow!great photos!

DEZMOND said...

First time I hear of it, but it looks delightful!

Miss Val's Creations said...

I have never been to a powwow but would love it! The drums and singing are simply awesome. The little gal is too adorable!

Guillaume said...

As a child I used to love disguising myself as an Indian (as we called them then) and play as if I was one of them. The Pow Wow was also the name of an alcohol free disco for teenagers below 18 in Chicoutimi. I went there once when I was 17. Alcohol free places are rubbish.

Birdie said...

Beautiful costumes! I would love to go. Are you part First Nation?

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Hi Birdie -- My paternal ancestors have been kicking around North America for nearly 300 years and yes, we managed to acquire some native blood somewhere along the line. Insofar as I can tell, our native ancestry came in during the early 1800s, probably from the northern Ontario region around Ottawa, simultaneously with our direct Scottish ancestry. So I suspect there's likely a Hudson's Bay Company fur trading origin. However, many generations later, the native connection is now so remote that I certainly cannot consider myself significantly First Nations in heritage.

Elsie Amata said...

I would love to go to a powwow. What a unique and interesting experience! Looks like you had lots of fun with the Rare One too. And that tiny jingle dancer is just too adorable for words!!!

Ol'Buzzard said...

My wife and I spent seven years teaching in the Athabaskan village of Minto in Alaska. The Athabaskans believe that songs have power. There are new songs and old songs sung at the potlatch and each has its own special dance.

the Ol'Buzzard

Magaly Guerrero said...

Every time you speak of the traditional women grass dancers I wish I could see them. We used to dance for the health of the fields, when I lived in the Dominican Republic. But the dance had no name I can remember. We called it all kinds of stuff: harvest dance, waking dance, rice dance, coffee dance... Only women and girls danced it. And it was glorious. Our attired wasn't like the yumminess you've shared with us, but I bet the energy was just as strong.

Missy George said...

I have never been to a pow wow..So colorful..Love the little jingle dancer...They start young..looks like a fun time..glad you got to go..

Judy said...

It has been a several years since we were at a Pow Wow and then last year, we learned of one in our area. It was great! Such fun to see the little ones ...

mistress maddie said...

Nope ...never been to a pow wow. But why did I think it had to do with a drinking lunch with the gals?

Fearsome Beard said...

That looks fun.
I'll never forget moving from the east coast US where I grew up to Seatlle and while living there traveling into western Canada. The embrace of the native culture was new and fascinating to me. It's a gift. I only wish the southeastern US was so enlightened. I'll shut up now before I step up on to a soapbox.

Jim said...

Looks and sounds fascinating, Debra. I would like to experience one.
Like you, I too have First Nations (Mi'Kmaq) in my distant ancestry and also from a union with my Scottish ancestry in PEI.

Jono said...

We have an Ojibwe (Grand Portage) pow wow coming up in a week and a half. Always fun to go to.

Magic Love Crow said...

I haven't been to a pow wow in about 5 years! I have to see if there is any going on around where I live. I took some amazing pictures at the last one I was at. Did you dance Debra? I always love joining in. The little jingle dancer is so cute! Please write a post about the agates! That is so cool! Did you keep any? $1.00 per pound! WOW! I will give you a $1.00! LOL!

bj said...

We have, indeed, been to several of these amazing gatherings...their dress, jewelry and dances are so so delightful..and that little one...about the cutest thing I've ever seen....glad ya'll had a good time..

The Captain said...

Sounds amazing. I love traditional festivals, there aren't enough in my neck of the woods.

Workingdan said...

When I hear the words pow wow it usually means it's time to pass the doobie around the circle. Who knew it actually is an Indian dance ritual? Learn something new every day!

Lynn said...

My ex-hairdresser has a fraction of Native American heritage and he is heavily into Pow Wows and the competitive dancing. He wins all the time. So I went to one Pow Wow that was held at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia (near my house) and he draped his wife's prayer shawl around me and insisted I dance in the circle with him. It was cool to do that. And according to Ancestry.com's DNA test, I have 1% Native American blood, so I guess I was slightly entitled. :)

dbs said...

Would love to see that. I had to miss my one chance to do a sweat once and I still regret it.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

It's been a long time since I've been to a pow wow, and I've been to one or two in your fine country. I can feel the spirit, and I'm energized by it. That little jingler is darn cute too.

Crystal Collier said...

Awesome. I went to a Pow Wow two years ago, but it wasn't nearly this awesome.

Fundy Blue said...

I would love to experience something like this, Debra! So glad that you and your Rare One had a great time!

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

What a great Pow Wow. I have never been. Love seeing the cutie dancing as well.

Ramzu Zahini said...

Pow wow is a thing?!
I am amazed :)

Kendra Anderson said...

I've never had the opportunity to attend a pow wow but would it's definitely on the bucket list.
I'm from South Africa and such activities are uncommon this end of the world. Loved the pictures though, that little girl is adorable.

bill lisleman said...

I suspect the little jingle dancer would be a hit with kids everywhere.
Great regalia

baili said...

wow video is short but really sensational , i love such occasions they bring warmth back in blood ,wish can have close look really

lady M said...

Love that little jingle dancer - that's the sweetest picture I have seen in a long time.

CraveCute said...

This sounds amazing and the photos are wonderful. Such beautiful clothing and embellishments on the native costumes. The jingle dancer is adorable! Our family went to a Pow Wow when I was just a kid, it was a Pawnee tribe. I don't remember a great deal about it other than the drums and the dancing.

Dr. Theda said...

Wonderful photos, dear Lady Debra.... it has been many years since we went to such a gathering... The Town Creek (Mound-Builders) were about an hour away... and the celebration in Waxhaw...
... We replied to your question of "Dr. Theda" at your comment at the Crypt...
a great weekend to you and yours....
Hello from Marshville....

The Happy Whisk said...

When I lived on the east coast we went all the time to pow wows. They were great fun.

Hindustanka said...

Awww.. That girl is the sweetest thing ever! Thanks for sharing this cultural event with us Debra. Please, I would like to contact you through email, need your advise))

Margaret Benbow said...

What a beautiful description of a powerful event. Thank you, Debra.
Great pictures, and the tiny jingle dancer having her
place in the sun too!

miruspeg said...

Great photos and video Debra!
How lucky are you to go to such and event.
Take care
Peggy xxxx

Empty Nest Insider said...

I've also never been to a pow wow, but I would like the opportunity. I agree that the little jingle dancer
is adorable! I'm still laughing at the comment you made on my blog about "high hair!"

Julie

AntiquityTravelers said...

I have always wanted to go to a pow wow, but have never been. I grew up in the coast of the Pacific NW where there is a lot of first nation heritage. I find the artwork and traditions beautiful

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Really great photos. We have the Lummi Nation here in NW Washington - and several others - but Lummi is closest - and their PowWow is fabulous. Right now there is a big canoe journey the is going from Northern Vancouver Island to just south of Seattle and groups meet the journey and have celebrations all along the way - a great way to learn more of our history.

Veronica Roth said...

That must have been some amazing fun!

Jeanne said...

This was a marvelous write-up about a Pow Wow! We going annually to a Pow Wow - quite often taking friends to experience the event. There is nothing quite like the friendship and unity found at one of these gatherings. :o)