American Indians celebrate and dance during the 21st annual Pow wow Saturday in Rose Arena
More than 100 American Indians from various tribes danced to the heart-thumping beat of drums and songs over the weekend at Rose Arena.
They dressed in elaborate regalia — outfits decorated with feathers, beads, headdresses and brightly-colored designs — while hundreds looked on at CMU’s 21st Annual Pow Wow.
“The powwow is a celebration,” said Joshua Hudson, a Mount Pleasant junior and president of the North American Indigenous Student Organization at CMU. “It’s a really good showcase of Native American culture.”
After the Grand Entry, the Indian National Anthem, or Flag song, was performed and University President George Ross gave a brief speech welcoming the attendees.
Shortly after, all guests were welcomed to the floor to participate in intertribal dancing.
Matthew Isaac danced for the Ojibwe tribe. He said many of the dancers have been doing it their entire lives.
“It’s kind of like a celebration of life. These dances feel really good,” Isaac said.
He said when the dancers enter the powwow circle, they feel a lot of strength.
This is not Fenton senior Tara Doyle’s first powwow.
Doyle, part American Indian, has attended many and said they make her proud of her heritage.
“I like that they dress, dance and do singing in a traditional style,” Doyle said.
Petoskey junior Sara Shawano, a member of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, described the powwow as a very social event.
“Having everyone here brings home a sense of family,” she said. “It’s colorful and beautiful, and it’s all there at once.”
While the tribes showed off their skills during various dancing and drumming competitions, more than a dozen vendors sold American Indian goods in the arena’s upper level.
They sold pots, jewelry, dream catchers, music and instruments, while food was sold on the ground level.
Benjamin Ramirez, associate professor of history, said powwows are social and ceremonial in nature.
“One major part of the powwow is the drum,” he said. “It’s considered the heartbeat of the nation.”
He said the Ojibwe (Chippewa), Odawa and Potawatomi tribes, also known as the Anishinaabe, or Three Fires, are the main tribes that attend, but all are welcome.
Hudson said Native American tribes from all over the U.S. and Canada attend the event each year.
He said powwows allow him to immerse himself in Native American traditions.
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