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Old 09-27-2005, 12:22 PM   #1
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Powwow provides students with lesson on American Indian culture

By Karin Grunden/Tribune-Star

For a few minutes, all 30 of Mrs. Bovair's students sat in awe.

No one, it seemed, had enough nerve to get up from the long, wooden benches. The third-graders watched sheepishly on Friday as American Indian women and children danced around a drum, listening to the announcer plead for group participation.

"Boys and girls, come join us," Larry Grigsby urged, standing at a microphone on the grounds of Vigo County Conservation Club.

Finally, Anthony Vore, a freckled-faced 9-year-old, jumped to his feet with Bovair. The red-haired boy in a camouflage outfit joined women in buckskin who danced during an education day on Woodland Indians.

Before long, his Montezuma Elementary classmates began pouring from their seats to join in.

Jamie Turney lifted his son, Jessey, out of a wheelchair, holding him in his arms as they danced, too. A few stragglers, less eager to participate, followed slowly behind.

Nearby, four American Indian men sat under a camouflage tarp topped with cedar branches. The four beat on a drum and sang as the children hopped, danced and twirled.

Vore spun round and round as Pamela Gresham fluttered in a shimmery silver and turquoise outfit, her moccasins tapping the ground.

Gresham, known to fellow American Indians as "Running Lizard," already had talked to students about American Indian culture.

"It doesn't matter if you have Native American blood," said the 25-year-old teacher, lead dancer during this weekend's 10th Annual Gathering of the People Powwow at the conservation club.

CELEBRATING CULTURE: Pamela Gresham of Terre Haute is the head woman dancer for the Powwow this weekend at the Vigo County Conservation Club. (Tribune-Star/Jim Avelis)

On Friday, Gresham spoke with students from six elementary schools who visited the club for American Indian field day.

"Every culture is to be valued," she told Bovair's class.

And there, in the middle of a grassy field, the children in jeans and T-shirts danced side by side with women in native regalia.

Before long, sweat dripped from Logan Blacketer's hair. The 9-year-old slowed to a walking pace.

One of Vore's shoelaces drooped on the ground.
INDIANA CULTURE: Ouabache Elementary School third-grader Ronald Masterman tries to decide what to buy with his last dollar to spend. He'd already bought a raccoon tail and a rabbit pelt. He was one of hundreds of elementary school students to visit the Gathering of the People Powwow on Friday morning. Minding the store is June Rotolo of Louisiana. (Tribune-Star/Jim Avelis)

"Take a two-minute breather," Grigsby told the students. "I know some of you are winded out there."

As Grigsby told the children time was running out, he said: "When you got here, some of you didn't want to dance and you're leaving here dancing like real Indians."

And then he asked: "How many of you want to get back on the school buses right now and do some math?"

Not a hand went up.

Karin Grunden can be reached at (812) 231-4257 or [email protected].

http://www.tribstar.com/articles/200...state/lb04.txt
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