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  • Organizing a Powwow

    Boozhoo,
    I have attended plenty of powwows in my day, but never had any insight into the inner workings. As my university has finally settled its racist mascot situation, I want to organize a giant powwow in the fall to kick a brand new start. I plan on contacting the American Indian Center and some other not to distant organizations for guidance, but I would like to have more information regarding what must be done.

    Miigwetch

  • #2
    organization,organization...................

    Originally posted by jiimaanikwe View Post
    Boozhoo,
    I have attended plenty of powwows in my day, but never had any insight into the inner workings. As my university has finally settled its racist mascot situation, I want to organize a giant powwow in the fall to kick a brand new start. I plan on contacting the American Indian Center and some other not to distant organizations for guidance, but I would like to have more information regarding what must be done.

    Miigwetch
    I recommend that you talk to many that you may know personally who are involved with other dances. Many people will have many different ideas but there will be constants in their ideas.

    Your first Headstaff are very important. If approached appropriately you may not need to have a great deal of funding to help them out. I'm not saying to ask them to do this for nothing BUT if most people understand they will help with all they can, to include advice. Please, help them out as best you can. Locate a place either inside or out that has plenty of space available to be used. Don't cramp yourself. Utilize others from the many other dances to aquaint you with some good vendors. Agood drum is important. Talk to a good Headsinger who you may know. This individual would be a very valuable person to know. Either that person may be able to help you or introduce you to someone who would be able to help.

    Develope a so called Powwow book. In this Powwow book you could have the Headstaff introduced to the public and friends. You could tell visitors about things they may see(including protocol). I recommend that in this book you sell advertising space for different businesses or anyone who wants to buy some space. I suggest you divide it into busness card size, 1/4page, 1/3 page, 1/2 and full page. know what it would cost you to have this book printed and sell this space accordingly. This could help you pay for the printing of the book and maybe even a little to help cover some of the expenses. The Vendor fees could also, help to off set the expences. Set up some raffles to cover cost. When you set up raffles it was once suggested to me to have a 3 tickets for a $1.00 or 9 fro $2.00s. The cost of haveing the 9 for $2 far offsets the cost difference and most would take advantage of this offering especially if the MC promotes it well and often.

    More ideas down the road if needed. I think there will be many others with better ideas than mine.
    BOB

    Comment


    • #3
      Food.
      Feed your dancers, singers and headstaff.
      People appreciate it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Since it is a university, you might get support from the student government, student activities dept. or if you have a Native American Student Association chapter. You will need some man power to help at the dance as well as financial support. Also talk to university housing to see if you might be able to come up with rooms for staff that will need to travel. You never know what can be done unless you ask! As for where to have the dance, make sure it is a place you can meet all of your needs. Parking, changing, bathrooms, security and all of that are things to consider. When you will have the dance will be another issue. Will school be in session or are you looking for a summer dance? On campus or off campus will make a lot of difference... Finally you might want to partner up with a local pow wow organization if you have one since they might have connections and things like benches, sound, etc. Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          all good suggestions...a few more...decide right away weather or not it will be competition, this will effect your needs.
          get together a good commitee, not just your friends, make sure some of these people don't work outside of the home or have a full school load, cause for some committee members it will be a full time job.
          Our powow committe has a briefcase that gets based down year to year to build on names, address & phone numbers of dancers, drummers, vendors, firekeepers, veterns, MC's, arena directors, sponsors, equimpent rentals & lenders, etc.
          I also kept a binder the one year I headed up the committe, there was a section for each person on the committe, & in their section was written what they said they'd do & when it was do be done by.
          Also a section for permits well there is just so much to think about, giveaways, food, camping space, advertizing, fire permits, sound, portapotties, clean up, security, who will put up the arbour, will the area be fenced, medicines to handout to those involved, water for dancers & drumers, registration, where the elictricity for sound will come from, fundraising...I could continue to go on but I'll let someone else step in.
          Anyway sit down with some people who hae been doing this for a while, and map out all that needs to be done & when it needs to be done by & then start organizing
          Good Luck& get lots of sleep now
          Suzze

          Comment


          • #6
            Good suggestions all.....

            I have a few more some that have been covered but may be reemphasized.

            Organize the powwow for the right reasons - There are a few people out there that organize powwows for their own glory or benefit but they are the exception. Organize a powwow for dancers and public to have fun. We can do things the right way and everyone can have a blast.

            Be Humble - Humble people ask questions and accept advice.

            Find a good Drum - The drum and head singer are important to the success of the event. Besides worrying about Prize Money, top dancers look for quality drums.

            Head Staff Someone addressed that one. They were right.


            Money There are expenses to a Powwow.......Prize money, day money, food, drums, hotel rooms, facilities, security, and just stuff. Make sure you dont promise something you cant deliver but make sure the event is enticing to dancers. There are also many sources of income....program advertising, sponsorship, governmental agencies, student government, admission, raffles and more. Keep the costs to the dancers to a minimum.

            Food - Feed the people.....food makes for community, fellowship and friendship

            Weather Have a back up plan for bad weather.

            Mascot issues? I lived in Champaign, IL for a couple years. I always thought the quad would be a great place for a powwow. Maybe not the same place.

            There is other stuff, but these are a few I can think of.

            Good luck and be happy
            Brian

            Comment


            • #7
              Whoa! Thank you all so much for the helpful responses!! I have a lot to sort through already. I want to have it at the beginning of the school year so that more students have an opportunity to experience native culture and not a white guy dressed in beautiful buckskin regalia prancing around like a ballerina

              The Quad would be nice, but parking is impossible

              Whew, time to take a deep breath and get to work!!

              Miigwetch

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by TallmanFL View Post
                Weather Have a back up plan for bad weather.
                Guess it depends on the people, the smaller powwows our family & friends attend are all rain or shine...or hail or thunderstorm, only once flurries...lol...you know you love dancing when the weather don't stop ya...we just laugh, through on a sweater & keep going...of course the ones during colder weather are indoors
                Suzze

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks for all the helpful information. I have a money question now... if I were able to get up to $3000 to help get this off of the ground, what would be the best way to split it up? I already plan on printing costs for the program that was suggested above.

                  Thanks again!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jiimaanikwe View Post
                    Thanks for all the helpful information. I have a money question now... if I were able to get up to $3000 to help get this off of the ground, what would be the best way to split it up? I already plan on printing costs for the program that was suggested above.

                    Thanks again!
                    Drums, you need that taken care of first, no drums, no powwow.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hehe, gotta have drums-- but I probably couldn't get away with giving them the whole $3000:) Gotta have some head dancers and a AD, too. (and the grounds, and yikes- more than I can even think of right now )

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        by the way, your getting all this advice, good advice, but what we don't know is weather or not this is a competition powwow that your planning, that will have some effect, I mean most of it will be the same, but some of it will be different, such as a need for competition money etc...etc...
                        And therefore who would be best at giving that advice, I for example have never been to a competition powwow, where from what I understand in some areas they are more common, are the powwows in your area generally big eventw or smaller events. One of the powwows we go to is big (not compared to competition ones though) & always has fireworks. One is smaller & they feed everyone who shows up all week (for free), so this kind of info on what you want the powwow to be like is important, plus what is more popular in your area. My city held a competition powwow one year & almost none of the locals danced because most here don't dane cometition so all this kinda matters to. At a community powwow you might pull your head dancers from the community if anyone has the expierence. If your going big all the way, you'll probably want a bigger name anyway I babble you get the point.
                        Suzze

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                        • #13
                          You're right. Someone asked before and I never answered! I want to have a more tradish powwow. I've never been a big fan of big comp powwows. Now, I do love to see some good dancin' but I love the feeling of connectedness I get at ones that are more tradish. Plus the aim is to have everyone feel as included as possible.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            First off, gather up your volunteers and as many as you can too. Its all about the help you have, and you will find you need them.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thx. I plan on enlisting the help of every school organization that I can rope in. Community help as well.

                              Comment

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