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Which powwows are must see for powwow virgins?

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  • Which powwows are must see for powwow virgins?

    Yes, I confess it. I am still a virgin...a powwow virgin. I have been heartily assured that should I attend a powwow and hear the drums that my wayward hearty helping of Native blood would rise up and do the brown skin boogie. (Sorry I have not the gadgetry as one person here apparently has to measure my exact percentage of Native blood (and more impressively down to the 1/2% (laugh)). Being ever scientific and well, easily amused, I am quite willing to test this hypothesis (obviously after undergoing a stringent physical evaluation first).

    So herein lies my question to you, good folks of Powwow Land…or Ville if you prefer. Wait, I think I prefer Ville. Yes, let’s just stick with Ville for right now. Of course you all could also be a township. Not tribe though….tribe is to prosaic is it not? Linguistic semantics aside….

    Which Powwow is the most informative, the most reflective on Native culture and its tenets….the most educational if you will and why? What must one absolutely see/do when one is there? What is there for one to do/see when one is there?

    Thank you in advance for you kind cooperation.


    Queen of All That She Surveys. Shy delicate flower with dewey petals.


    (What can I say? I'm feeling frisky in all of my Indigo glory. (wink. wink.))
    Last edited by greagirl; 12-11-2005, 10:55 AM.
    If life gives you lemons, find the bloody ******* who sent them to you, pelt them with lemons and then ask them how the hell they like it.

  • #2
    West Coast

    I was a pow-wow virgin until five years ago. I was not raised going to pow-wows so as an adult I went as a spectator. I am a light skinned mixed blood and was uncertain how I would be perceived and accepted. I was determined to be respectful and open minded to the experience and found that my worries were, for the most part, groundless. My first pow-wow was a rez pow-wow in Washington state. I went to the Spokane Labor Day Tribal Celebration. I did my homework before going. I knew ahead of time that the rez was MILES west of the city and the best thing was to plan on camping. It was a beautiful drive despite getting a speeding ticket going through Toppenish (Yakama Nation). This pow-wow had a camping day Thursday. Because this was a large pow-wow and there were no 'motel 6' around it was prudent to get there early to grab the prime 'real estate' *Lol for camping. Which I did. I didn't know anyone when I arrived, but when I left I'd made many friends from a variety of different Western tribes. The Spokane were great hosts; and the other campers were wonderful. The pow-wow grounds had great amenities and the arbor was pretty good. They had a stickgame contest going all weekend which was wonderful. They had an art auction (thank you George!) that was awesome. There were lots of vendors, lots of food and plenty of porta potties along with their real bathrooms (with showers). Only thing I hadn't counted on was how cold it could get up on that mesa at night or early morning. I had to buy a pendleton jacket after Night 1! I didn't think it would be cold in late August/early September. Wrong! I would strongly recommend this pow-wow. It starts Friday and runs through Monday, Labor Day. It pulled top talent from around NDN country. A rez pow-wow gives you a truer exposure to what pow-wow is all about.

    The other good pow-wow is Stanford University, Mothers Day weekend. However, this being an urban pow-wow there are drawbacks: The cost of hotel rooms, parking, the very mixed crowd (many people that just don't know how to behave that come solely to gawk). However, this pow-wow does draw big name and beaucoup talent. So, I'd recommend this pow-wow, also, for an urban pow-wow virgin :)

    For the most part I stay away from casino pow-wows...too commercial...but they do draw big names if that's where you are at. But the whole ambiance changes.
    Last edited by River Spirit; 12-11-2005, 09:52 PM.
    "The Cleveland Indians are going to change their name. They don't want to be known as a team that perpetuates racial stereotypes. From now on they're just going to be called the Indians." - Native Comedian Vaughn Eaglebear, Colville/Lakota


    • #3
      Thank you for your response.

      You would probably understand my misgivings better than most I think. (grin) For the most part, my family is made up of Creoles - yes, the notorious Creoles - the more than a tad insane, mixed French people of Louisiana who prize good hair, fair skin and anglo features above all other physical attributes, who are also known for their physical beauty, skill in the kitchen and skill...well, other places. (grin)

      Part of my bloodline belonged to the Jour. My mother's husband's mother being disowned because her husband was too black (and their whole blond haired, blue eyed line had long passed for white). My mother's father is half white and half black. My grandmother who is also darked skinned like my mother's husband's father, I thought was just black (an anomonaly in my family (grin)).

      Well one day I'm in elementary school and I'm flipping through my history book and I get the shock of my life. There on the pages I see Indians and what's crazy is that I look like them. I get home and I compare my face to theirs and I'm completely freaked out by it. I ask my mother why exactly it is that I look like these people. Besides my brother, myself and one other cousin on my mother's side and one of my mother's sisters (who was overweight so it took me a while to make the connection), we are the only ones who have any of these features (my brother having only the eyes and cheekbones). Yet, until that moment I made no connection with it at all.

      It is only then that I learn that my grandmother is half Native American. All I ever got out of my grandmother is that I look exactly like her father's people and that he was a vicious drunk that she apparently did not want to talk about. When I was a teenager, my grandmother shows me a picture of herself when she was my age and we are identical (except for the coloring). I'm what melots refer to as red or yellow hammer. My son is what is refered to as high yellow or yellow bone and his face is identical to mine.

      So here I am, trying to learn something about this part of my heritage that seems to have taken over the physical charastics of my blood line. Here I am a Hatian, French & Native American girl with a Hatian, French, German, Native American & Mexican Indian son trying to make some sense in this strange turn of events, this sudden reappearance of this hidden genetic line.

      Having had very little contact with Native Americans in my life, it's all very alien to me but I want my son to grow up knowing about all of the bloodlines that came together to make him. Yet, from the contacts that I have had, aside from my face, I can find very little that I have in common with them. Can you see that conversation? "You're kidding me? What? My ancestors were enslaved and degraded too!" (laugh)
      If life gives you lemons, find the bloody ******* who sent them to you, pelt them with lemons and then ask them how the hell they like it.


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