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TN Long Hunter State Park Powwow

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  • TN Long Hunter State Park Powwow

    ( I did not attend this powwow. There should be consideration for a thread dedicated to current or recent Powwow News Articles.)

    Pow-Wow draws 100 dancers to Tennessee | tennessean.com | The Tennessean

    Pow-Wow draws 100 dancers to Tennessee
    Native-American event resumes today
    By Nicole Young • THE TENNESSEAN • October 17, 2010


    Each dance has its own story.

    The jingle dance, performed by women, originated in Canada. A man dreamed of making the traditional dress used in the performance as a way to heal his daughter, who was very ill, explained Tim Tall Chief, master of ceremonies for the 29th annual Native American Indian Association of Tennessee Pow-Wow going on this weekend at Long Hunter State Park in Hermitage. "She got well, so the dress was used in healing ever since," he said.

    The grass dance, performed by men, originated in the central United States. It is symbolic of the wind blowing through the prairie grass, Tall Chief says.
    The men move and bend like the wind, slowly, beautifully and with purpose.

    The drums thunder in the background; the melodic rhythm somehow penetrates the body.

    The audience of about 1,000 sits motionless on a cloudless Saturday afternoon, concentrating only on the swirl of feathers and colorful fabric.
    "A lot of people dance for those who can't," said Tall Chief, who has been performing the straight dance in the southern tradition for 35 years. "They dance for elders, for those who have passed on or for those who simply cannot.

    "The spirit is so good sometimes, you don't even know you're touching the ground."

    Tall Chief, of the Osage tribe in Gray Horse, Okla., has come to the Tennessee Pow-Wow for the last five years. He's been to hundreds of dance contests throughout the United States and Canada.

    More than 100 dancers from across the country registered to compete in the dance competition at this year's Pow-Wow, according to officials with the association. Dancing began Friday at 6 p.m. The competition started Saturday at 1 p.m. and was expected to last well into the night, wrapping up at about 3:30 p.m. today, with an awards ceremony to follow.

    The dancers, divided by gender, compete in four age groups: children 5 and under, juniors 12 and under, teens and adults, and seniors 55 and up. There are four categories of dance for men and women.

    Thousands attend Pow-Wow

    Wilson Roberts, 70, of Ada, Okla., and his wife of 40 years were named this year's lead male and female dancers. "You always have to have someone out there to lead," said Roberts, who is an elder in the Choctaw Nation.

    "But when you're out there, everything fades away. The sound of the drum hits you in the heart, and you know people are watching and learning off you, so when you do it, you do it good and right, just as the people before you did it for hundreds of years."

    As a representative of the Choctaw, Roberts has danced all over the world. All three of his sons and 13 grandchildren also dance. They've come to Tennessee's annual Pow-Wow for more than 20 years.

    "Everybody here probably has some Indian blood in them," he said. "It's nice to make eye contact with them and see them get interested in what you're doing and have them ask you questions about the history."

    Each year, the Pow-Wow draws thousands of people to Tennessee. More than 15,000 are expected to attend this year.

    Pauline Wright, 71, of Lewisburg, Tenn., read about the event in a magazine and decided to make the two-and-a-half hour trip to Hermitage on Saturday to see what it was all about. "It's more beautiful than I could have imagined," she said. "It's kind of like being in Gatlinburg, only bigger. The costumes are so pretty."

    In addition to the dance, the three-day Pow-Wow features musicians and singers, modern and traditional arts and crafts, traditional food and a special Arts and Crafts Demonstration Village.

    The event is the main fundraiser of the year for the organization, with proceeds going to emergency assistance and scholarships.
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