May 27, 1999
Vol. 18 No. 17

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    [powwow] by matt gilson
    Last year’s powwow on the Midway was the first such event since 1961.

    Powwow coming June 1 to Midway Plaisance

    By Theresa Carson
    News Office

    The rhythm of Native American drums will resonate through campus during the University’s second annual powwow on the Midway Plaisance across from Ida Noyes Hall, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, June 1.

    The powwow is a learning opportunity for students in Dr. Terry Straus’s anthropology course, Native Americans in Urban Areas. Straus, a faculty member in the Master of Arts Program in Social Sciences, described the event as “a very important celebration activating the network of urban and reservation Indians.”

    She said a concerted effort has been made to attract Native American students to the University. “To me, the significance of having a powwow in regards to Indian students is that it is a common intertribal activity that Indian people all over the country recognize. It allows for some feeling that there are Indian-related activities available to them through the University.”

    The first such campus event took place in 1961. During that year, in the midst of Native American struggles for sovereignty rights, Sol Tax, Professor in Anthropology, invited representatives from tribes from all over the United States. He worked with the National Congress of American Indians in organizing the American Indian Charter Convention on the University’s campus. In celebration of this first-time conference, the participants held a powwow.

    Straus expects 20 to 25 dancers and representatives from 15 to 20 tribes across the United States and Canada. Two drum groups will participate, one of which is Old Agency Two from the Blood Reserve in Alberta, Canada. The Blood Reserve is the home of Sylvia Day Chief, a graduate student in the Masters of Arts Program who is helping Straus plan the powwow. Day Chief’s husband, Perry Day Chief, will sing with the Blood Reserve drum group.

    The Grand Entry will open the event at 11 a.m. During the Flag Song, flags will be posted. A native elder will offer the opening prayer, followed by the Honor Song and the Veteran Song.

    Dance exhibitions, which will include the Women’s Fancy Dance, Men’s Fancy Dance, Grass Dance, Men’s Traditional Dance, Women’s Traditional Dance and the Jingle Dress Dance, will begin at 11:30 a.m. Sara Brandon, a Masters of Arts Program graduate student and member of the Native American Students Association, will take part in the dance exhibitions. The powwow also will feature a food booth, serving fry bread and Indian tacos, and Navajo Sam Begay will operate an Indian arts and crafts booth.

    The retiring of the flags will occur at 2 p.m. In case of rain, the powwow will convene in Ida Noyes Hall at 1212 E. 59th St.

    The powwow is being organized by Straus’s anthropology class and the Native American Students Association.