POW! Right here! WOW! In Frederick!

by Naomi Pearson. 0 Comments

Columbus Day always seems to me like a good day to celebrate – but not the arrival of Christopher Columbus to North America . But rather, the persistent survival and thriving of the indigenous people that, since his arrival, have endured multiple attempts at annihilation or assimilation.   So I went to the Powwow held at the Frederick Fairgrounds this weekend. And I got to see an old friend, get acquainted with a familiar face that until now  was only a friend of a friend, and mak e new friends within the local Native American community. (Yes, there is one.)   For those that don’t know, a Powwow, or wacipi as it is also known , is a Native American gathering and celebration of indigenous culture s of which there are many. It’s an opportunity for Native folks to hang out with others who share many of the same values , to learn about each others’ traditions . For Native people, it’s kind of like church, a family reunion, a community social, and a festival all rolled into one. And that doesn’t even really do it justice. And as many Powwows are open to the public, it’ s an opportunity for non-Native people to learn about Native Americans from the experts on the topic – the people themselves. Attendees can learn about some of the differences between the various Native nations, or tribes, as most people say. They can witness traditional and contemporary dances and even participate in a few, like the Fri endship dance or a round dance. They can see first-hand the falseness of many long-held stereotypes.   This Powwow was smaller than what I’m used to, partly because this is only the first year for this one, but that seemed to mak e it more intimate and less overwhelming to the visitors. I hope next year and each subsequent one, more people will turn out. They might come out of curiosity or as fanboys and girls or to be entertain ed , but while there, if they pay attention, they will also receive an education that they didn’t expect.   For more information about powwows: A surprisingly well-written Wikipedia entry on powwows An article from Oklahoma for powwow newbies Here's a quick primer on powwow etiquette


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