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Author Topic: Powwow celebrates American Indian culture  (Read 840 times)

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Powwow celebrates American Indian culture
« on: November 23, 2009, 08:32:29 PM »


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Powwow celebrates American Indian culture  Cliff Sain News-Leader November 23, 2009
       Tradition, culture and fun were on hand this weekend at Missouri State University. 
    Dancers in traditional American Indian costumes join the gourd dance as part of the sixth annual Native Heritage Month Powwow at McDonald Arena on Sunday.

Dancers in traditional American Indian costumes join the gourd dance as part of the sixth annual Native Heritage Month Powwow at McDonald Arena on Sunday. (Steve J.P. Liang / News-Leader)
   Members of Soldier Creek, led by Russell Mashunkashey, sing as part of the sixth annual Native American Heritage Month Powwow on Sunday.

Members of Soldier Creek, led by Russell Mashunkashey, sing as part of the sixth annual Native American Heritage Month Powwow on Sunday. (Steve J.P. Liang / News-Leader)       Crystal Perry braids hair for Sonny Hawk before the dance contest Sunday.

Crystal Perry braids hair for Sonny Hawk before the dance contest Sunday. (Steve J.P. Liang / News-Leader)   
American Indians from across the country gathered at McDonald Arena on Saturday and Sunday for food, crafts and dancing at the sixth annual Native American Heritage Month Powwow.
Many of the participants said they attend many such events throughout the year.
"It's kind of a family gathering," said John Hernandez, of Rogersville. "I come to see old friends, meet new ones and to dance."
The festival was the university's final event during Native American Heritage Month. Throughout the month, MSU has featured several events related to American Indians, such as speakers and artists.
Event coordinator William Meadows, an associate professor of anthropology at MSU, said a powwow can mean different things to different people, but primarily the event is a celebration.
"It's a celebration of life and of culture," he said. "It's also a celebration of still being here, after what Native Americans have gone through over the past 500 years."
He said that in 1900, the U.S. only had about 225,000 American Indians. Now that number is more than 2 million.
Many of the participants took part in at least one of many dances at the powwow.
Hernandez, who said he is Apache, was there to participate in a gourd dance.
"It's a veterans dance, to honor veterans and those still in the service," he said.
Nathan Hosetosavit, of Mesdero, N.M., said he also was dancing to honor veterans. His dance is known as a southern straight dance.
"I'm dancing to honor my grandfather and uncles who were in the military," Hosetosavit said.
He said he was also on hand to be a judge for some of the competitive dances.
Several artisans were at the powwow, offering both traditional and modern crafts.
Joe Hijoe, of Winslow, Ariz., said much of the Navajo jewelry he has been making for 40 years has been adapted to use modern techniques, such as stone inlay.
"But the old traditions will never go away," Hijoe said. "If you are a good artist, there will be a story for every piece you work on."
Not everyone was there to dance or to sell art. Some were there just to see the colorful spectacle.
Pat Lawrence, of Springfield, said she visits many powwows just to observe.
"I've just always had an interest in the Indian culture," she said. "I love the dancing."
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