Indiana University

News Release

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Last modified: Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pow wow on Nov. 5 to kick off IU's observance of National American Indian Heritage Month

  1. Print this page

Oct. 25, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In a flourish of traditional drums, dancing and regalia, Native Americans will gather at Indiana University Bloomington on Nov. 5 to share history, culture and arts at a traditional pow wow.

The event, which will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave., also will serve as the kick-off event for IU Bloomington's observance of National American Indian Heritage Month. Other events in November will include a museum exhibit, family activities and workshops. All the events are free and open to the public.

The pow wow is being presented by the Native American Graduate Students Association, the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center (FNECC), the IU Office of Multicultural Initiatives and the IU Student Association.

Brian Gilley, director of the FNECC and an associate professor of anthropology, said pow wow organizers are trying to revitalize an important campus tradition. The last pow wow at IU Bloomington took place in 2004.

"Pow wows originated from the development of inter-tribal culture, where people share their experience of being native in the United States," Gilley explained. "They present a level of solidarity among the multi-tribal populations who have disparate political and social agendas. It becomes a meeting point for all of those different cultures … Native and non-native students have been asking for this for a while."

The pow wow will feature authentic American Indian arts and crafts, as well as an extensive educational display of research posters created by IU students. A highlight will be performances by drum groups and singers and the ceremonial "grand entries" representing tribes from across the United States. There will be a traditional meal at noon, free of charge, and crafts available for purchase.

The guest drum will be the Southern Bad Boys from Omaha, Neb. John B. Boyd of the Lower Elwha Klallam/Arrow Lakes Band and an assistant professor of English at Ball State University, will emcee the event. Also participating as singers will be a drum group consisting of IU students.

Marilyn Cleveland, a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a White Mountain Apache, will be the head lady dancer. She is a local tribal elder who has long provided wisdom, support and craft instruction to IU Bloomington students and provided considerable outreach in local schools. Head man dancer will be Nathen Steininger, a member of the Ojibway people and an IU alumnus.

Gilley expects the pow wow could attract several hundred people from across the Midwest.

Other National American Indian Heritage Month events will include:

People attending their first pow wow should be aware of basic etiquette, which is mostly simple respect and common sense. For example, ask permission before taking photos of dancers before, during or after dances. A dancer's clothing is a treasure, an expression of history, with some regalia handed down through generations. Always ask permission to touch regalia.

For more information about the pow wow, go to the FNECC website at

Web Version

IU News Room
530 E. Kirkwood Ave., Suite 201
Bloomington, IN 47408-4003