Indiana University

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Last modified: Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pow wow will kick off IU's observance of National American Indian Heritage Month

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Oct. 24, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- For the second consecutive year, Native Americans will gather at Indiana University Bloomington to share history, culture and arts at a traditional pow wow.

The event will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 3 and 4 at Union Street Center, 445 N. Union St. It 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 lecture 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 and the IU Student Association.

Last year, pow wow organizers revitalized an important campus tradition that hadn't happened at IU Bloomington since 2004.

"Pow wows originated from the development of inter-tribal culture, where people share their experience of being native in the United States," said Brian Gilley, director of the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center and an associate professor of anthropology. "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."

The pow wow will feature authentic American Indian arts and crafts as well. A highlight will be performances by drum groups and singers and the ceremonial "grand entries" representing tribes from across the United States. "Gourd dancing," at 11 a.m. Nov. 3, will take place before grand entries and honors veterans and community elders. A traditional meal will be served at noon Nov. 3, free of charge, and crafts will be available for purchase.

The host drums will be Brave Heart from Pine Ridge, S.D., and Sauk Nation from Meskwaki, Iowa, and Thaigi, Okla. Terry Fiddler, a Lakota from Red Wing, Minn., will emcee the event. Gilley expects the pow wow could attract several hundred people from across the Midwest.

Cheryl McClellan, a member of the Sac and Fox Nation, will be the head lady dancer. Head man dancer will be Gilbert Brown, a member of the Meskwaki Nation.

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.

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