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Friday December 19 2014

People of the Midwest

Native Americans and Powwows

Powwow What is a Powwow?

Powwows are ceremonial gatherings held by Native Americans. The Gathering of Nations Powwow is North America’s largest powwow. It is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico and has been celebrated since 1983. An April, 2005 article from American Profile newsmagazine states that the Gathering of Nations Powwow was “a dance competition, marketplace, and Miss Indian World pageant all in one huge three-day event.” The same article noted, “Powwows are about a sense of community.”

At these cultural gatherings, members of Native American tribes come to celebrate their heritage through stories, food, song, and dance. Once single tribe based, today’s powwows are gatherings for persons of all tribes. Powwows enable Native Americans to renew family, clan, and tribal ties as well as to forge social and political alliances, celebrate victories, and to practice religious and spiritual ceremony.

A staple of the powwow is the dancing. Dances can mean different things. Some dances are done to communicate with the universe. Others are done to honor the spirits of animals and people. The contemporary powwow provides an opportunity for people to celebrate their identification with Indian culture.

Here are some Internet sites to get you started on your search to find out more about Native American people:

500 Nations Native American “Super Site”
This web site provides a resource of information for Native American Indian casinos, event calendars, places to visit, and tribes/nations contact information.

American Indian Radio on Satellite homepage.

The Center For Native American Public Radio
This homepage for Native American public radio has links and information on programs and projects sponsored by the Center For Native American Public Radio.

Indian Land Tenure Curriculum
This site offers free, downloadable lesson plans that can be applied to grades K-12, as well as the college level. The curriculum is designed to instill in Native American children an understanding of their place within creation and a sense of belonging to their traditional lands. The lessons include material lists, stories, discussion questions, art activities, nature walks, music and movement activities, and vocabulary words.

National Museum of the American Indian
This Smithsonian site provides further information on the National Museum of the American Indian.

Native American Public Telecommunications
The site for information and links concerning Native American Public Telecommunications.

A collection of photographs and videos about the Native American Powwows.

Native American Student Organization of Southern Illinois University
This organization assists Native students with their college experiences and provides an opportunity to socialize with other Native students. The organization also provides non-Native students with cultural information and supports the development of a Native American Studies program at SIUC.

Southernmost Illinois History
Here one can explore the fascinating history of Southern Illinois. With the click of a mouse you can discover a vast amount of knowledge.

Vision Maker Video
A site dedicated to films and other media about Native American People

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