Spring powwow offers a taste of Native American culture

March 28, 2014

A Native American cultural experience is at the heart of the On Wisconsin Spring Powwow 2014 on April 5-6 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Stock Pavilion, 1675 Linden Drive.

Powwow poster

The event, which features traditional Native American arts, crafts, foods, cultural demonstrations, exhibitions and intertribal dances, is free and open to the public. Doors open at 10 a.m. on both days and the event runs until about 10 p.m.

"We are really encouraging campus and community involvement. This is something the whole family can enjoy and learn from. It's a fluid event with something going on all of the time," says Nichole Boyd, who is the coordinator for American Indian Student Academic Services.

Samantha Pecore, president of Wunk Sheek, the university's Native American student organization, says students are "excited to be sharing this part of their culture with the community."

The Grand Entry, at noon and 6 p.m. on Saturday and again at noon on Sunday, is a highlight of the event. The Ho-Chunk Nation and ROTC color guards will lead this beginning dance followed by the Native American head staff. They include: The Boyz (Minnesota), the Host Drum, Hay Creek (Wisconsin), Host Youth Drum, and Pipestone (Wisconsin), Invited Drum; Joe Syrette (Sault St. Marie), the Head Man; Teslah Knight (Lakota), the Head Lady; Jason Kingbird (Red Lake), Arena Director; and Dylan Jennings(Bad River), Head Judge. Master of Ceremonies Mac Garbin (White Earth) and John Teller (Menominee) will explain what's happening throughout the entry and the dancing that follows.

Next in the Grand Entry lineup is a veterans' song, which invites veterans of all backgrounds, races and nationalities to walk together. Other Native Americans participating in the entry will then join with the head staff in a variety of dances, showcasing the various styles of dance and the attire and regalia of the dancers. There will also be intertribal dances.

Those attending the powwow can purchase traditional Native American food and traditional arts and crafts including painting, beadwork, silver items, pottery, hand woven baskets and more.

Visitors are welcome to visit with participants, join in the dances, and take photographs of dancers except during Grand Entry and a few special songs. The event will include three Grand Entries in order to allow as many people as possible to enjoy the event.

Presenting sponsors for the On Wisconsin Spring Powwow 2014 include Wunk Sheek, UW-Madison, American Indian Student Academic Services, ITA Tribal Technology Institute, the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate, and the College of Letters & Science Center for Academic Excellence.

For more information about On Wisconsin Annual Spring Powwow 2014, email aisas@ls.wisc.edu, call 608-265-3420 or visit http://cae.ls.wisc.edu/powwow.htm.