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2007 National Powwow in Washington DC: Event Coverage
Dance, Drumming Competition Draws Crowds
Go Native American, photos, Joe Mann
Mens northern traditional dancer, August 11, 2007, National Powwow, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
This is the friendly young man we met at the 2007 National Powwow on August 11 who opened to me an understanding of Powwow dancing. I hesitate to admit I didn't write down his name very quickly and could only remember William when I put down notes, I hope I'm that much right. William explained that he is a Northern Traditional dancer, and that he had his whole kit on except for his bustle. He is from South Dakota but now lives in North Carolina and said, “people sometimes ask me if I would be different if I could, but I wouldn't.” It is so great to see people tending to the traditions of their ancestors, what I saw certainly reinforces families. I asked him if I could take a some pictures and he was vey obliging, this was the best of the three I took.
Boys' fancy dance, August 11, 2007, Verizon Center, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
The Washington Post reports:
For the powwow, the Verizon Center convention floor was transformed by the presence of Native Americans from about 250 tribes. One thousand dancers, many dressed in fringed deerskin dresses and feather hats performed a variety of dances throughout the day.
Boys' grass dance competition, August 11, 2007, Verizon Center, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
Indian Country's National Powwow special insert provides a wealth of detail, and was given free with the $5 purchase of the Indian Country Powwow Today, 2007, not only a great yearlong powwow calendar, but also with descriptions of the types of dances performed competitively.
Boy in grass dance competition, August 11, 2007, Washington DC. Photo Joe Mann
Host drums were High Noon (Cree), Battle River (Anishinabe), and Southern Thunder (Pawnee). The head singing judge was Wayne Silas Jr. (Menomonee and Wisconsin Oneida), his first time as head singing judge after several appearances as head dancing judge. Rusty Gillette was Northern dancing head judge. Gilette is a member of the Dead Grass Society and has won the Midnight Grass Dance Special at the Gathering of Nations (NM).
Corey Reeder was chosen as dance head man. The well known fancy dancer (Wichita/Kiowa/Navajo) led the dancers out and acted as one of the head singers.
The boys and I were able to watch a girls's competition from the stands, then I went to the photographer's area next to the dance floor for the boys fancy dance and boys grass dance. The boys were really great (the dancers, my boys were well behaved but I wouldn't say great) and the garb was amazing. Since this was our first exposure to competitive powwow dances, I've used the photos from these comeptitions to illustrate simple explanations of the grass dance and the fancy dance. Now I'm hungry to learn more and hope I get the chance soon. JM
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