Thursday, April 29, 2010

More from the PowWow

This woman appeared to serve in the capacity of judge for some of the entries. She had not only this role, but that of dancer as well:

When the elder women danced, they were less wild and rambunctious in their movements than the children had been; at some times, they seemd to be moving little but almost shuffling.

After the elder women danced, elder men danced next. They are faster than the women, but not as fast, however, as the children. But they made up for it in their much more extravagant regalia.

Part of the PowWow's significance is to build community and pass on traditions. Young children are seen learning about their heritage from their elders throughout the days of the PowWow, or Wacipi. Songs play a vital role in their culture. In addition to participating in the traditional dances and songs, Native Americans come to visit family and friends,and to make new acquaintances.

I've read that an important duty prior to the Wacipi is purification of the PowWow grounds. This is to help ensure that only good thoughts and feelings will occur there, and that everyone will have a good time. Once the grounds are blessed, it is considered sacred and everyone is asked to keep it as clean as possible, with good thoughts and positive feelings.

The drum is one of the most sacred positions to hold in Pow Wow. Women are never allowed to drum. Women in the group will sing and lend support only.

Head Man and Woman dancer is an honor gained by overall traditional values and PowWow status. These head dancers are chosen to represent all adult dancers at the PowWow. They are chosen for the position by their knowledge of traditions, their previous awards in PowWows and also by their example of good traditional living and embracing their culture. These adults will lead in the other dancers when the Grand Entry of dancers occurs at the PowWow.

Visitors, including non-Native Americans, are important to a Wacipi. Native Americans feel an obligation to be welcoming to visitors and to help them feel at home when attending a PowWow. Many communities consider it very important to host visitors to the best of their ability. This can take the form of creating a friendly atmosphere or providing a feast.


Jeanne said...

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing the information about the Wacipi and more gorgeous photos!

Anonymous said...

hi hello.
i love yr pictures!
wow. how did you do that?
Have a wonderful day:)

Dawn said...

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! what more can i say.....? WOW

Maria said...

When I saw the first photo I thought: "Wasn't that the lady with the suitcase?" And, indeed, she was! Somehow, she seems more vital standing up.

What a lovely tradition to bless the grounds and hold them sacred for the duration of the Wacipi. Anything that promotes harmony in the world is commendable.

Maria said...

What a lovely tradition of blessing the ground before a Wacipi.

These traditional costumes are spectacular, but boy, I feel warm just thinking about wearing one of them.

pat said...

I am so thoroughly enjoying this series of photos and all the things you are educating us about the gathering!! I am learning so much! These photos are really wonderful--I like your editing of these to isolate the subjects with the selective blurring--it gives them weight. I prefer to think of their dancing as "stately" rather than shuffling...although it's probably due to creaky joints, right?

Nicki, said...

The two elder women appear to be just having a conversation in the one shot and the costumes are magnificent. How fortunate that they allow visitors and that you were able to capture so many wonderful shots.

Reds said...

Wow wow wow - absolutely love these!

Suzy said...

I think it's a wonderful way to pass the traditions down. I just love that first shot of the older lady. Beautiful!

Maria said...

This is weird. I posted a comment yesterday but it didn't take . . . Hmm . . .

Love this entire series. I love the idea of blessing the ground of the celebration and praying for harmony. We need so much of that in this crazy world!