UWO to host sixth annual powwow

Allison Prusha

The UW Oshkosh Inter-Tribal Student Organization will host The Sixth Annual Powwow to allow students to participate in another culture on Nov. 7 in Albee Hall and Pool. The American Indian Student Services Coordinator, Christopher Annis, has helped the Inter-Tribal Student Organization prepare the powwow for two years and said he’s been going to powwows since he was young. “A powwow is a social gathering for people of all different backgrounds to come together to interact, reconnect and celebrate Native cultures,” Annis said. Annis said dancers and drummers will come from all over Wisconsin to represent Wisconsin’s Native American nations at the Oshkosh Powwow. He said at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. the dancers will enter the arena ceremonially in a grand entry, which will be led by the Menominee Veterans. Traditional dances will take place throughout the day, with a dinner break from about 5-7 p.m. Aside from the grand entry, visitors are free to come and go from the arena at any time. This year, the head male dancer will be Elijah M. Leonard, and the head female dancer will be Julie Hill. Additionally, the drum groups will include Smokeytown, Grass Whistle, Young Eagle Bear Singers and Grindstone Lake Singers. Besides the dancing and singing, Annis said the powwow is also an opportunity for people to socialize, laugh and participate in prayer if they want to. According to the University event page, on Tuesday, Nov. 3 there will be an etiquette session in Reeve Memorial Union Theater for students, faculty and staff. Joey Awonohopay of the Menominee Nation will be speaking about regalia, costumes and courtesies expected at a powwow. Annis said this is an opportunity to develop a better understanding of what a powwow consists of, what goes on, as well as other information in order to better prepare the attendees. In an article for the Native Peoples Magazine, Patty Talahongva, president of the Native American’s Journalists Association, goes through a list outlining powwow etiquette and offers a few tips. “Do not talk while an elder is speaking, dress properly, do not touch the dancers or the regalia and ask before taking any photos during the event,” Talahongva stated in the list. The formality and the guidelines of the Powwow should not deter people from attending as it may serve as an opportunity to broaden their perspective on Native American culture. Sophomore Ogechi Duruaku said even though she will not be able to make it, the powwow was an event that interested her. “I have never been to a powwow, but I know that it’s a gathering of Native Americans, which includes dancing and singing,” Duruaku said. Annis said continuous growth and education for students is imporant and by attending the powwow even the students, as well as himself, will be able to expand their cultural knowledge. “On top of it being right here on campus, it is important for students to understand the impact that they can have with more education,” Annis said. “Learning about culture is something that is special and the more understanding an individual gets about different cultures the more well-rounded they will become as an inclusive leader.”