A powwow to honor children
September 18, 2007
The summer powwow season may be winding down, but it's not yet over.
Can you hear the drumming? That's the powwow heartbeat, calling Native Americans from hundreds of tribes to gather for the Detroit area's largest powwow of the year, September 28-30 in Wyandotte.
"We're happy when we come together to dance and socialize with each other," said Fay Givens, director of American Indian Services, which is hosting the event.
"Everyone is welcome from every tribe. It gives us an opportunity to come together as Indian people."
Are non-native families invited?
"Absolutely," said Fay, a member of the Inkillis Tamaha Band of Mississippi Choctaw.
"This is where all the races of the world should come together and help us celebrate our culture. We feel like the flowers. There are many different colors, and when they come together, it's beautiful. That's how we see the powwow."
Last year, more than 300 tribes were represented at the Wyandotte powwow, which will be held in Bishop Park, downtown at Oak Street and the Detroit River.
And this year's gathering promises to be something extra special: It's being held in honor of children.
The American Indian Services Honor Our Children Traditional Powwow opens at 5 p.m. September 28, with a free concert by two outstanding performers: Arvel Bird, a fiddle player of Southern Paiute and Scottish ancestry, and Bill Miller, a Mohican singer and Grammy Award winner.
Gates open at 10:30 a.m. both September 29 and 30. Dancing will held both days, beginning at 1 p.m. September 29 with the grand entry, or formal procession of Native Americans into the dance circle.
There will be a grand re-entry, or second procession, at 6 p.m. September 29.
A grand entry will also be held at 1 p.m. on September 30.
"People enter the arena in a kind of order, veterans first," Fay explained.
"People should stand. There will be memorial songs and prayer songs. The flags will be brought in -- native flags and the U.S. flag. Then the dancers enter..."
It's fun to just sit outside the circle and watch -- and admire the beauty and pride of the dancers and their beautiful tribal regalia, or traditional clothes. Everything is handmade from deerskin, fur, feathers, beads, porcupine quills and other materials!
And there will be plenty of other fun, including food and native people from more than 100 tribes selling native crafts, including bear claw necklaces, medicine bags, jewelry, artwork and sacred herbs and grasses to honor the earth.
Admission is free for kids 12 and under and for those 62 and older. Admission is $7 for everyone else.
Don't miss this joyous celebration honoring the First Children and First Peoples of Detroit, the nation, and the Americas!
By Patricia Chargot
Artwork by MARTHA THIERRY