Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pow Wow Time at the University!

Yesterday, Livie, Andrew, and I went to the 18th Annual Pow Wow at the University of Iowa. It was a BLAST! (Just a note: I took some photos and videos, but it was with my little point 'n' shoot Kodak Easyshare C340, so they're not the best photos. But they're good enough to give you an idea.)

We first went out for breakfast; we'd gone to Hy-Vee (a grocery store chain in the area), because they had a cafeteria. Liv and I had gotten pancakes (I had no idea they'd be the size of dinner plates!) and bacon, plus mine came with a side of eggs (scrambled). Andrew got eggs, toast, hash browns. The portions were HUGE (I didn't know they'd be so gigantic), so we walked out of there well fed.

After our commute down to the university (about 45 minutes), we found the Rec Building. Doors opened at 10 AM, but we'd gotten there around 11:30 AM. It worked out just right, because that's the time I'd wanted to arrive. The "Grand Entrance" was scheduled for noon, and I didn't want to miss it; by arriving 30 minutes early, I wanted to be sure we had time to park, buy our tickets, go potty, and take a look around.

Anyway, the "Grand Entrance" is where all the pow wow participants line up and dance into the dance area - all done up in their regalia - while the drummers and singers provide the music.

Well, I guess there was a technical issue with the loudspeaker equipment, so the emcee kept us up-to-date and entertained (with lots of talking and stories) while the issue was resolved. (Half the center could hear and understand him, loud and clear. The other half? While the volume was fine, the clarity was not - he sounded really garbled.

 Here's a shot of the Rec Building about 15 minutes before the festivities started.


After working on the equipment for about 20-25 minutes, the Grand Entrance finally started around 12:30. That made me remember something my Native American Literature professor had said: it's rare for a pow wow to start on time, since there's usually a glitch. He was right, at least for this pow wow!

The Grand Entrance was awesome to watch and to feel - the drums caused this great vibration, and you could feel it in your core. Yes, putting it that way kinda sounds spiritual, but it was, in a sense. I was totally absorbed.
Here's a shot of the Grand Entrance.


After a song about victory, and another thanking veterans for serving our country (which was awesome - I got a little teary-eyed), the dancing, singing, and drumming started.

Livie couldn't sit still; she kept getting up and dancing to the beat. It was hard not to - the beat was mesmerizing. Since it was in the "rec" center, there was an indoor track in the building. Inside the track oval, was the tennis (and volleyball?) area, which is where the dancing occurred, sans nets, of course. Livie couldn't sit still, so we'd get up and walk around the track, and we were still able to watch the dancing. She'd dance along beside me as we walked around.

Our full bellies eventually digested our breakfast, leaving us hungry again. There were food vendors, so we went and got a couple fry breads. These are akin to sopaipillas or funnel cakes. They can be sweet or savory, depending on the toppings. For instance, you could order a taco, with the fry bread as the "tortilla." Or you could get one with a bit of honey on it, or even powdered sugar.

Livie and I ordered ours plain, because I like to savor the taste of it, and I wanted to see how Liv liked it before we got one with stuff loaded onto it. No photo - we gobbled 'em up too fast! Oh, and some time later, Andrew bought some bison jerky. It was really good - some of it was regular, and some was super spicy. We at a little, and the rest we saved for later.

At one point, I ran into a professor who is also the adviser for the American Indian Studies Program at UI.  She and I spoke for a few minutes, and I introduced her to Andrew and Livie. (I mispronounced her name and was so embarrassed; she was so gracious, though, about helping me pronounce it correctly.) I'd mentioned that Livie really enjoyed dancing to the drumming/singing. She said that later on, if time permitted, there'd be an "Inter-tribal" dance, where anybody could go in the middle to dance. She said if that occurred, we could go in and have fun.

I hoped that we'd be able to take part, and hoped that Livie would not get too pooped/crabby and want to leave before the Inter-tribal dance took place.

Well, thankfully, she did a great job the whole day! And we were there for a while! But the whole atmosphere was amazing, so we really did have a lot of fun.

Buying her this purple butterfly/feather hair clip helped keep her chipper!



 The gentleman in the yellow regalia was a spectacular dancer; I enjoyed watching him. But all the dancers were absolutely amazing!


I ran into my Native American Literature professor late in the afternoon. I was hoping to introduce Livie to him, but she and Andrew were off looking at something while I was getting some bottled waters. My professor and I talked for a few minutes, and I told him how one thing or another reminded me of stuff we talked about in class. We laughed about some funny stuff we'd talked about and I suddenly missed my Uncle Hector. It was just that kind of conversation "UH" and I would've had. Before we parted ways with a "see you later," he reminded me to have Livie dance in the Inter-tribal, to which I agreed.

Livie was about to explode with excitement. Andrew backed away, refusing to take part. I told her to go ahead and I'd take photos. But when she gave me the pouty lip look, I went in with her. I was a bit nervous at first, but then got into it, again being mesmerized by the drumming and singing. This was a blast, even though Livie suddenly got really shy partway through, and made me carry her, all 37.6 pounds of her.

For me, "dancing" in the Inter-tribal was the highlight.

Here are a couple video clips of the dancing. 

The gentleman in the yellow (on the far side of the dance area), with all the yellow fringe swinging about - I loved watching him dance. When Livie and I were out "dancing," he was out there, near us, and it was so incredibly cool seeing him dance up close. But they were ALL incredible to watch.
video

Video ©Sonya Heilmann April 2011


Liv and I enjoyed watching these girls performing a "jingle dance" in their "jingle" dresses. They had these metal (aluminum?) cones sewn onto their dresses. These conical bells would jingle when they moved.
video
Video ©Sonya Heilmann April 2011

2 comments:

Nancy said...

I would love to go to one of those someday. They are all around here, so I may just have to do that. :)

Great photos and interesting facts. Thank you!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What a fun time! I'd have loved to have gone1

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