Here's a great explanation of what a pow wow is, as explained in this year's program (you can click on the photo to get a bigger view of the wording):
This year, Livie was really excited about attending the pow wow. Having been to the two previous years' events, she remembered all the colorful regalia, the drumming, the singing, and the food.
Plus, there's just a . . . a "vibe" about it, where you can even feel the drumming, in addition to just hearing it with your ears. It's a visceral effect, the vibrations literally resonating within your body (if you're standing in just the right spot).
I'm posting two brief clips of the Grand Entrance, in hopes that they will work (they're each just under 30 seconds). You'll be able to see the Color Guard from the Meskwaki American Legion (from Tama, IA) with the flags in this first video clip:
Towards the end of this second video clip, you'll be able to hear the "jingle" from the ladies who are wearing "jingle dresses":
Anyway, I'm not going to talk too much about it; instead, I'll just let the still photos do the talking.
By the way, just as a note: the lighting in the University of Iowa's Recreation Building isn't the best for either iPhones or my Canon PowerShot (something very much like this camera), and since I got the camera as a hand-me-down (my dad had gotten a new camera and handed off this little camera to me, sans instruction booklet). So instead of fiddling with my camera and trying to get the adjustments just right with the lighting and action (it would've been hit-or-miss), I just did my best with my point-and-shoot phone camera.
Young pow wow dancers are waiting for their turn in the arena. (Instagram photo.)
Lunch! A fry bread (or "Indian"/"NDN") taco - ground beef with taco seasonings, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese on fry bread. Filling, but extremely tasty. (Instagram photo.)
Liv chose regular fry bread with a little bit of drizzled honey - very much like a Latin American sopaipilla. She couldn't wait to eat hers. They were freshly made and very hot, so she had to wait (very, VERY impatiently) for a couple minutes before digging in. (Regular iPhone photo.)
After eating our lunches, we decided to walk around the arena (inside the green "tennis/volleyball/basketball" area within the indoor track) to get closer, better views of the dancing and drumming. Also, there were vendors along the perimeter of the track, so we wanted to take a look at their wares. Obviously, there was a face painting booth. She chose a pink and black "half butterfly" pattern, which she LOVED wearing. (Regular iPhone photo.)
This is an Instagram photo detailing some fantastic beading on a young woman's regalia. The beadwork is so detailed and intricate. I'll bet it took someone HOURS to make this - there were two (or three - I can't remember now) of these rectangular pieces as detailed in the photo above - the piece with the turquoise, cream/off-white, red, yellow, and uh, "sand"(?) colored beads.
This is another Instagram photo of a woman's "jingle" dress. Those metallic objects are hollow cones. When the dress' wearer walks or dances, the cones clink against each other, making a jingling sound. It sounds fantastic listening to a group of women in jingle dresses dancing, especially with the drums and singing.
This is a close-up Instagram shot of that same dress. I love the purple shiny material. This one was one of my favorite dresses. Another favorite (which I unfortunately didn't get a photo of) was a turquoise-colored jingle dress.
On the second day, Livie just HAD to get her face painted again. This time, as you can see, she chose a full-faced purple butterfly. (Regular iPhone photo.)
While we were still at the pow wow, I just so happened to notice I was receiving an in-coming phone call from my dad. The only reason I knew was because I was holding up my phone, ready to take a photo. This was during a dance, so the drummers were drumming and singing - with the poor acoustics causing echoing in the building, it was hard to hear, and nearly impossible to realize one's phone was ringing.
I answered it, hoping we'd be able to hear each other. He said he was in the area and wanted to stop by to take us out to dinner. I'd mentioned we were at the pow wow and would be leaving in about 90 minutes (with a 45 minute drive home once we left). He said he was still a couple hours away, and what time did we think we'd get home? Well, it would be a while, even if he were still on the road a couple hours away - that would make planning a "what time should we meet?" tricky.
I told him we could meet in Coralville, IA, at a BBQ restaurant just off of I-80, knowing he'd be taking I-80 westbound to get home after his "Sunday drive." We were just minutes away from Coralville, and much farther away from home.
That worked out, as he was east of us in Muscatine, IA, heading west. And he'd be in our area (Iowa City/Coralville) around the time we were planning to leave, anyway. Plus, all he'd have to do after dinner is to keep heading west and he'd be home within a couple hours. When the weather's nice, he'll occasionally take a "Sunday drive" and end up in eastern Iowa, southwestern Wisconsin, southern Minnesota, or the like - he LOVES driving the open road.
We ended up meeting him at a place called Bandana's BBQ in Coralville, IA around 5 PM. Livie chose the kids' rib basket (2 ribs, some garlic bread, corn, and BBQ beans). I chose the pulled pork sandwich and BBQ beans. My dad and Andrew both chose the BBQ sausage, beans, corn, okra and garlic bread. It hit the spot. We wrapped up with freshly made donut holes, which tasted exactly like funnel cake from the State Fair!
As soon as we were finished, we said goodbye to my dad. Nonno (meaning "grandpa" in Italian) then headed to his car and we headed to ours. Livie immediately said, "I miss Nonno already."
Fortunately, we'll be seeing them next month, probably. They live about 140 miles from us (about a 2.5 hour drive), and we usually make it out to their house about once a month.
All in all it was a fantastic weekend.