Why Do We Have Powwows?

by Shianna Colon (Age 9), Nanticoke Indian

As you might know we Indians, celebrate by having powwows. Incase powwows are not familiar to you they are a celebration used by Indians. These Powwows help all Indians come together and celebrate their heritage. Let me take you into a more descriptive paragraph to tell you why we have Powwows. I will also tell you more facts about our Powwows.

Some people celebrate by parties, but we Indians have Powwows instead. Powwows help our people come together and remember that it is our job to keep our heritage alive. At these Powwows, we serve food such as succotash – which is lima beans with corn, fry bread, Indian Tacos, hotdogs and hamburgers, and much more. As for drinks, we have a various number of food stands that also serve drinks such as water or soda, but there is one stand that serves just drinks. In the afternoon we have a dance session. That is when all dancers gather in a circle and dance our dances. We tell the stories of how each regalia came to be. Dances are Jingle, Traditional, Women’s Fancy, Hoop, Men’s Fancy and many more. Some of these dances such as, Traditional are slower then maybe, Jingle or Fancy. Hoop dancing is done very fast as you dance with the hoops. There is one dance called the Eagle Dance. You dance gracefully just as if you were a Eagle. You flap your wings and start to dance. People make Eagle noises too. Jingle and Fancy are dances that require maybe a tad bit more time to learn than traditional. Each jingle for the Jingle dress represents a prayer. There are 365 Jingles on a Jingle Dress. The fancy, is where you have a shawl around you and dance. If you have a sharp eye you will see how the dancer gently lifts her feet off the ground. Now the Traditional Dress is done slowly but peacefully. You step on beat swaying back and forth. With each step you make you are gracefully dancing. Moccasins are the shoes you would wear when attending the powwow. Well, not attending but if you were dancing. But with Jingle you might want to wear leggings. The Nanticoke Indian Powwow is about two days. It is in September. I am not sure what date but I think it is sometime after Labor Day. The days of powwow are Saturday and Sunday. People who do not completely understand Indians might refer to regalia as costumes, but I will assure you that ARE NOT costumes. These are the dresses we dance with. These dresses keep our culture alive. These dresses mean everything to our culture and without them we would not be remembered now or in the nearby future. So next time you think of Indians think of this.

I hope you learned more about the Nanticoke Indian Powwow now. We still celebrate our culture but in a different way than you might do if you are not an Indian. Remember we Indians would never be remembered by what we live for if we did not have this Powwow yearly. I hope to see the Nanticoke Indian Powwow in the future. If not come on down and stop by the Nanticoke Indian Museum. They have a lot of stuff for you to see, like a wolf that was once alive. We even have things to buy.

All that is why we have Powwows.

Written By: Shianna Colon (Age 9), Nanticoke Indian

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