July 14, 2006

All about powwows

Return of the NativeSince the powwow style of dancing, drumming and singing was not universal among all of the 500 currently recognized American Indian tribes, today's celebrations are a blend of cultures and traditions.

The word itself hails from the Algonquin language, and many of the powwow dances originated among the Plains Indians. A staffer from the Southern California Indian Center in Los Angeles says, "Every tribe had its own way of doing things, but traditions were lost when people moved off the land. Now people get together at powwows to get back in touch with the traditions."

According to Levchuk, many Indians "bring their children so they can learn to dance, learn songs and be exposed to traditions in an intertribal way."

Powwows have some elements in common with craft fairs and county fairs, including an abundance of booths selling food, clothing and jewelry. However, here you're likely to find buffalo burgers, fry bread, Indian tacos, and traditional stews along with the corn dogs and cotton candy.

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