August 04, 2007

No whoo-whoo at this powwow

Explore America's native history with the Bear Mountain Pow Wow, hosted by the Redhawk Native American Arts CouncilThe council presents traditions and societal contributions at these festivals by way of food, crafts, art, music and dance. "People are going to come to the event and they're not going to see people walking around with giant war bonnets or big buckskin shirts. They're going to see bright colors and beadwork and contemporary outfits. That's how we perform and dance now," Matias says.

"They're not going to see people putting their hands over their mouths going 'Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo' and they're not going to hear that 'boom-boom, boom-boom' drumbeat. The beat that we dance to is a steady beat that represents the heartbeat of the earth."

He also says that if you're driving to the pow-wow from the north on Route 9W, you'll see a giant sign that feeds into the stereotype.

"James I. O'Neill High School has that giant mascot," Matias laughs. "A school named after an Irish guy and they have this giant mascot of a Native American in a war bonnet from the Great Plains. It's those sort of things. The event is in line with combating that sort of stuff. If you don't know about Native America, then you don't know about America."

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