Vanished Worlds, Enduring People
Sideshow to Powwow
Poster. Seventh Annual Cornell University Powwow and Smokedance. Ithaca, New York, 2005. [view]
Powwows today are strong public demonstrations of Native American identity. Dancing together, Indians celebrate their individual tribal heritages, and commonalities with other native groups. While the origin of the powwow as a social gathering lies in the Plains, today they are held in nearly every major city in the United States and Canada, and in small communities throughout. Powwow music centers around several drummers, seated around a large drum, who lead the songs accompanied by men and women standing behind them. The dancers’ attire is usually determined by the type of dances performed. Powwows today often feature dance competitions with prizes for the winners. Men compete in Traditional, Grass, and Fancy dances, while women dance Jingle, Shawl, and Traditional dances.
The American Indian Program at Cornell University celebrates its 8th Annual Cornell Powwow and Smokedance in April 2006.