Culture Powwow Celebrates Tribal Practices

(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

By Kylee Ehmann

(Photo by Dane Goodwin)
(Photo by Dane Goodwin)

The normal quiet of lower campus on a weekend was broken as hundreds of American Indians from Utah, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming came to the Union for two days of traditional foods, songs and dances.

The U’s Inter-Tribal Student Association hosted its 43rd annual “Sustaining Our Culture Powwow” this weekend. The annual event is a way for the U’s American Indian population to celebrate and retain their cultural practices and connect with people from other tribes across the intermountain west.

Beginning Friday evening and continuing through Saturday, the Powwow was a two-day long array of food, culture and dance. There were numerous tables of state-sold handmade jewelry, artwork, blankets and clothing made by American Indians.

One of these vendors, Valerie Nelson, a Navajo tribe member from Keams Canyon, Ariz., was selling handmade jewelry. Nelson said it was the first time she and her family attended a Powwow.

“We’re really glad to be here,” Nelson said. “We get to visit a lot of our friends and meet new people.”

During the final session on Saturday evening, the drum circles began their song as the color guard carried in the flags of Utah, the U.S., Canada and POW/MIA for prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action. Dancers dressed in the colorful regalia of the American Indian tribes across the intermountain west were led by the Head Man, Rulan Reymus (Northern Ute), and the Head Woman, Sierra Pete (Diné).

As the Grand Entry ended, the spiritual advisor, Bob Taylor Sr. (Northern Ute), blessed the arena, dancers, audience and participants.

The dancers competed with each other in groups based on gender and age, including a “tiny tots” category. There were also intertribal dances where everyone danced together and one event where audience members were invited to join in.

Kyra John, a Navajo and Cherokee tribe member from Logan, Utah, said the Powwow felt like a family affair because “it’s a place for being myself, doing what I love.”

The event was free and open to everyone as part of an effort to educate people about different aspects of American Indian cultures.

Earlier in the week the association hosted events related to the Powwow, including the Miss American Indian Woman Scholar Pageant and the Native American High School Conference “ImagiNative: Exceeding Expectations,” which invited American Indian and Alaska Native high school students to the U.

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