Pow Wow 2018: ‘Balancing Two Worlds’

Community Engagement; Diversity

The theme of this year’s Pow Wow at Washington University in St. Louis is “Balancing Two Worlds: Indigenous Teachings, Traditions and Truths.”

The 28th annual event, a celebration of American Indian cultures, will be held Saturday, April 21, in the Washington University Field House on the Danforth Campus. Hosted by the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies at the Brown School, the event is free and open to the public.

“This year, the Pow Wow committee wanted to highlight the role of both Euro-Western academics and indigenous knowledge,” said Joanna Milner, master’s of social work student and first-year co-chair the event. “Native communities hold thousands of years of knowledge and traditions, and the passage of those teachings to the next generation is an important practice.

“The ‘Two Worlds’ aspect refers to the dual roles that many indigenous groups must navigate, and the efforts that are required to keep traditional knowledge alive,” she said.

Doors open at 10 a.m. Grand entries will be at noon and 6 p.m. The event features Native American arts and crafts, dance contests, food and more.

“Pow Wows are exciting for all the beauty they bring,” said Julian Wahnee, a member of the Comanche Nation Tribe of Oklahoma, and also Navajo from Shiprock, N.M., and a member of the contest committee. “The event is significant because it celebrates the many tribal cultures, traditions and struggles. It allows us to dance, sing and laugh, while rekindling and creating new relationships and honoring our ancestors sacrifice and struggles to continue this way of life.

“It is a way we make sure our ancestors’ sacrifice does not go unhonored,” he said.

Said Milner: “The Pow Wow is a great opportunity for the Washington University community to learn more about Native culture and Pow Wow traditions. Attendees will have the opportunity to watch dancing, try an Indian taco, to support Native artists and craftspeople, and to fully experience an Intertribal Pow Wow.”