Pow Wow 2019 Keep Them Sacred

Community Engagement; Diversity; Students

Washington University’s 29th annual Pow Wow, a celebration of American Indian cultures, was held on Saturday, April 20, in the Field House on the Danforth Campus.

Hosted by the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies at the Brown School, the community event allows Native and non-Native people alike get together to dance, sing, and honor the traditions, cultures, and histories of Native peoples. The theme of this year’s event was “Keep Them Sacred: Honoring Generations of Indigenous Women.” More than 2,000 people attended, and representatives from many tribes across the Midwest participated. 

“This year’s Pow Wow was fantastic. It was amazing to watch all of the Buder staff and committee’s work pay off,” said Kelley McCall, an MSW/MPH student, enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, and co-chair of the 2019 Pow Wow. “It was a really positive experience to celebrate American Indian culture, on a beautiful campus, with Natives from across the country. The community contributions make this event a success every year.”

This year, two mothers wanted to celebrate their daughters’ first Pow Wow with a special induction ceremony. The girls were welcomed into the community and the celebration. The Pow Wow also featured an installation of the REDress Project, which honors missing and murdered indigenous women and was displayed at the university in 2018.

Washington University is located on Illini, Osage, and Miami land. Buder Center students believe that Pow Wow is a particularly important event for Native students and university staff, faculty, students and others to celebrate and honor indigenous peoples, as well as acknowledge the university’s own responsibility to make room for native history and culture today.

“Being a part of such an honored tradition reminded me of why I want to represent my Native culture and pursue my education revolving around strengthening American Indian/Alaska Native well-being,” said McCall. “Coming together as a Buder family and St. Louis community was indescribable.”