This past weekend, I was invited to attend the “Celebrate ABILITIES” pow wow in Houma, Louisiana and it was a truly amazing experience.
This was a relatively small pow wow, especially when compared to the giant gatherings at national celebrations where people come from all over the country to participate and enjoy. This pow wow was clearly put together by a smaller community and was very family-oriented, most of the participants in dance competitions were children and teens. I look forward to attending one soon that runs on a larger scale, but it was very pleasant to watch the engagement of families in this more closely-knit community gathering.
There were vendors selling various food items including fry bread tacos (plus, gumbo and snow balls –local staples here in Louisiana). There were also several crafts-people who were selling handmade items from tables off to the side of the drum circle. It was great getting to speak with them and support some small local businesses. It is clear that a tremendous amount of care and attention to detail must go into these crafts and costumes and I find it very inspiring.
An announcer opened the celebration with a prayer, including a special thanks for all of the US Veterans. There was also a ceremonial presentation of a flag which had flown at the twin towers on 9/11 and had been given to the Cheyenne River Veterans for them to preserve and share. Drumming and singing soon followed and for the next 5 hours there were various displays of dancing which honored not only the ancestors and veterans, but also the young children who were relatively new to the pow wow experience.
Things were winding down a bit as I was leaving around 4pm, but in reality they were only taking a short break before beginning the evening events which I’m sure were just as powerful, if not more.
I would strongly recommend to anyone who is interested that you find and attend a pow wow event. You can even go to powwows.com to learn more and also to check the calendar for events in various geographical regions!
Have any cool stories from pow wows you’ve been to? Or thoughts/tips/facts for me in my continuing journey of exploring Native American traditions and cultures? If so, please comment below! Or you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org