Apr 112004
 
Authors: Danielle Rubio

Saturday’s winter weather did not stop a crowd from enjoying the

various festivities a powwow can offer. From food to spectacular

dances, to vendors selling anything from jewelry to essential oils,

there was something for everyone at the 12th annual Spring Contest

Powwow and Indian Market.

“I have never been to a powwow before,” said Trish Leyh, a

Missouri resident who came with friends. “It’s really neat.”

The Northern Colorado International Powwow Association, Inc.,

hosted the event at the First National Bank Exhibition Hall, at the

Larimer County Fairgrounds in Loveland. The event honored Native

American individuals and the community as a whole.

Powwows are Native American gatherings involving song, dance and

drums. Visitors came from all over the United States to

participate.

“This is important because it keeps our traditions going,” said

Michael Alley, the Master of Ceremonies Announcer for the special

Gourd Dance and member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and the Rosebud

Sioux tribe. “It makes you feel good.”

The MC’s job is to keep everything running smoothly by

announcing the sequence of events and introducing the dances. In

particular, Alley announced the Gourd Dance, which took place in

the morning.

This year’s theme was, “Honoring Our Drums- Honoring Our

Singers,” and the importance of those words could not have been

more stressed.

“(The drum) is the heartbeat of the gathering,” said Philip

Minthorn, from the Crow tribe of the Pawnees, who helped with the

event.

Each drum has its own name with its own collection of drummers,

according to Minthorn. The Host Drums, which had the honor of being

played this year, were the Host Northern Drum and the Host Southern

Drum. The drummers are expected to know the songs requested of them

by the committee, according to the powwow’s program. Each drum has

its own history behind it.

The combination of each song and dance originated from a certain

tribe. The dancers also represented a tribe with their costumes.

Varying in colors and elaborateness, each costume was unique from

the next. In Native American culture, the costumes must be worn

with care.

If any major part of the attire falls off during the contest,

the person is disqualified. According to Minthorn, if a feather

worn by some of the dancers is dropped, a special ceremony must be

done before the feather can be picked up.

Each year, a certain person is honored for their participation

in the Native American community. This year it was Bob Iron, who

was honored for his singing talents — a high honor in the Native

American community. He has served as the Drum Keeper for the

Northern Colorado Intertribal Powwow Association since 1992.

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