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
“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
This year’s theme was, “Honoring Our Drums- Honoring Our
Singers,” and the importance of those words could not have been
“(The drum) is the heartbeat of the gathering,” said Philip
Minthorn, from the Crow tribe of the Pawnees, who helped with the
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
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.