Nov 022011
Authors: Andrew Carrera

Students won’t see just any chicken dance on the Lory Student Center Plaza Friday morning.

“They’re covered usually with bright colors, matching regalia, lots of feathers and bells,” said Nicole Kenote, president of CSU’s Native American Student Services Association (NASSA).

And they won’t be eating your everyday Mexican taco.

“The shell is made of frybread,” said the senior biomedical sciences major. “We then add ground beef and every other taco topping like tomatoes, onions, beans, lettuce and cheese.”

In fact, students walking along the Plaza from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. tomorrow won’t be having an average day by any means.

That’s because NASSA and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society are hosting a drum group performance and frybread sale to raise the university’s awareness of Native American culture and encouraging passing students to attend their 29th annual Pow-wow taking place Saturday afternoon.

The event is being used partially as a way to kick off Native American Heritage Month, which lasts through the end of November and is marked by various other events hosted by CSU’s Native American Cultural Center.

“It’s like any other event we have on campus, we want to bring the students together in an exciting environment and to bring students something they may have never seen or experienced before …” said Sky Medicine Bear, one of the event’s main organizers. “College is about opening your mind to new experiences from the world around you and Pow-wow is one of the oldest and most unique traditions in the U.S.”

At the event, expect to see elaborate, detailed and authentic cultural displays like dances by members of the Ute, Arapahoe, Sioux, Navajo, Shashone, Blackfeet, Pawnee, Cherokee, Choctaw and other tribes.
“Primarily, the different dances are the men’s northern traditional, southern traditional, grass, fancy and they have a chicken dance,” said Delbert Willie, an electrical engineering PhD candidate who’s helping organize the events.

“It’s not the chicken dance that you’re thinking of,” Kenote said.

Willie said the dance being presented at the event is deeply rooted in Native American culture, originating from tribes in the upper American Midwest.

“All the dances that are typically found at Pow-wows are all from various tribes,” he added. “We’re all not one tradition. The Pow-wow allows everyone to express their unique cultural backgrounds. You’ll see that in the dance styles.”

In addition to the arts and crafts vendors, the Indian taco stand, frybread booth, Little Shop of Physics presentation, drum groups and comedians, be sure to pay attention to the main feature of the event called the “Grand Entry.” It happens at the beginning of the Pow-wow’s two sessions, taking place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“They bring in the eagle staff, the U.S. flag from the veteran’s office, and then the head dancers,” Willie said.

It’s Medicine Bear’s favorite part.

“You can see just how many different dancers made the trip in order to participate in the celebration. It also shows the different types of artwork that each individual put into their unique regalia,” said the senior electrical engineering major.

Other students just might agree with him as the Pow-wow has seen an increase in attendance over the past few years. In 2009, 800 went, which increased to 1,200 in 2010. Organizers are expecting 1,500 this year.

“These numbers include not only CSU and Fort Collins residents … our event has grown so popular that people travel from across the country to attend,” Medicine Bear said. “This means that we are gaining national recognition, which makes us feel proud.”

The largest Pow-wow in Colorado is located in Denver. The Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, N. M. is the largest one in the U.S., drawing more than 500 tribes annually.

Approximately 110 American Indians attended CSU in fall 2010, which dropped from last year’s total of 401. The 2010 U.S. Census Bureau reported that 55,321 Native Americans call Colorado home. The Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Indian Reservations can also be found within state lines.

“In no other part of the world can someone experience this celebration and the CSU Pow-wow brings some of the greatest performers in the nation to our campus,” Medicine Bear added.

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at


Drum Group

Performance and Frybread Sale

Friday, Nov. 4

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Lory Student Center Plaza

CSU 29th Annual Pow-wow

Pow-wow: 12 – 10 p.m.

Grand Entry: 1 – 7 p.m.

Lory Student Center, Main Ballroom

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