Courtesy Christal Moose
Larry Yazzie, observing at a pow wow.

Expect Higher Attendance at Pow Wows in 2015; More Streaming

Tish Leizens

What is going to happen in the pow wow world in 2015?

It looks like it’s all good news: a better economy and lower gas prices could mean greater attendance at pow wows. ICTMN asked pow wow regulars, and those who travel to pow wows, to share their perspectives on what 2015 will bring for the pow wow world.

Michael Knapp: Men’s Northern Traditional dancer, designer and owner of KQ Designs Custom Beadwork

“Now that gas prices are lower, I think dancers are going to travel more and more to pow wows. With a better economy, we will see some new clothes and nice sets of beadwork this year. People are starting to incorporate contemporary colors with more traditional designs. Young people want the traditional patterns of their tribes, while continuing with contemporary beads and finishes.”

Larry Yazzie: Champion Fancy dancer, founder and artistic director of Native Pride Arts

“It’s becoming more of a trend to live-stream pow wows in more locations. I think this is great because live-streaming gives the people who aren’t able to travel the ability to enjoy pow wows so they can follow their favorite dancers and dancers can keep an eye on their respective categories.”

Joseph Standing Bear Schranz: 
Founder/President of Midwest SOARRING Foundation Pow Wows

“I see the young people becoming interested again. The renewed interest is encouraging me. I think they are watching the First Nations Channel, and really looking at it; they realize that a lot of us are still alive and doing this. It sparks their interest.

“My sense is that a good pow wow should have lots of social elements in the arena and outside the arena. It is a social function, and it is a good way for people to meet each other. One of the things we did differently last year was the Grizzly Bear Dance. It was phenomenal. I am really happy people gather around the dancer. We need role models like her.

“These days we are smothered by technology. We should use more of the spirit. I see that beginning to happen. I am encouraged.”

Paula Nelson: Living history educator, performer and multimedia artist

“[In 2015], There will be more female leadership in the drum circle. I definitely see more female presence at hand drums. Before, females at hand drums was taboo. It is happening because it is supposed to happen. People are starting to see that traditions have a beginning. New things have to happen to become new traditions. When it comes to regalia, dancers are sticking to their own particular tribe and competing in their own tribal gear.”

Winn Harjo: Chikasha Hithla. Chickasaw Stomp dancer

“The Southeastern stomp dance is getting to be popular through different states. When people see Native American dances they think of it as feathers, but we wear leather leggings and ribbon shirts. When they see us demonstrating the dance they like it, and they want to see more of it. We have full calendar in 2015 that will include performing in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Texas and possibly Florida.”

Amy Morris: Cira Photography and Design

“In the past couple of years, I have seen a noticeable change in the youth dancers. They are really putting great effort into making sure their regalia and dance are representing traditional ways. I have seen a level of maturity in these young dancers that shows in their skill and confidence when they enter the arena. It’s hard to take your eyes off of them. They enter and you think—awww, well this will be cute, expecting them to be somewhat awkward and clumsy— but they immediately correct your misconceptions with spot on footwork, excellent timing and a commanding presence.” 


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