All righty then! Let’s wrap this three-parter up with the dancing that makes a Pow Wow like this so enjoyable. I have to admit that I’m not very well versed on the dances themselves, or on the songs that go with them, so most of this entry is going to be devoted to the photos. I took about a hundred of them, and in this entry, I’ll present the best ten percent or so.
I started the dancing discussion off last time with what I called the honor guard — a group consisting of an apparent shaman and several soldiers dressed in BDUs, with the latter carrying U.S., Texas, and other flags — but I really didn’t get very far before I had to end that particular entry due to space constraints. The honor guard was follow by a rather large retinue of dancers, both male and female and of all ages, who filed out after the guard while the accompanying musicians drummed and the singers sang various songs, including one honoring all those who passed away during the year. Here’s a shot of a few of the guys, as they were waiting around for everything to start:
I mentioned in an earlier entry that while many of the dancers were clearly Native American, quite a few seemed to be at least mostly Anglo. There was, for example, this young man with a goatee and very curly hair, who wore a rather nice outfit:
Dunno what’s up with that. As I also mentioned, there were a few folks in the dance line who were significantly paler than I, too, and I’m fairly pale. This fellow, for example:
He seemed quite into the proceedings, though, and you can’t blame a guy just because he was born into the wrong culture (if indeed he was; he may just be a very pale Indian). I’d like to point out that I wouldn’t have the guts to dance in such an event, incidentally, even if I was a full-blooded Native American. This young ‘un didn’t mind, though — she seemed to be enjoying herself.
Most of the people involved in the dance, however, looked Indian, though given the Pan-Indian theme of most of the outfits, there was really no indication of tribal affiliation. That’s okay — the event was fun, the dancing vigorous and underlined with a driving beat, and the costumes were incredible. I’d imagine that it takes an astonishing amount of work to put together one of these, especially the ones that contain intricate bead and feather work. Take a look at these three guys, all of which had their own individual sartorial styles:
Still, they were plain compared to these gentlemen. I don’t believe that fluorescent colors were actually available to Indians before the European invasion, but if they had been, I’m sure they’d have been used. Suffice it to say that I really had to squint to take this picture, because the colors are particularly bright under the early afternoon sun.
The best descriptive term for these guys is “impossible to miss.”
This young man, who was dancing (practicing?) outside in the parking lot looked like he was a teenager, and probably was. Obviously, he was taking his costuming cue from the fluorescent guys already in the arena, as were his friends, though to a lesser extent. I suspect there was a kid’s dance coming up, but I’m afraid I missed it.
Now, lest I leave the impression that this was a male-dominated event, allow me to squash that impression right now. There were plenty of women dancing, and in fact there were women only dances as well. Here are just a few of the lovely ladies who were dancing. Note the sunglasses on two of them; this was pretty typical of the clash between old and the new that was common at the Pow Wow. You get used to it, though.
To wrap it all up, let me just say that I very much enjoyed my two days at the Pow Wow, and will doubtless attend next year. As of yet, the date hasn’t been firmed up for that Pow Wow, but it will certainly occur in September; it has for more than 40 years so far. Mark your calendars, folks, and keep an eye on my 2009 Events Calendar for more information. At the moment it’s bare, but I’ll have at least a skeletal version up within the next week or so.
Meanwhile, for more information on Trader’s Village and all it offers, check out their website at http://www.tradersvillage.com/en/grandprairie. After all, it’s where Shopping, Festivals, and Family Fun were invented. Says so right there on their splash page.