Dartmouth’s 42nd Pow-Wow: Celebrating Traditions

Drumming and dance competitions are among the events expected to attract 2,000 people on May 10 and 11 to Dartmouth’s 42nd Pow-Wow, a celebration of Native American culture.

The 42nd Dartmouth Pow-Wow will be held May 10 and 11. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

“Within these two categories, there are many different contests,” says Emily Harwell ‘16, co-president of the Dartmouth Pow-Wow committee, which is made up of 10 students. “For example, dancing competitions vary from tribe to tribe and the committee tries to capture all of the well known and expected forms of dance. This includes Fancy Shawl, Jingle, Grass, Chicken, and Eastern War. This list is very brief and does not capture all, but there are also more community participatory events, such as the Tiny Tots dance competition, intertribal dances, and fun dances such as the potato dance; look up the potato dance! It is actually quite fun!”

“Many alumni come back every year,” says Harwell. “The surrounding communities and even farther communities travel to this event. This year, we reached out to the other Ivy League schools and offered to host students who wished to come.”

Along with the drumming and dancing, there will be vendors selling Native American art, jewelry, clothing, crafts. and traditional Native American food.

“Curiosity is welcome!” says Harwell. “We spend all year planning this event, and so much time and effort is put into the logistics. Seeing people come together, regardless of race or ethnicity, celebrating Native American culture, is what gives me a sense of a job well done. The Pow-Wow is a learning experience, and for the community, a great way to see how Native Americans keep our cultures alive.”

In its earlier years, the Dartmouth’s Pow-Wow, which dates back to 1973, was held at the BEMA and then near Storrs Pond. The Pow-Wow is an inclusive celebration that lets community members participate and observe a variety of Native American music and dances.

The Pow-Wow, which runs from noon to 7 p.m. both days on the Green (rain location: Leede Arena), is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Special Programs and Events Committee, the Native American Alumni Association of Dartmouth, Native Americans at Dartmouth, and the Native American Program.