Upcoming powwow to uplift Native American community, educate students and community on culture

Photo+courtesy+of+University+Marketing+and+Communications%0A%0APOWWOW%E2%80%94The+Native+American+Student+Association+will+be+holding+a+virtual+celebration+to+educate+the+breakdown+of+a+traditional+powwow+with+dancers%2C+drum+songs+and+guest+speakers+about+the+celebration.

Photo courtesy of University Marketing and Communications POWWOW—The Native American Student Association will be holding a virtual celebration to educate the breakdown of a traditional powwow with dancers, drum songs and guest speakers about the celebration.

Joad Blaauw-Hara

On April 3 NMU’s Native American Student Association will be hosting a virtual powwow from 1 to 3 p.m. that will serve to educate students about Native American culture.

Bazile Panek, president of NASA, said that community members can expect to enjoy the event in many ways, including learning about the educational aspect of powwows.

“Many campus and community members may have attended the Learning to Walk Together Powwow in the past, and this virtual event will be a great way to learn about why annual powwows are so important to the Native American community,” Panek said. “This Powwow 101 event is a form of digital resilience because we’re continuing to share our culture together through this online space, in the face of the pandemic. In this way, we can still learn to walk together, even while apart.”

The event will feature culturally knowledgeable people who will be speaking about Native American powwows. This will include the importance of regalia and beadwork, proper etiquette when attending a powwow and how social media has allowed the spread of culture through a pandemic.

“The event will also include virtual drum and dance demonstrations,” Panek said.

Yrsala Peterson, vice-president and treasurer for NASA, further explained the educational aspect of this event, stating that the event will help educate the community about what a powwow is and why it is important.

“The Learning to Walk Together Powwow has been held for many years in Marquette, never failing to draw a crowd. While you can learn a lot about Native American culture just from attending, there are many facets of this event that have more depth that is usually unseen to a visitor’s eye,” Peterson said. “Powwow 101: Learning to Walk Together (While Apart) takes some extra space and time to communicate some of the teachings and meaning behind typical powwow traditions.”

Peterson continued by explaining the importance of events like these to the Native American community.

“Powwows are extremely important to the Native American community. They are one of the most vibrant expressions of our culture. Being without them through the pandemic has been hard for many, and events like this where you can at least hear the drum and see some dancing are much needed as we draw nearer to being able to safely sing and dance with one another again,” Peterson said. “Just hearing the drum for me right now is enough to bring tears to my eyes.”

Students can attend the event by either registering to attend via Zoom or watch via Facebook Live on NASA’s page. If students want to get involved with the organization or future events on campus, email [email protected] to be added to the email list or watch their Facebook page for updates.