I absolutely love going to powwows, and have been going to powwows a few years now. Powwows are a chance to mingle with other people, to watch dancing and to have fun. However, the LaCrosse powwow was incredibly awful, and here’s why.
My grandfather was half Choctaw and half Cherokee. I am very proud of my heritage. Granted, I do not flaunt the fact that I am Native American, I take pride in my culture.
In any case, I attended the Rendevous Powwow with two other people. I like going to powwows, and I enjoy mingling with other First Nations’ people while I’m in attendance. I expected this to be bigger than it was; especially since it was in the paper. However, this was behind a fire station, and was quite small. I was a bit disappointed, but I was still looking forward to what I thought was going to be an exciting day.
We went by the ‘donation’ tent, where you paid two dollars to get in. We walked around to the different shops and tents they had up. The first thing we noticed was that there were barely any … tribal members? (Actually, there were hardly any people there at all.) There were mostly biker-looking men and white women dressed up in fur vests or twining feathers in their hair. Aren’t pow wows supposed to include native people?
I guess that is a terribly wrong thing to think.
The dancers were getting ready to perform; after all that is what I had gone to see. I enjoy watching cultures mesh, I enjoy the drums and the singing. I enjoy how much people seem to take a great pride in trying their best to dance fluidly, sing powerfully, or play their drums well.
Again this was not the case.
I do not know much about the Metis people, but what I do know is that hardly any of the dancers were First Nations’ people … or at least they didn’t seem that way. What was really awe-inducing was the fact that they dressed so sloppily, danced even worse than that, and sang in ENGLISH. I have never been to a single powwow where people have not even seemed to TRY to be involved. The people I took with me had a terrible time and spent it all laughing at the people dancing; or the lack-of, really. I felt so embarrassed. I felt ashamed, and most of all I was angry.
I’m not sure if these people were actors. If they were, they need to go to a drama class and learn how to immerse yourself in a character.
I’m not sure if these people were tribal members. If they are, then they need to take a look at themselves. Are they PROUD to be what they are? Are they ashamed? Are they pretending to be something they are not?
All I have to say is be true to yourself. If you’re not something, don’t pretend to me. It doesn’t bother me that you’re white and dancing at a powwow, if you’re trying. But if you’re not going to try, not going to dress right, not going to even SEEM like you want to do this then put down your regalia, sit down, keep quiet, and not give false impressions to interested people.