June 9th through 11th marked White Earth’s 149th annual June Powwow. The powwow at White Earth is a festive time for families, friends, and visitors to gather and enjoy singing, dancing, and food. A variety of vendors have booths at the White Earth powwow. Beadwork, jewelry, fry bread, food, crafts, regalia, and more can be found at the powwow. The origin of the powwow is disputed by some, but colonization and history has influenced the modern meaning of powwow.
“The term “Powwow,” according to Harcourt Brace dictionary, “comes from the Algoquian Indian word “pau wau, “meaning he dreams.” A Powwow was originally an Indian medicine man or priest, who was presumed to have learned his art from his dreams. The “Pau wau” may have originally had religious significance, but today’s Powwow does not present itself as a religious event. However, isolated songs, activities and articles worn by the dancers have actual spiritual significance. Modern Powwows are social events that are generally open to the public.”- Dennis Zotigh
Why does it matter? Until 1978, it was unlawful for Native Americans to practice religious ceremonies freely in the United States without fear of imprisonment. When the American Indian Religious Freedom Act finally passed in 1978, it was established to protect the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of Indigenous people in the US. Some of these rights include but are not limited to: access of sacred sites, repatriation of sacred objects, freedom to worship through ceremonial and traditional rites (including within prisons), and use and possession of objects considered sacred. The Act requires policies of all governmental agencies to eliminate interference with the free exercise of Native religion, based on the First Amendment.
You can check out our beadwork and jewelry by clicking here!
The Powwows you see today have been shaped and influenced by colonization, and have become an intertribal gathering. Many powwows are contest powwows. At contest powwows, people compete in different dance categories. Powwows are an opportunity to enjoy the drum, dance, craft, food, and regalia of a variety of Native people, depending on the powwow.
At Native Harvest, we sell beadwork and jewelry that is hand crafted with care by White Earth community members. Check out our beautiful selection of jewelry, add it to your regalia, or just wear it to the next powwow you attend! Maybe you’ll see us there. Check out these flyers of upcoming powwows in the area.