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A Native American Powwow

BY HANNAH KRAMER | APRIL 09, 2010 7:30 AM

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Luisa Orticelli is delighted to offer more than just a lecture to people interested in learning about the history of the Native American Powwow.

The director of the Latin Native American Cultural Center organized a free pre-Powwow event taking place from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in C20 Pomerantz Career Center.

“My goal is to bring in non-Native Americans to the performance to learn more about the culture,” Orticelli said.

One group of participants, high-school students from the Upward Bound program, will be offered a dinner at the Cultural Center as a welcome before the event.

Orticelli said she was able to put together a bigger and better event than expected because of funding from numerous organizations. Native Pride Dancers from Minnesota playing flutes and drums, dancing, and telling stories of their heritage will be the main act. Also featured will be an interactive history of the Powwow and a question-and-answer session.

After the kickoff on Friday night, festivities will continue at the UI Recreation Building. The dancing, drumming and Native American cultural celebration will be held with three sessions: noon to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. April 11. The organization hopes to draw a large crowd.

“What we are really trying to do is bring it back to its former glory,” said Orriena Snyder, a member of the Latin Native American Cultural Center and an event planner.

Before the 10,000 Hours show and Dance Marathon grew large followings, the annual Native American Powwow was the biggest student-run event on campus.

Orticelli and Snyder agree it is important to bring in new people who haven’t been to an event such as this or are not part of the Native American community. Healthy competition is a good way to persuade people to attend, they said.

The Powwow runs like a dance competition. Groups of dancers perform in traditional Native American styles against others in the same category, Snyder said.

Although the Native American population at the UI is small, it is growing, and members planning the event hope for a successful turn out.

The group of about 15 planning the event said it is a lot of work but “well worth it,” Snyder said.

Orticelli hopes the pre-Powwow will encourage people to attend the weekend event and that it will lead into days of cultural recognition.

“We are trying to reignite that passion and hoping to get the community involved,” Snyder said.



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