The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 17, 2013

Bob Garrett's No Child Left Indoors column: Power of the pow wow

"Go into nature to be soothed and healed, to have your senses put in order."

The native people of our area were connected with nature. Some would say that they were "one with nature." They had to be. They could not survive without an inextricable connection to the world around them. One possible tradition that survives to this day from the native people of our valley is the pow wow.

Historically, pow wows were simply the Native American people's way of meeting with one another. To this day, joining together with dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships and making new ones is at the core of the modern pow wows. A child who doesn't want to be left indoors might just find Native American culture and the preservation of the rich American Indians' heritage a great way to spend the waning days of summer.

There are many different stories about of how pow wows were started. The prevailing thought is that War Dance Societies of the Ponca and other plains tribes were the genesis of this tradition. If so, pow wowing may be a latter day tradition to the eastern woodland tribes. There's also considerable thought that pow wows were a push back against our federal government as more and more tribes were relegated to reservations.

No matter how they got started, pow wows today are a lot of fun and a great way to spend the day in the out of doors. Next weekend, the Kipona Pow Wow returns to City Island, in the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg. This three-day event opens on Friday evening, Aug. 31 with the grand entry parade and runs through Labor Day on Monday. More than 100 dancers are expected from the Iroquois Nation, Old Bridge and several Order of the Arrow lodges. The Aztec Fire Dancers will be there again this year with their fanciful and fast-paced dance steps.

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