Powwow brings Native American heritage to campus


MaKayla Brown

Roy Bailey (left) and Dustin Mayfield (right) dance at the Native American Pow Wow hosted by the Native American Student Association Saturday, April 26, 2014.

Kara Taylor

Roy Bailey’s intense and precise movements are paired with the musician’s beat of the drum and native rhythms.

His traditional regalia, made of beadwork, fringe, turkey spikes, rabbit fur and ribbon, bounced along with the intricate footwork of the Fancy Feather Dance.

“The Fancy Feather Dance is an upbeat, fast-paced traditional Native American dance,” said Bailey, a community member who attended the powwow. The dance originated and spread throughout Oklahoma. Many tribes began to see the dance and adapted it to their own tribes. Many younger people enjoy this dance because it shows off their speed and strength.”

Bailey, along with other Native American dancers and visitors, celebrated their heritage at the second annual Native American Student Association powwow on Saturday held in the field behind the Performing Arts Center.

Native American dancers, dressed in their traditional regalia, wore a mix of bright colors, feathers and beads as they followed the beats of the drum circle, and drummers sang in the traditional powwow circle. In addition to the traditional dancing and singing, vendors set up tables selling Native American jewelry, clothes and collectible items.

Michael Weisel, NASA president and junior sports administration major, said the powwow invites Native Americans of all nations to come together to celebrate their culture through singing, drumming and dancing.

Weisel said having the powwow on campus shows that the organization is active and involves the campus and surrounding community in celebrating Native American culture.

“We are involving students and basically making the campus a little bit more diverse,” Weisel said. “We have an intertribal dance, so anyone at the powwow can dance, which means more people get to know our culture.”

Freshman music education major Anthony Lawrence visited the powwow to learn more about the Native American culture.

“The event seemed interesting, and I never saw one in person before, so I wanted to come out and see what it was about,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said he enjoyed the dancing and how peaceful the people in attendance seemed. He brought his younger brother, Simeon, a sophomore student at Elyria High School, to the powwow because he was staying with him during Little Sibs Weekend.

“I enjoy how happy everyone is,” Simeon said, “the event is like really unionized. People are singing and dancing, and it’s very beautiful.”

Weisel said he wants the public to know NASA is open to all races and cultures.

“We are not all about just Native Americans joining,” Weisel said. “We welcome everyone to join our group so that all can learn about our culture, and we can learn about their culture.”

Contact Kara Taylor at [email protected].