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Updated 2:30 PM March 21, 2007




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35th annual Dance for Mother Earth Pow Wow connects community

For the Anishinaabe people, the days at the end of March are known as the time of the Snow Crust Moon. Those within the Potawatomi nation call it the Month of the Crane. And for the Lakota, it is the Sore Eyes Moon, when bright spring sunlight reflecting on prairie snow can bring temporary blindness.
(File Photo/Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)

The end of March also marks the time of the annual Ann Arbor Dance for Mother Earth Pow Wow, a nationally recognized beginning of the pow wow season and an event that consistently strives to build cohesion between Native Americans, the University community and people in southeast Michigan.

"This celebration of Native American culture is a great learning experience for people of all ages and backgrounds, because everyone is encouraged to participate, whether by supporting the vendors, dancers and drums, or coming onto the floor to participate in special dances," says Nelson Acosta, director of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs. "The Ann Arbor Dance For Mother Earth Powwow is without a doubt an event for the community as a whole."

The pow wow attracts Native American dancers, singers and drummers from throughout the nation. Dancers ranging in age from toddlers to elders compete in several styles of dance—fancy, traditional, grass and jingle dress—wearing traditional and contemporary regalia. Competing drum groups provide vocal and rhythmic accompaniment to the dancers as they themselves are judged. Cash prizes are presented to winners in all the competitions.

A popular intertribal dance opportunity occurs throughout the pow wow, as members of the audience are invited to join dancers on the Crisler main floor.

A variety of Native American culture is expressed through vendor exhibits of arts, crafts, music, contemporary and traditional foods, and information on social and political issues that currently challenge the local, regional and national Native American community.

A commitment to heritage pervades the two-day event. Participants share opening and closing prayers, special giveaways, and a shared dedication to the spiritual aspects of Native American cultures.

"The pow wow committee is mostly comprised of Native students at the University, who work on the pow wow year-round," says Alyx Cadotte, pow wow assistant. "We work very hard to make this a quality family event and are proud to be able to bring the pow wow to the community."

The Dance for Mother Earth Pow Wow schedule:

• March 31: Doors open at 10:30 a.m.; ceremonial grand entries at noon and 7 p.m. Activities continue until 10 p.m.;

• April 1: Doors open at 10:30 a.m.; grand entry at noon. Pow Wow closes at 5 p.m.

Ticket prices for the family-friendly event are: $10 per day for adults; $7 per day for ages 13-17 and college students with ID; $5 per day for seniors ages 60 and older, and for children 4-12; children 3 and under are admitted without charge. Daily family passes are available for $25 and weekend passes may be purchased by individuals of all ages for $15.

Advance tickets for individuals, family and weekend passes, and group sales are available by calling the Michigan Union Ticket Office at (734) 763-8587. Group ticket sales other than family passes are not available at the door.

The pow wow has many opportunities for volunteers. Contact the committee at: Volunteers receive free admission for the day and a volunteer badge.

The Ann Arbor Dance for Mother Earth is hosted by the U-M Native American Programming Task Force, the Native American Student Association and MESA, a Division of Student Affairs.

For more information, call Alyx Cadotte at (734) 763-9044, the pow wow hotline at (734) 647-6999, or e-mail

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