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Updated 10:00 AM March 24, 2008
 

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Gathering connects cultures, communities



The 36th annual Ann Arbor Dance for Mother Earth Pow Wow on April 5-6 marks the beginning of the powwow season. This nationally recognized event celebrates the ongoing cohesion between Native Americans, the U-M community and people in southeast Michigan.

Joe Bointy from Lawrence, Kan., affiliated with the Kiowa and Comanche nations, competes in the fancy dance segment of the 2007 Pow Wow. Photo by Scott Galvin, U-M Photo Services

“This event is truly a learning experience for people of all ages and backgrounds, because everyone is encouraged to participate in powwow, whether by supporting the vendors, dancers and drums, or coming onto the floor to participate in special dances,” says Monita Thompson, interim director of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA). “The Ann Arbor Dance for Mother Earth Pow Wow is a family event for all to enjoy and learn.”

The powwow 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.

Popular inter-tribal dance opportunities occur throughout the powwow, as members of the audience are invited to join dancers on the Crisler main floor.

Dance for Mother Earth Pow Wow/Crisler Arena
April 5: Doors open at 10:30 a.m., ceremonial grand entries at noon and 6 p.m. Activities continue until 10 p.m.
April 6: Doors open at 10:30 a.m., grand entry at noon. Powwow closes at 6 p.m.

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.

“The Ann Arbor powpow does not belong to the planning committee or the University. The powwow belongs to the whole community — children, elders, ancestors, everyone. It is an important way for us to come together and celebrate our culture, our history and each other,” says Brittany Marino, pow wow assistant. “MESA and the planning committee work very hard all year to make sure the event is a success for everyone involved.”

Ticket prices for the family-friendly event are: $10 per day for adults; $5 per day for students ages 13-17 with ID 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 students for $9 and for adults $18. Group sales (for groups of 12 or more) are sold in advance for children at $2 and adults at $6 per individual.

To volunteer at the powwow e-mail the committee at powwowvolunteers@gmail.com. Volunteers receive free admission for the day and a volunteer badge.

The Ann Arbor Dance for Mother Earth Pow Wow 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 the powwow hotline at (734) 647-6999, e-mail powwow_committee@yahoo.com or visit www.umich.edu/~powwow.

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