Monday, April 27, 2009

Central PA Pow Wow

A week ago, representatives of many Native American tribes came to celebrate, socialize and compete in the dancing competitions at a regional Pow Wow celebrated in State College, PA. The costumes were colorful, decorative, and vibrant. The ever-present drumming moved the soul, mind and body. The dances went from whirling dervishes to slow promenades around the gymnasium. Vendors sold hand-made drums, painted and unpainted; turquoise and silver jewelry of all kinds; beaded head bands; hand-made wooden flutes; as well as the typical T-shirts and cheap imitations of true tribal craftsmanship.

The dance competitions were delightful eye candy whirlwind of flying color and swiftly moving feet. The men seemed to do most of the dancing - all sorts of styles from the Fancy Dancing to hunting and war dances. The womens dancing was more circumspect - lots of whirling, with tinkling bells as their costumes are layered with rows upon rows of metal bells. I took more photos than I would have thought possible in the 4 hours I roamed the school hallways and gymnasium. To give you an idea of what it was like, see the image below.

After I got home, it took me a good dozen hours to edit the photos, wipe out the confusing backgrounds, eliminated unnecessary details, and silhouette the participants.

The costumes are intricately beaded, layered with bells, feathers, fringe, ribbons and more. This Pow Wow seemed more social and more "modern" than others I have attended. Perhaps that is due to the fact that this was at a public school and others I've been to have been on reservations... In any case, it was a wonderful experience, as always. Unique in it's own way.

Even the children have intricately designed and sewn dresses for these competitions. This little gal was quite a dancer!

Below is a close-up of the excellent beadwork and feathers work in the traditional dance costume seen above.

Hope you enjoy seeing them here half as much as I enjoyed being there and recording these images.


Anonymous said...

thank you for recording this piece of culture.

amazing hand work.

Anonymous said...

it was nice to see my children in your photos. thank you

Pat's Place said...

Thank you for encouraging your children to maintain their own heritage and to celebrate it. It is wonderful for me, a non-native American, to be a witness to the exhuberance of the Native American people in their dance, their costumes, and their art.

So thank YOU!

Anonymous said...

Thanks. it was good to see my mom and me on there.