Intertribal Student Council celebrates culture, tradition

Members of the Intertribal Student Council hopes to emphasize the importance of culture through a Pow Wow April 13 from 1-10 p.m. in the Kress Events Center.

A Pow Wow is a religious or social gathering. In this case, it’s a social gathering for old and new friends and family to get together. At this 16th annual Pow Wow, everyone is welcome.

Members from various tribal communities all over Wisconsin and the Midwest will arrive for the gathering.

Alan Caldwell, limited term academic advisor, is helping guide Intertribal Student Council students with the planning of this event. He describes it as a cultural activity to showcase aspects of different communities.

Caldwell has been involved with Pow Wows across the U.S. and Canada as a veteran and dancer for 30 years. He describes the dancing experience as spiritual, physical and mental rejuvenation.

Although the first grand entry is not until 1 p.m., doors will open at 11 a.m. for vendors to begin selling.

Two grand entries will occur, at 1 and 7 p.m., where the dancers and color guards proceed into the dance arena.

The grand entries will begin with the host drum and the Potawatomi and Oneida color guards, which consist mostly of military veterans from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and Korea.

This year’s host drum will be the Young Bear Singers from Mandaree, North Dakota.

Following the color guards will be the head dancers: Donald Keeble and Chelsea Dodge, both UW-Green Bay students.

The rest of the dancers, such as the royalty and traditional dancers, follow the head dancers in.

A theme is announced each year, and this year’s theme is Honoring Our Children.

As a part of the theme, there will be two dances held in honor of the children.

The first dance is for children up to 9 years old, while the second dance acknowledges children ages 10 to 18. All children, native or non-native, are welcome to come to the dance floor during this time.

Several dances will be performed throughout the night honoring different people and traditions. The announcer will introduce descriptions of outfits, dancers and their culture.

According to Caldwell, pictures are allowed at the discretion of the dancers. Visitors should ask dancers before taking pictures of them. There are certain ceremonies where pictures are prohibited. Announcements will be made accordingly.

Caldwell suggests attendees take a picture with their eyes and their mind.

A feast will be served at 5 p.m. in the Mauthe Center. The feast is free and open to everyone. Roast beef, potatoes, carrots, wild rice casserole and strawberry shortcake will be served.

Event volunteers will bring carryout plates of food for the elders and disabled to the Kress Events Center as a sign of respect.

Various vendors will sell arts, crafts and food, including fried bread, wild rice and Indian tacos.

Donald Keeble, senior first nations studies major and head male dancer, hopes the Pow Wow will break stereotypes.

“Everything has a meaning within what we do at a Pow Wow,” Keeble said. “We want other students to have a good time and be able to experience some different culture in a good way.”

Sara Smith, senior first nations studies and biology major, and Jose Villa, sophomore finance major, are president and vice president of the Intertribal Student Council, respectively.

Smith and Villa both see the Pow Wow as an opportunity to educate students and other members of the community more about traditions and culture.

Caldwell expects approximately 300-400 attendees.

All students and members of the public are encouraged to stop by or stay all day free of charge.