The 17th annual University of Iowa POWWOW was held on April 10th and 11th in Iowa City. The event was hosted by the American Indian Student Association. The dance floor was ringed by drummers from different tribes who played and sang songs in either Northern or Southern styles.
Several types of dance (men's and women's traditional, men's and women's fancy, grass dance and jingle) were performed by dancers of all ages. Dancer outfits were especially colorful and laced with symbolism including the the silvery jingles which were fashioned out of tobacco chew container tops.
Two highlight presentations stood out. The first was the Grand Entry which began with a color guard bringing in national and tribal flags. The flag holders, attired in traditional military service themes, marched in the typical manner (as seen during sports events) but added a style that blended cultures. The flag holders were followed by all dancers in a precise order.
The second dance highlight was the Snake Dance. Consisting of all dancers the performers traced a pattern resembling a snake. Then they coiled the formation and finally stretched out much like a...snake. Very colorful and fascinating to watch.
Outside the ring of dancers were vendors and information kiosks. One booth offered wooden pens carved in the shape of animals. I purchased black bear and buffalo pens. Also offered were jewelry, clothing, paperweights and original artwork. Know that.