It is still in the depths of winter here in Colorado but through the snow and cold spring is coming. And with spring will also come the Denver March Powwow. It is a powwow, it is in March, and it is in Denver. We just call it Denver March for short. The Denver March is the start of the summer powwow circuit. Many families travel from one contest powwow to the next and Denver is almost always their first stop. Even though the name is quite lame over 2 thousand dancers and up to 75 drum groups will attend and compete over 3 days and then move onto the next Powwow. Denver March is a big deal and even though it has its flaws, the powwow is inside and you dance on concrete, it is a good gathering and I try to attend every year.
I am a Northern Traditional dancer but I have not been dancing much over the past 10 years or so. I love the dance, the feel of the outfit, the drums, the other dancers, the smell of fry bread and cotton candy, I even like the dust. I stopped dancing to finish school and never really picked it back up again. I have danced a few times here and there over the past 10 years and I miss it. There is another reason I have slacked off and that is politics. I got tired of the groups and the fighting between them. I made the ultimate mistake of not wanting to participate in their political games, I just wanted to dance. Well the problem with trying to stay neutral in Indian country is that everyone starts to think that you are with “the other guys”. The fun of dancing went away.
I can see my dance bustle from where I am writing. It has an outer ring of mature bald eagle feathers and an inner ring of hawk. I have always liked it. It is not big and flashy but the more I look at it the more I think that it needs to be used. My coyote headgear and golden eagle feather fan are also in view. I miss the dance. I miss the feel of it, the sound of it, the smells of it, even Denver March, where half the dancers have gear that smells like mothballs.
I think it is time to get out, put on the moccasins and shake some feathers. I am sure that my good friend Ted Cleveland, who passed away so many years ago, would look down and approve. He loved the powwow so much.
Powwows are family and social gatherings that are open to everyone. Over the next few post I will write about powwows. If you have questions please use the comments section to ask them.
Hoka Everybody DANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I do hope my moccasins still fit….