UNITE powwow honors graduates and celebrates traditions

Monday, April 24, 2017
UNITE powwow honors graduates and celebrates traditions

Native American dancer performs on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln green space at the UNITE powwow.

On Saturday, April 22 the University of Nebraska Inter-Tribal Exchange (UNITE) hosted a powwow on the Nebraska Union green space to honor graduates. Hundreds of community members and Nebraska affiliates gathered to watch traditional dances and socialize.

“Not only are powwows a social gathering but [they’re] also a celebration,” said Angelica Solomon, treasure of UNITE. “We invite graduates of all levels to come out and celebrate their accomplishment.”

UNITE members presented graduating member Ashley Fast Horse with a custom native designed stole, which she will wear at her graduation.

To increase the number of dancers in attendance, UNITE held a dance competition at the powwow. Participants were divided into categories corresponding to their gender and age. Dancers performed to music from hand drum groups.

Girls and women danced either traditional, shawl or jingle. Boys and men danced either traditional, fancy feather or grass. Every costume is unique to the style of dance.

Dances and songs also recognized and supported one another. For example, attendees thanked UNITE members for hosting the powwow through an honor song, and a song of prayer was performed for UNITE students facing health challenges. Zachary Palmer, a Nebraska graduate student and the head male dancer, asked the jingle dancers to perform a dance of healing for his mother and grandmother.

In addition to watching the performances, attendees visited vendors and a meal was provided toward the end of the day.

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