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Dancing, Dreamcatching and Fry-Bread! A Day at a Powwow


David's feathers
Daphne and I had an exciting day in Killeen, Texas, at the 4th Annual Four Winds Powwow. Powwows are festive Native American gatherings, held all across the United States.

This powwow that we were visiting had dancers performing in the middle of a covered arena. They were beautifully dressed, with eagle feather headdresses, bone and horn necklaces, colorful clothing and lots and lots of beads. Some of the people there also had their faces painted. We watched a dozen different dances, and were amazed by all the fancy footwork we saw. The Backstreet Boys could learn a thing or two here! All of the dances were accompanied by drumming and chanting.

Another important part of this powwow was the arts and crafts. We met two artists who make their living selling their work at powwows across the nation. Their display included fans, healing sticks, turquoise jewelry and dream catchers.

The dream catchers were an especially "hot" item. Kay, one of the artists, told us the legend behind them, about Grandmother Spider who wove webs to catch children's bad dreams. Grandfather Sun's rays would burn the bad dreams away in the morning, turning any leftover bad dreams into dew to trickle down the feather and fall back to earth. Pretty cool, huh?

The burrito fry-bread was a highlight of the day!
Walking around the powwow, our stomachs started to grumble. Luckily for us, there was some great food available. We tasted fry bread, a light and fluffy bread that is a staple in the diet of the Navajo and Sioux Indians. We ate ours "taco-style," with beans, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. It was delicious!

Powwows are a wonderful place for Native Americans of all tribes to gather together, share ideas, renew old friendships and make new ones. Lita, one of the women we met at the powwow, summed it up for us: "It's a chance for us to learn about each other's culture, which helps us understand one another. And that strengthens our society as a whole."


Please email me at: stephanie@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Daphne - Living with those pesky, loud tourists at the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico
Team - Wigwam-o-rama!