Pow Wow to celebrate Native American culture


    By Emilie Cassan

    BYU will kick off its 22nd annual Harold A. Cedartree Pow Wow, the largest indoor pow wow in Utah, Friday March 28 at 6 p.m. in the WSC Ballroom.

    Pow Wow, the last of this year”s Heritage Week activities sponsored by Multicultural Student Services, will last until 11 or 12 p.m. Friday and continue on Saturday March 29, beginning at 11 a.m. and ending around 11 p.m.

    “It”s going to be amazing this year,” said Dezi Lynn, 23, a junior from Page, Ariz., majoring in English-teaching and Pow Wow”s student coordinator.

    Lynn said during Pow Wow, vendors will sell jewelry, crafts and different food items and dancers of all different ages will compete in different types of Native American dances such as men”s and women”s traditional, men”s grass dance, women”s jingle and men”s and women”s fancy dance.

    She said the dancers are professionals and make sacrifices to come and compete.

    “They are people who have been doing this a long time,” she said. “[They] are really good at what they do, and they do it because it comes from their hearts.”

    Meredith Lam, 22, a senior from Page, Ariz., majoring in English, who is heading two Pow Wow committees, said Pow Wow is the gathering of Native Americans from all over North America. She said tribes from Canada, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest and even from the Northeast come to participate.

    “Its purpose is to bring together Native Americans from North America,” she said. “It”s a time for tribes to get together and have fun.

    Lam said although Pow Wow is meant to be entertaining, another purpose of the event is to increase cultural understanding and awareness at BYU.

    “I don”t think BYU realizes there are a lot of Native Americans here,” she said. “Native Americans are everywhere. It surprises me how many people live around Native Americans and do not know anything about them.”

    Pow Wow is a tool, Lam said, to teach non-Native Americans about Native American culture and to teach Native Americans about other tribes.

    As the student coordinator, Lynn said she was glad to see the amount of Caucasian students helping with Pow Wow.

    “It”s a learning experience that is priceless,” she said.

    Lynn said she wanted people to know that Pow Wow is not just for Native Americans, but also for anyone and everyone who wants to come. She said she hopes those who attend will learn more about American history and see things from a different perspective.

    As well as being about culture, Lynn said Pow Wow also ties into the gospel.

    “It”s the Book of Mormon speaking in modern times,” she said. “These people are the descendents of the people of the Book of Mormon.”

    Because different events will be going on all day Friday and Saturday, Lynn said people do not need to come to all of the events in order to experience Pow Wow, but said she hopes people will come to watch for a couple of hours.

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