Annual Pow Wow celebrates Native American culture

Pow Wow is an event hosted by BYU’s Multicultural Student Services. The event features performances from surrounding Native American tribes and highlights many of their traditions and cultures. (Megan Zaugg)

BYU’s Multicultural Student Services hosted its annual Pow Wow celebration, an event highlighting Native American traditions and culture.

The event spanned two days with three different sessions of cultural performances, dance competitions and vendors, including a food booth sponsored by the BYUSA Tribe of Many Feathers.

Each session of Pow Wow began with the “Grand Entry,” when all dancers entered the room and performed together. The event displayed different traditions from Native American tribes and highlighted cherished values such as friendship, family and tradition, as stated on the Pow Wow event website.

Jessica Baxter, a student volunteer with the event, said events like these are important to the Native American community.

“It’s important because they can come together and connect in a way that is really special and unique to them,” Baxter said.

Pow Wows are often intertribal, meaning they include members and their respective traditions of different Native American tribes.

Event volunteer Lahela Giles said not many people outside the Native American community get the opportunity to see such events. “I think it’s really fun for people to enjoy and immerse themselves in another culture,” Giles said.

Emily Christensen, student programs coordinator for Multicultural Student Services, said the event required several months of planning.

“The head of our team started planning in November,” Christensen said. “I never realized how big and how involved the event is.”

Christensen said her favorite part of the event was learning about Native American culture. “There’s a lot of things that I didn’t know about before,” she said. “I was able to learn about their culture and the dances and a lot of the symbolism as well.”

Christensen said Pow Wow is an event for outsiders to come and learn more about Native American culture as well.

“Ask questions and have fun,” Christensen said. “It’s an opportunity for people to see the different parts of their culture and it’s meant to be enjoyed.”

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