Students were given a glimpse into one of the cultural traditions of Native American life at BYU’s 40 Annual Harold A. Cedartree Pow Wow.
A pow wow is a Native American cultural celebration that commemorates friendship, family and religion.
Cheyanne Elton, the Head Lady Dancer for the pow wow, explained her relationship between tradition and religion. Elton said, “I’ve been able to connect with my ancestors and I consider the Great Spirit and Heavenly Father as the same being and being able to understand that he loves and cares for us no matter what.”
As Elton dances, she thinks about her ancestors that helped pave her way. “I’ve had four generations of women teach me that getting an education is very important, that we need to do everything that we can to achieve it.”
Naabaahii Tsosie, the Head Man Dancer for the pow wow, said that he considers his religion to be the reason why he dances. Tsosie said, “For me, whenever spiritual instances happen at Pow wow, I like to dance for my lord and savior Jesus Christ. I like to thank him in this form of dance for giving me a body.”
By showcasing Native American culture on campus, Tsosie hopes to inspire understanding and appreciation for faith in all who attend. “I know that Jesus Christ accepts all forms of praise and glory that we give him, so this is my way of praising and honoring him, and thanking him for the body that he gave me.”