By Don Counts
This past weekend was the sixth annual Bluff City Pow Wow sponsored by the United Metis Tribe and the Bluff City Native Cultural Society. A great time was had by all including the dancers, drums and the public. The vendors that we talked to all reported a great weekend.
The Bluff City Native Cultural Society is comprised of Native and Non-Native peoples within Spencer County, Indiana, and surrounding areas, who have come together in mutual respect and support.
1. They are willing to work together to educate ourselves and others of the culture and proud of the American Indian Native Peoples.
2. Draw our strength and guidance from the Creator, and through the teaching of our Elders, and draw upon their wisdom to achieve our goals.
3. We will offer assistance to those in need through donations of money, food, clothing and household items.
The Pow Wow begins with the Grand Entry. All spectators are asked to rise as the flags and eagle staffs of the host and visiting tribes are brought in. The Eagle staffs and flags represent nations, families and communities. As the drums begin a grand entry song, the chief or tribal chair of the host tribe and visiting dignitaries enter the arena. They are followed by other honored members and the color guard of veterans, representing Native Americans who have fought in every war including the Revolutionary War. Elected royalty (princesses, warriors, etc.), young people who have been chosen and honored by their specific home community to represent that community at Pow Wows around the country, follow next. Led by the elders, the men dancers followed next, generally in the following order: men’s traditional dancers, men’s grass dancers and then men’s fancy dancers. Then the women enter, also led by the elder women and in the order of women’s traditional dancers, jingle dress dancers and then fancy shawl dancers. The teenage boys enter next, followed by the teenage girls and then the younger boys, girls and tiny tots. The dancers in each category are announced by the MC’s as they pass the announcer ask for the public to stand. Finally the arena is filled with all the dancers, each dancing in their grand regalia. Responsibility for maintaining the song passes from drum to drum, going around the circle until all dancers are in the center of the circle and dancing. With all remaining in the center of the circle, the prayer song and honoring song for veterans begin next. It is a spectacular sight filled with beauty and excitement and pride.
HEAD MAN DANCER: DON COUNTS
HEAD WOMAN DANCER: CARMELLA RAURK
HEAD VETERAN DANCER: BARRY “RED BIRD” BROWN
MASTER OF CEREMONIES: BILL SIMMONS
FLUTE PLAYER: RICK SKELTON
ARENA DIRECTOR: ROCKY BLANCHARD