On November 2, I woke up at 8 a.m. to the sound of my alarm blaring. I made my way to the closest pair of socks I could nd and proceeded to get dressed. Soon after my sister helped braid my hair into two long braids. She pulls and tugs all I can think about are all the dancers, beadwork, and frybread that will be sold at the 28th Annual Austin Pow Wow.
As I wait for my dad, I make sure to pack anything I might need like my camera and charger. At 1 p.m. we arrived at the Travis Expo Center. The first stop we make is to scope out the vendors to see if there is anything I would like to buy.
We walk back and forth through 3⁄4 rows of vendors and lots of things catch my eyes like new sage bundles and o rings in prayer like sweetgrass which is like a blessing used in the Catholic Church on the forehead. Instead, smoke ash is smudged on you with eagle feathers. It’s good to keep positive thoughts and prayers in mind when you get smudged.
As we keep walking, I see the vendor I always see when I come to Pow Wows in Austin. She doesn’t recognize me but I say hello and trade-in conversation about her. Too bad that’s all we had to spend, nonetheless. We walk through the vendors and past the food trucks, which has this savory aroma of bu also burgers, turkey legs, and fried bread tacos. As my dad and I walk into the amphitheater we are greeted with loud drums and chants of the singers with voices that would make a banshee twitch. We walk around looking for seats and a great spot to sit and take photos. As usual, they don’t allow photography unless you ask the dancers themselves. Luckily enough, I have my cousins there who dance also so I can get a free card.
As luck would have it, I see my younger cousin wearing his Dallas Cowboy colored regalia and tell him where his mom is. He helps me by pointing her out for me. Once we look at each other in the eyes we swiftly run towards each other and hug as if World War II just ended. We trade in conversation with jokes and teasing each other, she allows me to sit with her next to some fancy dancers. There are two types of male dancers. Fancy dancers and traditional dancers. Fancy dancers have more color and ribbons than what you would see in most competitions. As for traditional dancers, you’d see the iconic dancer as you would see in newspaper comics for Day of Mourning(thanksgiving) the headdress and eagle feathers or turkey feathers. here any many more different categories for dancers just depend on what you’d want to dance. Personally, I’d want to be a horse dancer which seems like so much fun. You get to create your own regalia which is basically the whole suit that the dancers wear when doing a ceremony, where dancers start dancing when listening to the drummers as they sing around a pow wow drum they also come in a frame drum which is the typical shaman drum and a hand drum.
At the end of the day, the experience of going to a Pow Wow is memorizing and beautiful with each dancer having their own choreography, their own dance, how they sing and share their culture with those who sit beside them. I still don’t know much about who I am as an Indigenous person but I learn something new every time I go to a Pow Wow and every time I meet someone new to guide me.