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A member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians performs a dance at their reservation in Peshawbestown, Michigan. Pow-wows draw upon ancient traditions of tribal gatherings that feature dance, music, storytelling, and ceremonies. AP/Wide World Photos.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Pow-wow is a North American Indian term with many meanings. It's difficult to translate directly into English because words represent thought patterns, and Indians traditionally thought quite differently from most Europeans.

Sometimes pow-wow means a holy person or shaman. Sometimes it refers to a tribal council. Often it refers to a ritual involving healing. Most often it refers to a celebration or ritual involving dance. The word conjures up community dancing, accompanied by the beat of drums and rattles and, usually, by singing rendered in the style modern musicologists have labeled "vocables," or ritualized chant.

Some of the customs practiced by Indian nations go back to antiquity and must be memorized exactly, so that an ancestor from a thousand years ago would know precisely what was going on. Many of the songs are said to have been taught by "First Man" or "First Woman."

Some pow-wows are held today for the benefit of tourists. Others are sacred religious services.

Europeans tend to sit in straight rows when they go to church. Indians dance. Europeans are used to being "preached at." Indians participate. Europeans are used to organ music. Indians prefer the throbbing of the drums.

I once asked an Ojibway elder how he was feeling. "Ninety-eight percent fine!" came the reply. "What would it take to fill in the last two percent?" I responded. "I'd have to hear the drums!" he said.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Last Pow-Wow moves quickly and would keep a younger reader engaged, but chapters involving death and characters getting familiar with each other make this a book for adults.
Birmingham authors Charlie Hill and Andy Killeen launched the Pow-Wow Litfest three years ago after chatting about the idea in Moseley's Prince of Wales pub.
So, it seemed the ideal venue for a literary festival, as Charlie Hill, co-founder of Pow-Wow Litfest explains: "One of the strangest things, perhaps, is that it took so long for someone to come up with the idea, given that Moseley is Birmingham's most book-friendly suburb.
There was recognition that the uniqueness of each community and its tourism offerings was a cultural strength for the entire Mi'kmaq cultural tourism venture, with such diversity serving to attract the interest of those non-Aboriginals seeking to learn more about Mi'kmaq culture and identity, history and current life cultural tourism initiatives ranging from the Wagmatcook Culture and Heritage Centre through the Eskasoni Pow-Wow to the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre.
A master of ceremony is the voice of the pow-wow to keep the singers, dancers, drum rotation, and general public informed.
Paul business were also charged in an investigation that began when a man approached Terry Daniels at a pow-wow asking to buy eagle feathers.
peace has broken out at the city council, as all sides pow-wow over the cuts.
The culture and history of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians will be celebrated Saturday during the annual Restoration Pow-Wow at Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City.
Matchwinner Lister guided home Prunty's header to clinch the points but revealed he had a half-time pow-wow with his team-mate before claiming it.
Take the kids to a pow-wow, hike on old Indian hunting grounds, learn Native American crafts and games, and check out first hand the progress of a new Native American longhouse at Fruitlands Museum.
General Assembly), though his pow-wow with A'jad is still on.
NEWHALL -- Angeles Pena would be normally decked out in full Navajo tribal regalia as he performed traditional dances at the annual Native American Heritage Pow-Wow.