Fifty-second Annual Powwow bridges communities, celebrates indigenous tradition by means of artwork

Jasmine Kinney ’24 has been making conventional cultural jewellery ever since she may bear in mind. Final weekend, she offered items from her personal enterprise, Waukela Works, at one in every of two student-run cubicles on the 52nd Annual Stanford Powwow, the biggest student-run powwow within the nation.

“The Powwow actually brings individuals collectively. That’s one thing actually vital for Native college students: to be in a neighborhood, to usher in our households, to signify ourselves,” Kinney stated. 

This 12 months’s powwow, themed “Intertribal Unity,” was held from Friday by means of Sunday on the Eucalyptus Grove on campus. The occasion drew 30,000 attendees, together with college students, neighborhood members and Indigenous peoples from close to and much. Dancers and singers traveled from round North and Central America to take part within the contests, in line with Landon Swopes ’24, co-chair of the 2023 Stanford Powwow Committee.

The Grove rejoiced as singers and dancers carried out, many with their conventional Indigenous regalia. Crowds watched performances just like the smoke dance, which emulated the swirling of smoke by means of the swift spinning of the dancers. Dance contests introduced collectively dancers from Indigenous and different communities. 

Final weekend’s powwow — the second in-person pageant because the COVID-19 pandemic — noticed elevated participation, together with an unprecedented variety of distributors working cubicles. Elevated seating was put in across the area the place the dance contests have been held to accommodate a bigger viewers.

“We wished to make a big splash by bringing the Powwow again to what it was like earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic,” Swopes wrote to The Each day.

A woman stands at her booth at the Stanford Powwow watching the dancers in Eucalyptus Grove.
Numerous cubicles run by Indigenous creators shaped a circle the place the dancing passed off in the course of the Stanford Powwow. (Picture courtesy of Landon Swopes)

The theme of “Intertribal Unity” was showcased all through the weekend from the merchandising cubicles to the Intertribal Dances and the Honor Track for 2023 graduating seniors. The Intertribal Social Dances commenced on Saturday, with the Honor Track inviting Stanford seniors from all tribes to collect on the area and rejoice their academic milestone amongst Indigenous neighborhood. As a part of the ultimate day celebrations on Sunday, dozens of Indigenous ladies danced within the area to the commemorative Mom’s Day Honor Track efficiency. 

The myriad merchandising cubicles on the powwow featured objects from a spread of Native American cultures. Small companies from throughout North America utilized to promote their wares, with the method lasting from Dec. 2022 to Jan. 2023. Candidates went by means of a “advanced vetting course of” supervised by Powwow Committee members and Native American Cultural Heart workers, in line with Swopes. The method aimed to make sure a various choice that showcased a wide range of Indigenous arts and crafts. 

With the efficiency area at its heart, the sides of Eucalyptus Grove have been lined with merchandising cubicles providing crafts, jewellery, house decorations and clothes with conventional and up to date cultural influences. Attendees could possibly be heard commenting on the intricacy of the merchandise being showcased as they made their manner by means of the rows. 

Kinney was proud to show her conventional crafts — a sentiment echoed by different small-business homeowners on the Powwow.

“The supplies that I incorporate inside my artwork present the fantastic thing about my house again up north on the Yurok reservation,” Kinney stated. “As a scholar right here at Stanford, my artwork is an outlet that brings me again house. It permits me to proceed traditions.”

Lucinda Paddock, proprietor of the L. Paddock Arts & Crafts sales space, expressed the significance of crafts to her neighborhood within the Navajo Nation in Cameron, Arizona. She defined that the sales space’s wares used supplies important to Navajo tradition, such because the sterling silver and turquoise of their jewellery.

“Some those that make the jewellery — my household and pals — usually are not capable of journey,” Paddock stated. To compensate for this absence, she and her co-workers have offered their family’ jewellery on the Powwow for the previous 15 years.

Justice for Muwekma, a year-old Stanford scholar activist group, additionally labored a sales space on the Powwow. Run by a number of college students from Palo Alto Excessive Faculty, the stand operated a postcard marketing campaign in assist of the Ohlone individuals’s journey to revive their federal standing. In accordance with Ella Bishop, a junior on the Palo Alto Excessive Faculty, the group aimed to teach the neighborhood on the difficulty and foyer for native congressional motion.

Bishop and her classmates partnered with Justice for Muwekma because the capstone venture for his or her historical past course, which inspired them to take a deep dive into points referring to the Indigenous individuals’s struggles. These points included Lacking and Murdered Indigenous Girls and the Muwekma Ohlone’s combat for federal recognition. Bishop was gratified by the influence of the partnership.

“It has gone so much additional than any of us anticipated. I used to be part of a delegation that went to DC to foyer for Congress with Justice for Muwekma,” Bishop advised The Each day. “It’s been an extended journey, and I believe it’s going to proceed subsequent 12 months.”

The Powwow provided a venue for craftsmen, organizers and attendees alike to rejoice Indigenous tradition as a neighborhood. Swopes shared his love and gratitude for the 40 members of the Powwow Committee.

“A lot of them have been strangers within the fall and have develop into shut pals by means of this occasion. I really feel honored to have witnessed these relationships forming,” Swopes commented.

Jane Lord-Krause ’25, co-head of the Sales space Committee and a member of the Mvskoke Creek Nation, stated Stanford’s distinctive Indigenous neighborhood was a powerful motivation for selecting to attend the college. To Lord-Krause, the Powwow is an important “demonstration of the vibrancy of the Native neighborhood.”

Landon Swopes ’24 is the student-at-large on The Each day‘s Board of Administrators. He’s not a member of The Each day.