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Artifact Produced Outside Classroom #2

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – After four years of taking place off-campus, the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow will be returning this year to Crisler Center at the University of Michigan.

The Powwow, entering its 41st year as an Ann Arbor staple, is inviting people from inside and outside the community to participate in its annual celebration of Native American culture and Mother Earth.

The event will feature over 200 dancers, 10 drums, and 40 vendors and artisans, and provide people from all backgrounds with a unique experience to learn about and engage in Native cultures, traditions, and languages.

What started as a small group of Native American Students and community members has since evolved into one of the largest University powwows in the nation. The USA Today boasts it as one of the “10 great places to be wowed by American Indian culture.”

This year the Powwow will take place within a University facility as it had been for over two decades prior to 2008. With this newly renovated space, the Powwow will be able to accommodate significantly more attendees than it has been able to in the last four years. The venue provides for full handicap accessibility and greater visibility of dancers and drums from the high-sitting bleachers within the Arena. The Powwow is a family-friendly event that is alcohol and drug free. Over the course of the weekend, children will have multiple opportunities to join in and dance.

The 2013 Powwow will continue the tradition of providing a gathering place for Native Americans to celebrate and share their culture with one another as well as for others who are interested in learning about our country’s strong indigenous heritage. Taking place will be dance specials, hosted by Alex Alverez of the Medicine Tail drum group, for the traditional men’s category in which dancers express a reconnection to the traditional ways. Also featured will be a two-step social dance special hosted by the head dance judges Elizabeth and Jefferson Ballew, who welcome everyone to participate. In addition, the life-dedication of Art Brant to the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow will be commemorated with an honor dance.

This exciting Native American social gathering will demonstrate the diversity of various North American indigenous cultures from across the nation, especially those native to the Great Lakes region. Its return also enables the Native American Student Association (NASA) to better serve its long-time attendees from within the University of Michigan community, the Ann Arbor community, the Midwest, Canada, and beyond.

Join NASA in its aim to cultivate a strong Native community at the 41st Dance for Mother Earth Powwow on April 6 & 7.

[Background: Returning the Powwow back to campus aims to re-establish an inter-tribal space where cultural practices such as drum and dance competitions, singing, and Native American cooking, support the growth of the Native student community. The Annual Dance for Mother Earth Powwow planning is led entirely by the students of the Native American Student Association (NASA) in collaboration with the University of Michigan and strong community backing from those like local powwow veterans. In 2012, with a new generation of NASA leadership and growing University support, NASA began discussing the possibility of bringing the Powwow back to campus. Through diligent efforts of NASA students, strong community backing, and the overall ambition to sustain a heritage of Native American presence on U-M’s campus and greater Ann Arbor area, we all have made vital strides in returning the annual Dance for Mother Earth Powwow back to the University of Michigan campus.]

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