By Josh ConwellThe Traders Village showcased a Native American Pow Wow dance contest Nov. 10-11 that offered amazing dances, authentic teepees and colorful garments. Once guests entered the Village, they were immersed in a culture that is interested in keeping up with tradition and honoring their heritage. The Pow Wow was so legendary that people could not help but be transplanted to an era from a time long past.
Attending a Pow Wow is a good way for people to become acquainted with Indian customs. The Pow Wow at the Traders Village offered tribal dance contests, Indian artwork and traders with amazing crafts that illustrated how essential they once were to tribal living.
The dance is a spiritual ceremony for people to display their emotions and to connect with society and nature. A dance can signify many different emotions including love, war and peace. The dance itself is as if each person is telling his or her own story and attempting to connect with the people in the audience in the present as well as in the past.
Anyone, from the age of small children to older seniors, is allowed to participate in the dance contest. This contest gives the dancers a chance to show people what their culture is really about. It allows them to pay tribute to their ancestors and their heritage.
One of the dance contestants was Marion Cole. He explained what it feels like to dance out there, with the beat of the drums and the chanting of the Indians.
"The dancing changes your consciousness," Cole said. He goes on to explain that the dance and the rhythm is the "heartbeat of the earth." Cole believes in these dances and enjoys participating. "I dance because I can," he said.
Another contestant was Gabe Bullock and he gave a very inspiring reason as to why he dances.
"I dance for my own heart; I dance for my family and for my tribe," Bullock said.
If people think that all Indians live in tribes then they are mistaken. There are many different Indian groups, tribes and bands that have and are still living in Texas including Apaches, Comanches, Kiowas and Kickapoo. They all lived in different areas of Texas including the Western Gulf, Southeast, Southwest and the Plains. All of theses native people had their own traditions, governments and religions that they were able to use to best take advantage of land resources.
The definition of an Indian group is just a small number of people, anywhere between five and 30 people, such as the Lipan Apache Indians who all wear the same clothes and eat the same foods. Bands, such as the Comanche Indians, are several groups that are organized under one leader, who is called the chief. A tribe is a group of bands organized under one chief leader. The history of Indian culture is filled with wars and hardships, but through their struggle they have tried and succeeded at keeping their heritage alive and vivid in today's society by passing on their tools and crafts.
A woman who worked at one of the stalls is named Cindian, "The Turtle Woman Who Walks With Bears." Although only a percentage of her bloodline is Indian, she was adopted by the "Blackfoot Bear Clan," which made her 100 percent Blackfoot by adoption. The Bear Clan is just a very small clan in Houston, made up of only 10 people, but outside of Houston it is a lot larger. Cindian is truly honored to be accepted by the clan and hopes to pass on their heritage and way of life to others whom the clan deems acceptable so that their culture will not be forgotten.
The Indian culture is founded on a strong ancient bond of showing respect to the forefathers before them and expressing that gratefulness through dance and art. There is a very deep respect given by these people for their very beautiful culture.