March 2 2008

Festival of Native Arts Powwow

I had the honor yesterday to emcee the Festival of Native Arts Powwow up at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Four drum groups were on hand, our own local drum Soaring Eagle, and Thunder Hawk from Salcha. Two Anchroage drums were in attendance, Sleeping Lady, and Northern Lights. A good time was heard and had by all I believe. Nonetheless, something always comes out of such events in that stick in my mind. Sometimes, it’s just the spirit of the event, and at other times, it’s something that happened or was said. Nonetheless, something always stands out giving me a gift from each and every event. I had this honor yesterday granted to me, to be able to watch a young woman dance alone in the circle to beat of the drums in a Jingle Dress. She Dances for all the right reasons, for her ancestors, for her parents, for her people, for her community and for her self.
She Dances for the past, the now and the future. Thank you Miss Nita Esmailka

It doesn’t really end with just her dancing. No, the honor of what she does is really shown after she dances. Tips are placed on the floor of at one end of the arena. People put paper dollars, or what ever they decide it’s worth to watch her dance. After the dance, following traditional ways, her brother gathers the up tips, and places then into a purse for the young woman. Never allowing her to touch the money. Then at this time she donates this money to the one of the elders in attendance of the powwow. Her mother gave a great presentation of why this is done and what an honor for her to have such a dedicated and wonderful daughter.

That’s it. That is the one thing that forever will stick with me from yesterdays event. That is what it is all about isn’t it. It does give one hope for the future of all.

2 Responses to “Festival of Native Arts Powwow”

  1. Z says:

    That sounds very elegant and lovely. Thank you for telling us about it.


  2. Anonymous says:

    I again have been brought to tears by your version of these events Mr. Gilcrease. As I’am the mother of this gracious young lady, I have to say we were all touched by the moment. Although it was unplanned and we did not know the elderly woman at this gathering; we felt in the moment that honoring our belated grandmother, who introduced us to this special dance, was the right thing to do at that moment. Thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful way you share these stories. The Esmailka family.

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