As a visitor to campus, Daryl Concha ’11 has participated in the Dartmouth Pow-Wow for the past three years, but this year—her first year as a student—she will serve as the head woman dancer, one of the most significant figures at the event. A member of Taos Pueblo in Taos, N.M., Concha’s role requires her to, among other things, lead all dances and award the winner of the Jingle dress dance. “I’ve been dancing since I was three,” she says. “I’m definitely excited.”
Organized by the student group Native Americans at Dartmouth (NAD), the 36th Annual Dartmouth Pow-Wow will be held on the Green May 10 and 11, beginning with the grand entry at noon both days. (Rain location: Thompson Arena.) One of New England’s largest Pow-Wows, the event is expected to draw more than 2,000 Native people and other participants who come from across the nation to sing, dance, offer prayer, and share traditional arts, crafts, and food. “It’s a great tradition, and an opportunity to bring people together to learn and share in something they might not be accustomed to,” says Aaron Sims ’09, a member of Pueblo of Acoma in New Mexico and co-president of NAD.
Cara Wallace ’03, acting director of the Native American Program, which supports NAD, says the Pow-Wow serves to honor and celebrate Native cultures and is important for many members of the Dartmouth community. Two of this year’s new events— a potato dance and a hand drum competition—were suggested by Kellyn James ’10, a student from North Dakota, and Cory Cornelius ’07, a researcher for the Institute for Security Technology Studies. “Students, faculty, and staff have been very enthusiastic and supportive,” says Wallace, who adds that the Pow-Wow is a “reunion of sorts” for Dartmouth’s Native alumni. “I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends,” she says.
The year will also feature the Occom Pond Singers, a group of Dartmouth Native students and faculty, and an honoring for mothers on Sunday—Mother’s Day—at 12:30 p.m. Also new this year, NAD students invited Abraham Holland ’08, a military veteran, to join Native veterans of military service in the presentation of flags and eagle staffs during the grand entry. “Veterans have esteemed roles in Native communities,” says Wallace. “Students in NAD wanted to reach out to a non-Native veteran.”
Dartmouth’s first Pow-Wow occurred in 1973, during the presidency of John G. Kemeny, who rededicated the College to its historic mission of educating Native students. Today, there are more than 100 Native undergraduate students at Dartmouth, and the Native American Studies department is consistently regarded as one of the nation’s best.
By STEVEN J. SMITH
Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.
Last Updated: 12/17/08