DENVER ART MUSEUM POW WOW

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            Fully adorned with feathers, fur and fringe, 14-year-old Nathaniel Lakota Bearsheart clearly enjoyed moving to the beat of the drums.

            Fully adorned with feathers, fur and fringe, 14-year-old Nathaniel Lakota Bearsheart clearly enjoyed moving to the beat of the drums.

            “I love dancing for my native culture,” he said with a grin.
As the head boy dancer at the Denver Art Museum Friendship Pow Wow last Saturday, Nathaniel performed like the professional he is, having danced at previous pow wows when he was a toddler.

 

            The Pow Wow was a real blast for anyone who attended. You could dance along with dozens of Indians in their intertribal dances, enter an auction and win prizes, and shop at the souvenir stalls.

 

            “This is the 24th annual celebration,” said Debbie Emhoolah, the manager of the event. “It’s a community outreach for the Denver Art Museum to reach out to the Native Americans in the Denver community… There have been other earlier pow wows. The actual pow wow has been carried down from generations from the Omaha tribe way back when that tribe had given the pow wow ceremony to the Cheyennes, and then it was passed on to all the other tribes,” She explained.

 

            Marie Watt, a Native American artist, hosted a sewing circle in which anyone could join in making an 8×9-foot wall hanging. “I think in the context of the sewing circle, people like to share stories, and I’m really interested in storytelling,” she said. She has hosted a sewing circle in a pow wow before, but never actually danced in one.

 

            Most of those who did dance, even kids like Nathaniel Bearsheart and 10-year-old Morning Star Yazzie, a Navajo and Lakota Indian and head girl dancer, have been doing it for years. “Dancing feels good because everyone is going to see me, and I’ll be really happy because everybody is at the Pow Wow,” she said, as she joined the parade of dancers in front of the cheering crowd.