Meskwaki Powwow underway in Tama County

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ The 104th annual Meskwaki Powwow draws folks not just from around Iowa, but from across the country. The four-day long festivities (Aug. 9-12) celebrate the people of the Meskwaki Settlement. The powwow, which first began as a religious celebration all those years ago, has evolved into a time to socialize, honor friendship and introduce non-Meskwaki natives to the culture. Here participants perform the Intertribal Dance Thursday afternoon.

TAMA — The 104th annual Meskwaki Powwow draws folks not just from around Iowa, but from across the country. The four-day long festivities (Aug. 9-12) celebrate the people of the Meskwaki Settlement. The powwow, which first began as a religious celebration all those years ago, has evolved into a time to socialize, honor friendship and introduce non-Meskwaki natives to the culture.

“We’ve always wanted to come back to see this — we haven’t been to one of these in 25 years,” attendee Tammy Blalock of Knoxville said. “I love the headgear and the costumes they wear (during the dances). I’m very impressed. It’s really gotten a lot bigger since the last time I was here.”

Now through Sunday, folks can see these ceremonial dances and songs performed at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. They include: the Pipe Dance, Swan Dance, Buffalo Head Dance, Victory Dance, Snake Dance and more. The Intertribal Dance is classified as a generic dance performed by anyone in costume, drawing together people from various tribal traditions. Each session runs for approximately two to three hours, giving attendees time to come and go and explore other parts of the grounds.

A wide array of food is available, including Indian Tacos, Indian Burgers and traditional fry bread cooked over a campfire, plus carnival favorites such as corn dogs, nachos, pork sandwiches, sno cones, burgers and more.

Blankets, pottery, dreamcatchers, jewelry and original paintings and related artwork are available for sale by both local and national artisans.

Rumi Camps and his family, who are members of the Oneida, a Native American tribe and First Nation band, brought their homemade wool and cotton blankets to sell.

Why do they travel all the way from their home in Wisconsin to participate in the powwow?

“They’re our friends,” Camps said. “And it gives us a chance to sell things.”

Marley Whitefish was named this year’s Meskwaki Powwow Princess, while Jenaya Kapayou will serve as Junior Princess.

General Admission each day is $7 for adults, $5 for children and youth 5 and under get in free of charge. The Meskwaki Powwow Grounds are located on Battleground Rd. For more information, visit meskwakipowwow.com

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com