Pounding drums and booming voices filled the Shepherd Union ballrooms last Friday evening. The source was none other than a powwow put on by the First Nations Society at Weber State University.
The First Nations Society is a new student group on campus this semester, and the powwow was the first held at Weber State since 2012.
Students, staff, faculty and members of the Ogden community were invited out to attend the powwow.
Diane Newham, a faculty member and co-adviser of the First Nations Society, said the community had been asking for another powwow to be held at Weber State.
“A powwow is a celebration,” said Newham. “This powwow is all about rekindling the drum and honoring the people.”
Powwows traditionally consist of singing, dancing and feasting, all three of which were in abundance throughout the evening. The event kicked off with a Grand Entry, which featured all of the dancers who would preform throughout the evening.
Tracy Hayes, a member of the Ogden community, was in attendance at the powwow.
Hayes has been attending powwows for most of her life, “I love to come out to these events,” said Hayes. “It’s a great way to experience the rich culture.”
For some students at Weber State, this was their first opportunity to experience a powwow.
Anastasia Austin, a junior at Weber State, said she had enjoyed the experience. “It has been incredible tonight,” said Austin.
James and Shirley Reeder were two of the dancers participating in the powwow. Shirley Reeder described a powwow not only as a celebration, but a way for people to reconnect with old friends while making new friends.
“It is a great way to socialize and share our culture,” said Shirley Reeder.
James and Shirley Reeder both enjoyed being able to share their culture with the community. The couple enjoys traveling to many different powwows to dance.
“We love to put on a good show for the people,” said James Reeder. “The more spectators the better.”
Throughout the event, explanations were given for the songs and dances performed to help people who may not be familiar with the culture understand their significance. Each tribe took turns singing and playing the drums while different groups took to the center to dance. The groups ranged in age.
Each dance told a different story. One dance in particular focused in on war, including going to war, grief and returning home after the battle.
“I thought the war dance was very interesting,” said Jackeline Bedoya Wilkinson, who will be the hispanic senator for the WSUSA in the upcoming year. “I am glad the emcee was able to explain each part.”
Traditional food was also served to those in attendance. Volunteers handmade navajo tacos and served them throughout the evening.
“The food is really, really good,” said Genesis Cruz, a sophomore at Weber State, “I like that it is all homemade.”
The First Nations Society hopes to continue to host powwows in the future.
“Our goal is to have an even better powwow next year,” said Newham. For more information about upcoming events visit the Multicultural Student Center’s website.