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99th annual Meskwaki Powwow starts Thursday

August 6, 2013
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The 99th edition of the Meskwaki Powwow opens Thursday, Aug. 8 and runs through Sunday at the Powwow Grounds on the Settlement west of Tama three miles on Tama County Road E49.

Visitors will witness ceremonial dances featuring colorful regalia. There are arts and crafts displays and sales, historical exhibits and special native foods.

There are two dance performance sessions daily at 1:30 and 7 p.m. Special admission prices include: Children's Day Thursday, Seniors Day on Friday and Veterans Day on Saturday.

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The Buffalo Dance is underway at the 2012 Meskwaki Powwow. Dance performances are scheduled afternoon and evening from Thursday-Sunday.
News-Herald file/John Speer

This is the history of The Meskwaki Powwow provided on its website:

The Annual Meskwaki Powwow originated from the traditional religious and social beliefs of the Meskwaki Tribe. Today, it is not so much a religious event, but more of a social gathering. Specifically, today's event is derived from the "Green Corn Dance" and other social events of the Tribe in their early years. The "Green Corn Dance" was an annual event that took place during the harvesting of crops.

The "Field Days" held from 1902 to 1912, lasted about a week, with dancing, games, and horse racing. It was a social gathering without a harvest.

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In 1912, the Chief appointed 15 men to plan for the next year. The appointed men decided to change the name from "Field Days" to "Powwow". The first powwow was held at the present location.

Today, the Meskwaki Powwow is the only one of its kind and is held annually on the only Indian Settlement in the State of Iowa. During the four day affair, the gathered Indians celebrate and perform, in full-dress regalia, dances that have been handed down for generations.

It is the dancing that has drawn the most attention from the outside world, for it is by far the most colorful and intriguing aspect of the Powwow. It is a time of reaffirmation and hope, of worship and kinship, and, above all, a time of friendship and making new friends.



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