It’s Oto-Missouria Encampment Time Again!
It’s encampment time again! If you feel so inclined to watch this lovely video that I put together then you can watch it here. It’s a bit long, but you will probably learn some more about the culture that I come from in it.
There are quite a few more dances that are done throughout the time during encampment. The ones in the video are just a few of the ones that I managed to get on video. In case you were wondering which one is me, here is a picture. I, and the other women of my family, traditionally dance in Jingle Dresses. The particular style of dress that we wear is a traditional “cobbler” style dress. This dress consists of a cape and a two piece apron worn over a base dress. You have a belt that goes over the top of the apron and moccasins that are either beaded or embroidered. Various other accessories are worn such as a prayer fan, dance shawl (or a dance bag), hair wraps, hair feathers, medicine bag, and various jewellery. These dresses are so incredibly heavy it is borderline ridiculous. That dress and all the accessories that I wear is over 20 pounds! some weigh more and some weigh less. It just depends on the dress and how many hand rolled cones have been sewn on by hand.
Powwows are usually free to go to and most tribes will let anyone that wants to come in and watch do so. There are some things to keep in mind if you are new though. As I mentioned in the video if you are not a dancer, do not sit on the benches around the dance area unless you have the permission to do so. Those benches are reserved for the dancers. I also mentioned that what we are wearing is NOT CALLED A COSTUME!!! It is called regalia. There are many types of regalia and if you want to know about the regalia a certain person is wearing, they are usually more than happy to tell you about what they are wearing. Also, don’t touch the regalia! Unless they say that it’s okay to do so, don’t touch it. Some pieces of regalia are hundreds to thousands of dollars. In some cases, a dancer’s regalia is the single most expensive item that they own! A lot of powwows are open to photographers and you can take as many pictures as you want. Others are not open to photographers. When it comes to taking pictures with the dancers you should ask if they mind. Most will not, but some do not want pictures taken. If you are taking your children, make sure they are not running around and going out into the arena during contests. Just make sure that they are under control.
If you are thinking that encampment is just about powwow dancing, you are wrong! Encampment has lots of activities that go on during the day that don’t involve the dancing. At Otoe-Missouria they have turtle races, foot races, feasts, games, trivia contests, and we had a job fair this year. It is a whole lot of fun for the entire family! If you ever have a chance to go, then do so! You are missing out on delicious food and fun.