Traditions Honored at 43rd Dartmouth Pow-Wow


Dancing and drumming will be the center of attention on the Green May 9 and 10 as the 43rd Dartmouth Pow-Wow draws thousands of participants and onlookers to the annual celebration of Native American culture.

Native-American dancer

The Pow-Wow takes place on the Green this weekend. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman ’14)

Grand Entry takes place at noon on both Saturday and Sunday. Rain location for both days is Dartmouth’s Leede Arena.

The Dartmouth Pow-Wow has been hosted since 1973 by the student group Native Americans at Dartmouth (NAD) and the College’s Native American Program (NAP). The event enables members of both the Dartmouth and Upper Valley communities to observe, participate, and learn from a broad representation of Native American cultural activities.

“I had the help of 21 other committee members and my co-president who volunteered their time to make this the second largest powwow on the East Coast,” says co-president of this year’s Pow-Wow committee Kohar Avakian ’17, who is from the Nipmuc Nation of Massachusetts.

“Knowing the deep-rooted history of Native people at Dartmouth, I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to take part in Pow-Wow planning,” Avakian says. “I’m from Paxton, Mass., so it’s great to see not only people from the Dartmouth community, but also Natives I know from back home. Pow-Wow is a huge marker of our culture of resilience, and I’m so glad that Natives and non-Natives alike can celebrate that for a weekend.” 

“People can expect to see dancing ranging from Eastern Blanket to Potato to Hoop Dancing, the honoring of mothers and seniors, and much more,” says Avakian. “And if you aren’t sure what that means, come on by and find out!”

Featured leaders for the 2015 Pow-Wow include Master of Ceremonies Don Barnaby and Arena Director Roger White Eyes. Head man dancer is Taylor Keen; head woman dancer is Leah Hopkins. Mystic River is the host drum.

Vendors selling traditional Native American food, art, jewelry, clothing, and crafts will be part of the festivities as well.

The Pow-Wow is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by NAD, the Office of the President, the Special Programs and Events Committee, the Native American Alumni Association of Dartmouth, and NAP.

Kelly Sundberg Seaman