September 14-16 a group from the Ohio Historical Society traveled to Oklahoma to attend the 21st Eastern Shawnee Annual Pow Wow. A pow wow is a gathering of Native Americans, and often non-Native people, to sing, dance, and celebrate American Indian culture. The Eastern Shawnee pow wow consisted of social dances where everyone was allowed participate and formal dances. The formal dances were part of a competition where Tribal members were judged for their dance skill and awarded prizes. Some of the dances included the men’s Fancy Dance, the Grass Dance, the women’s Shawl Dance, and and Jingle Dress dance.
The forms of the dances vary widely from extremely small, controlled, and formal movements to lively spinning and jumping depending on the dance. “We all had a great time and met many wonderful people,” said Cameron Wood a History Curator at OHS. The trip was coordinated with Tribal members and is part of OHS’s ongoing effort to bridge gaps with federally-recognized Native American tribes connected to Ohio, and to bring their culture back to Ohio so that people realize that Ohio’s Native peoples are still alive and active.