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Meskwaki Powwow ready for the 103rd annual event

August 9, 2017
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Events get underway tonight for the 103rd annual Meskwaki Powwow on the Settlement.

The Powwow Princess competition gets underway at 7 p.m. at the Powwow Grounds at Battleground Road and Tama County Road E49, three miles west of Tama. A princess and junior princess wil be chosen.

Eleina Young Bear is the 2016 princess and Arlis Walker is the 2016 junior princess.

Article Photos

News-Herald file photo

Performances begin on Thursday with the Grand entries at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. through Sunday (Aug. 10-13.)

Guests will enjoy a variety of traditional dances including the Buffalo Head, Shield, Rabbit and Friendship. The dancers are dressed in colorful and traditional regalia.

In addition Native American crafts are on display and some offered for sale and traditional foods including the famous fry bread are offered.

Special Days

Thursday is Children's Day, Friday - Seniors Day and Saturday is Veterans Day with special admission prices for those groups that day

Special events are always a part of the Sunday Powwows.

From Jonathan Buffalo,

tribal historian:

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. 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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