Pow-Wow commandeers Campus Recreation Center

By Matthew Rainwater

DeKALB | NIU’s Campus Recreation Center was alive with the sound of thundering drum beats, chanting and plenty of traditional American Indian dancing on Saturday.

The celebration was for the 13th Annual Native American Pow-Wow, hosted by NATIONS — Native Americans Together to Insure Our Nations’ Sovereignty.

The event was meant to show the culture of American Indians through the use of clothing, food and arts and crafts.

Participants could sign a petition to create a Native American Cultural Center at NIU for those interested in the culture. It would encourage people to gather and support American Indian students who are enrolled at NIU.

J.J. Kent, a flautist from Tennessee, played for everyone attending the Pow-Wow. He’s been nominated at the Indian Summer Music Festival Awards in 2004 and 2005. Other people and groups who came to perform were the Aztec Dance Group, Night Eagle Singers and Canyon Singers, all based out of the Chicagoland area.

Lyssa Liotta, a junior kinesiology and physical education major, was at the Pow-Wow to take in the culture. Liotta said being able to dance in the circle was an exhilarating experience.

“Being able to get out there and dance with all those people was really enjoyable,” Liotta said. “It gave me a chance to bond with these people of all backgrounds.”

A first timer to the Pow-Wow was Richard Daniels from nearby Huntley, Ill. He also had the chance to dance in the circle and said he felt he was one with everyone that was also taking part with the rhythmic beating drum.

Dan Eads of Prophetstown, Ill. and Karen Donoho of Davis Junction, Ill. were no strangers to the Pow-Wow.

Eads has been taking part in this Pow-Wow for the past six years, after a friend of his invited him to come. Eads, a self-proclaimed Native American enthusiast, was dressed in full dancer regalia and was dancing along with everyone else much of the time. He had a dance stick that represented a horse. The animal has a lot of meaning to him, since he’s a farmer and takes care of horses.

A veteran to the 13th Annual Native American Pow-Wow, Donoho has been taking part in this event and also has been going to other Pow-Wows that take place elsewhere for the past 15 years.

“I take part because I have Native American heritage within my family,” Donoho said. “It’s a way to see people and get to know them, just like a family reunion, where you can watch people’s kids grow up over the years.”