The 37th annual Great Mohican Pow-Wow was held Sept. 16-18. The Pow-Wow featured dancing and drumming competitions, food vendors, arts and crafts, as well as other entertainment and activities. Several Kenyon faculty members along with the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) arranged for Kenyon students to attend the Pow-Wow on Sept. 18.
The Pow-Wow is held annually in Loudonville, Ohio at the Mohican Reservation Campgrounds. The Pow-Wow’s website describes the significance of the event: “Pow-Wow time is the Native American people’s way of meeting together, to join in dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships and making new ones,” it reads. “This is a time to renew thought of the old ways and to preserve a rich heritage.”
Highlights on Sunday included the dance competition, which featured performers of all ages performing a variety of dance styles, and performances by smoke dancers Sheldon N the Smoke Crew. The spirit of the event was celebratory and educational, as the MC and other speakers took time to explain things to the audience. For some of the dances, members of the audience were invited into the arena to join in.
This year was the first time Kenyon arranged transportation for students to attend the final day of the Pow-Wow. A bus took students to Loudonville for the afternoon, where the College covered the $10 admission to the event and provided a $15 stipend for lunch. According to Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies and English Sara Pfaff, 80 students registered to attend. Additionally, Kenyon faculty, including Pfaff, operated a booth at the event selling Pow-Wow merchandise including tote bags and reusable cups. The booth raised $300 dollars, which was donated back to the Pow-Wow Organizing Committee.
Kenyon also sponsored a portion of the Pow-Wow — it donated $4,800 to sponsor the drum competition, which made up the prize money for the top three drummers.
Acting President Jeff Bowman said there is more to come in terms of engagement with Indigenous communities. “This was under the framework of ODEI, but it also involved a bunch of faculty members whose teaching interests intersect, and so they’ve been thinking about how to develop programming and make progress in this area,” he said.