Tribal regalia is traditional art

Rachel Pokornowski, Staff Writer

Sweet Grass Moon Pow Wow, a two-day event which occurred on July 8 and 9 in Hopkins, was open to the public to share the culture, songs and dances of the Pottawatomi Indians.

Generations of families were present. Tribal council member Phyllis Davis of the Gun Lake Tribe and her granddaughter Gracie were among the many who attended  are pictured wearing regalia.

Regalia is a special outfit worn during special dance ceremonies. Davis noted that they are not costumes; they are a visible representation of tribal heritage.

Regalia may be made from a variety of sources. Dancers may either buy from market places, have them custom made by professional artists or make their own.

Davis said it takes time to create them; many families pass down the elaborate and symbolic pieces from one generation to the next.

Davis made her own regalia; her granddaughter’s was purchased.

Davis asked teachers to help her learn how to make the regalia and identified four people to sponsor her.

Davis said, “Sponsors help throughout a person’s life with dances, songs, making decisions on styles and how to incorporate traditional colors to add to the ceremonial traditions.”

Different branches of tradition use specific colors signifying different concepts.

Some patterns trace back generations, passed family to family.

Patterns range from traditional to more modern—some even incorporate Stars Wars or Disney princess themes.

Davis said, “I love seeing how creative the young kids are.”

Contact Rachel Pokornowski at (269) 673-5534.       



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