Just as the sun pulses over the horizon to signal the dawn, the drum beat heralds the dancers to rise and move towards the center of the powwow circle. Led by honored elders, veterans and tribal members with flags and eagle staffs, the grand entry begins and the grounds soon fill with the vivid colors of intricately woven regalia.
The men lead the lively procession, wearing horn caps and headdresses, porcupine hair roaches, feathered bustles, bone breastplates, beaded cuffs, buckskin fringe and ribbon shirts. They are followed women with eagle plumes fastened into finely braided hair and feathered fans gripped in hands, while the others move in brightly beaded gowns and crowns, vibrant fringe shawls and jingle dresses shining in the sun.
As the children enter, the drum beats are accompanied by voices echoing in song with the chorus of beads, bells and shells, ringing in unison.
A mix of excitement and pride carries the dancers into the evening as they swirl around the circle, drifting between the past and the future, just as the smoke of sage and cedar that scents the summer night.
NEBRASKA POWWOW CALENDAR 2015
Fort Robinson Intertribal Gathering Powwow, Crawford – June 12-14
Located on the parade grounds of the historic Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford, the 16th annual Intertribal Gathering Powwow is hosted by the Friends of the Intertribal Powwow.
Isanti Dakota Wacipi, Santee – June 20-21
The Santee Sioux Tribe hosts an annual traditional powwow with contest specials near Santee in northeast Nebraska.
Winnebago Homecoming Celebration Powwow, Winnebago – July 24-26
The Winnebago Homecoming Celebration at Veteran’s Memorial Park honors warriors of the past, present and future and commemorates the return of Winnebago war chief Little Priest and company “A” Fort Omaha Scouts, 34th Nebraska volunteers in 1866. More than $60,000 in contest prizes are awarded to powwow participants with an additional $30,000 in drum contest prizes.
Indian Club Powwow, Lincoln – August 1-2
The Indian Club Powwow is held at the Indian Center grounds in Lincoln, as their annual fundraiser.
Omaha Tribe Harvest Festival Powwow, Macy – August 7-10
This will count the 211th year for the gathering also known as the Umonhon Hedawachi.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Powwow, Niobrara – August 7-9
A traditional powwow, this year will mark the 21st annual event since the Ponca Restoration Act, a law that reinstated the tribe’s federal recognition in 1990. Located at the historic Ponca Agency and museum grounds, visitors can walk an interpretive trail to the Ponca earth lodge.
Indian Center Powwow, Lincoln – August 14-16
The 45th Anniversary of the Indian Center, Inc. will be honored during their 7th annual powwow, which includes contests, social dances and a gourd dance each day.
Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow, Omaha – September 12
The Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow at the historic Fort Omaha Metropolitan Community College campus in Omaha features educational demonstrations and dance specials.