The third annual #BraveNation Powwow and Gathering (BNPG) was held in the gym of the English E. Jones Health and Physical Education Center on March 23.
The powwow included drum contests, Adult and Teen Women and Men’s Northern and Southern Traditional, Adult and Teen Women and Men’s Fancy, Adult and Teen Men’s Grass and Women’s Jingle. There were also competitions for juniors, ages six to 12 and tiny tots, ages five and under.
The event’s main purpose was to show pride in the university and its Native American roots. However, it still incorporated traditional things such as healing dances that are performed when a member of their tribe is dealing with something and needs prayers.
To most, dancing is like praying. The powwows are compared to going to church – members use this time to express their needs and gratitude for things while paying homage to their culture and history.
This year’s Host Drum was War Paint, formed in the summer of 2013, to carry on the teachings of Ray Little Turtle of the Lumbee Tribe.
Hannah Tyndall, 16, of Fayetteville, N.C. danced in the Junior’s Women’s Jingle. She explained that she had only recently gotten into her heritage and culture two years ago when she met her boyfriend.
“His family was super involved in the Lumbee Tribe and their culture and that’s really what got me into it,” she said.
“When I first started going to culture class, I was really nervous, I was scared to dance and I’ve never really been a shy person,” said Tyndall regarding her start in dancing. “Dancing is something that I’ve truly fallen in love with and it’s the only thing that I’ve ever felt good at. Dancing is my escape, it’s my therapy. When I step into the area with my dress on, my mind goes blank. It’s like I can feel everything. I can feel my ancestors praying with me, I can feel all of the loved ones I’ve lost. I can feel everyone’s pain around me, and I take that all in and make it something beautiful out of it...I dance,” she said.
PN Photo/Alex Smith