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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

First Area Powwow of the 2016 Season at GVSU

Noel Stojkov

The first West Michigan Powwow of the season took place at Grand Valley State University over the weekend. Hundreds gathered around an oval arena in the center of the GVSU Fieldhouse: men and women and children dressed in full regalia. Larry Plamondon, the MC, offered the welcome.

[welcome in Anishinaabemowin] [Songs and vocables]

The welcome was in Anishinaabemowin, a language in which introductions matter.

"One of the most important things you can do is introduce yourself in the language. And so you saying your four sacred statements, which is your name, your clan, your tribe, and then where you’re from."

Belinda Bardwell, is Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians and helped me keep etiquette and generally understand the basics of powwow.

"So powwow, the word jiingtamok, means bending at the knee. Our powwow in this area is a social gathering.  They happen every weekend, so we’re busy most of the summer."

There are indoor powwows, camp-ground powwows, and even competition powwows. With one or more happening every weekend until fall, there’s a whole season to take that first step toward learning more about the original residents of West Michigan.

Credit Noel Stojkov / WGVU
First West Michigan Powwow of 2016 season at GVSU

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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