Fri Apr 12th, 2019
The Southern Ute Drum
The Children’s Powwow made its return to the Education, Literacy, Health and Inspiration Community Center (ELHI) on Saturday, April 6. This is the second consecutive year that the Daughters of the Red Road have hosted the event.
“A long time ago, I had a dream about a children’s powwow—it was shown to me as being completely run by the youth and for the youth,” Daughters of the Red Road member, Daisy Bluestar stated. Bringing that dream to a reality, the 3rd Annual Children’s Powwow filled the ELHI Community Center with children, tribal leaders, royalty, contestants and families who all joined in on the cultural experience.
The first powwow was held in the Ignacio Middle School gymnasium in 2016; unfortunately, in 2017 the powwow was put on hold, but the Daughters brought it back in 2018 for the 2nd Annual Children’s Powwow. Only growing from there, this year’s powwow was the largest to date. It was the first year where dancers and drums could compete in contest specials for cash prize money.
Not only did the Daughters of the Red Road sponsor and fundraise for the entire prize money amount, they received an outpouring of support from the community. Farmers Fresh supermarket donated space for the Red Road to host a bake sale fundraiser. Victim Services of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe gave the powwow committee sweet grass, cedar sticks and sage to be given away during the grandparents’ honor song and dance. Kasey Correia of Dancing Spirit Community Arts Center sponsored the powwow site. “My job is to empower the community—it was a blessing to see the way everything unfolded,” Correia expressed.
Dancers, young and elder participated throughout the day long event. The host drum, Blackstar from Oklahoma filled the ELHI gymnasium with round dance, intertribal, and honor songs throughout the day.
Pride and gratitude could be felt at the ELHI during the daylong event, elders took turns speaking to the youth. Some even honored the kids with songs or they shared stories of their earliest powwow memories. “Everybody was in good hands, I was busy most of the event so each time I took a breath and went to find my kids they were being watched by my relatives in the building,” Bluestar shared. “Even though I was busy, I didn’t have to worry about my kids too much because I knew they were safe.”
The biggest display of support came from the mentors who taught the children how to carry in the flags, say the opening prayer and emcee the powwow. Numerous leadership roles were created during the event. “Everybody did their part. People stepped forward as they needed to,” Daughters of the Red Road member Neida Chakee stated.
The powwow improved the way youth were engaging in a social event. It provided a space for them to grow, become more independent and taught them how to work in teams which in turn strengthened their leadership skills. “We’re learning from them just as much as they learn from us—I think it was good medicine for everyone,” Correia stated.
In preparation for the powwow, community members donated their time by showing up early to set up tables and chairs. Most spent time baking cakes ahead of time for the youth to give away during specials and contests held as part of the kids powwow. Venders donated their own merchandise to the raffle held that day, everything from bags to powwow regalia were given out. There were also donations from local shops and businesses to have as prizes for the cake walk specials that the Daughters of the Red Road hosted.
“It was an honor to see the kids stepping up, there were blessings all around,” Bluestar shared. “It’s not about us [adults] we’re only here to support our kids.”
The Daughters of the Red Road, are a group of women who host different events to “create projects for and with the community to give people purpose,” Chakee explained. “If anyone has an idea for an event or wants help with one, reach out to us.”
The powwow will return again next year to the SunUte Community Center and will feature Iron Colt, a children’s drum group as their host drum.
“This was a good event. It got our local kids out, they were helping each other out in little ways—they’re learning how to work together and that’s the ultimate goal,” Bluestar stated.