On Friday, March 23, 2012 ELK Staff took our Leadership group to the 38th Annual Denver March Powwow which is held each year, around the same time, thanks to Lolita (who attends every year) for obtaining tickets for us. This is a first for ELK; it was a very new and different experience for us all. The kids loved it they couldn’t stop dancing to the drums once grand entry started. Grand entry is how the powwow usually begins. The Eagle Staff leads the Grand Entry, followed by flags, then the dancers, while one of the host drums sings an opening song. This event is sacred in nature; some powwows do not allow filming or photography during this time, though others allow it.
If military veterans or active duty soldiers are present, they often carry the flags and eagle staffs. They are followed by the head dancers, then the remaining dancers usually enter the arena in a specific order: Men’s Traditional, Men’s Grass Dance, Men’s Fancy, Women’s Traditional, Women’s Jingle, and Women’s Fancy. Teens and small children then follow in the same order. Following the Grand Entry, the MC will invite a respected member of the community to give an invocation. The host drum that did not sing the Grand Entry song will then sing a Flag Song, followed by a Victory or Veterans’ Song, during which the flags and staffs are posted at the MC’s table.
I believe one of the things that captured the attention of our youth is the fact that there were people of all ages dancing. From infant to elderly all dressed in their traditional regalia. All in all it was a great time and a great experience and we definitely plan on attending again next year. It is a one of a kind experience.