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Friday May 26, 2017
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Ann Arbor PowWow

 

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right thing to do, he says, would be for the person doing the recording to put money on the drum at the end of the song. The musicians sell CDs, and if people are recording for free, they're cutting into the market among the visitors seated in Crisler's upper rows.

Welcome to the annual Ann Arbor PowWow. It's a cultural celebration, a social event, and a competition, on the side a commercial enterprise with vendor booths and food stalls in the Crisler concourse, and all in all an extraordinary happening, both serious and spectacular, that everyone who lives around here should experience at least once. If you ever had the idea that the PowWow was primarily a show put on for curious visitors, you'll be quickly disabused of that notion — it's very much by and for Native Americans, with others allowed to look on from the upper deck.

The complete sequence of events is repeated three times, with variations and special presentations, over the weekend. It begins with the Grand Entry of all the dancers and musicians in full regalia. First in this procession is the head veteran, and honoring Native veterans is absolutely central to the entire event. The whole group joins in a Flag Song and a Veterans Song after all have entered, and with all the singers and drummers going in unison, the sound fills Crisler to the rafters. A group of flag carriers follows the head veteran with the Native American eagle staff and the American and Canadian flags.

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