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Pow Wowwing

 A couple of weeks ago I was invited by a regular client (the ones behind the Preservation50 event I covered) to come photograph a Native American Powwow. My experience of Native American culture has been limited to the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian and a visit to the Cherokee in North Carolina (the photos from which will eventually show up in another blog post). There is not a lot of Native American culture left, and I’ve always been fascinated with this entire world of peoples and nations that has almost completely disappeared. What would North America be today if it had never been "discovered"?

 

The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape is a tribal confederation representing the descendants of Alongquian speaking tribes that lived in the Delmarva Peninsula, southern New Jersey and northern Delaware. The modern tribe is made up of the peoples whose ancestors remained in the area or returned after forced removals. 


Our Pow Wow celebrates the culture and socializing of American Indians. It is a “living event” and not a “reenactment.”  Public Pow Wows invite non-American Indian people to learn and enjoy the celebration, while also respecting the culture.
— http://nanticoke-lenapetribalnation.org/public-notices/2016-pow-wow/

Whatever you do, don’t call the traditional outfits ‘costumes’.

The traditional outfits worn by American Indians are not “costumes;” they are “regalia.”  Regalia is an expression of spirit, and has been prayed over and blessed. Honor it, the person wearing it, and the living history it represents. Do not touch anyone’s regalia without their permission.
— http://nanticoke-lenapetribalnation.org/public-notices/2016-pow-wow/

The regalia were one of the most beautiful parts of the event. They varied from traditional grass and chicken dancers to ones influenced by modern society (the guy with the hat and the hipster facial hair), and I am fairly certain one was a Prince tribute (the purple pants gave it away).

 

 No one presenting their work should ever preface it with “This isn’t very good, but…”. But that is exactly what I am going to do. The light wasn’t great and there was so much clutter in the background that I had a hard time trying to isolate the dancers from the not-out-of-focus-enough sea of spectators. But, considering, I think there are some decent shots.

 

 

(tl;dr) no one looks at my website, I don't care, I'mma post photos anyway, went to Pow Wow, took photos, don’t call regalia costumes.