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Powwow features dances, crafts and culture

Jim ThorpeA Native American Southern Powwow in honor of elder Bill Thorpe, son of legendary 20th Century athlete, Jim Thorpe, will begin at noon Saturday, July 9 in the Ken Bahnsen Gymnasium.

Admission is free.

The Native American ceremony will feature dances, arts and crafts and traditional native food. Events start with the Gourd Dance followed by an Aztec dance exhibition at 2 p.m., grand entry at 2:30 p.m., and closing ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

Jim Thorpe, left, was an Olympian and multi-sport athlete who in 1950 was selected by American sportswriters and broadcasters as the greatest American athlete and the greatest football player of the first half of the 20th century. He was named Athlete of the Century by ABC Sports in 2001.

Thorpe also was an actor who appeared in about 50 films, and was involved in Native American politics. He was affiliated with the Sac and Fox/Potawatomi, and attended Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kan., and Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Penn. Thorpe died in 1953.

UNT and this Native American tradition share similar histories as powwows began in the last decades of the 19th Century, about the same time that the university opened its doors. About 25 Muscogee Creek students attended the first UNT classes more than 100 years ago.

Powwows were started by Native Americans as a means of building intertribal community activities at a time when American Indians were increasingly moving to cities and serving in the military. They therefore served as a forum for dancers from many different Native nations to compete and socialize. Today, powwows are held throughout the United States and Canada, and are the primary place for non-Natives to experience the beauty and vibrancy of Native American dance, art, crafts and cultures.

  • Learn more about powwows and find photos and videos of dances.
  • Learn more about powwow co-sponsor Native Revision, a Dallas nonprofit organization that supports Native American sports, health and related programs.

Posted on: Wed 06 July 2011

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