Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Open Books Open Minds - There There by Tommy Orange

The RIC Open Books--Open Minds common book for 2020/2021

About Powwows

"We made powwows because we needed a place to be together. Something intertribal, something old, something to make us money, something we could work toward, for our jewelry, our songs, our dances, our drum. We keep powwowing because there aren't very many places where we get to all be together, where we get to see and hear each other." --There There, p. 135

Image: Larrimore, Walter. 2005 Powwow. National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC.


From "Native North Americans." Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life, 3rd ed., vol. 2: Americas, Gale, 2017, pp. 453-464:

"A uniquely Native North American form of entertainment and recreation called the powwow has developed in the last one hundred years. Powwows are gatherings in which Native North Americans from many tribes come together to sing, dance, gamble, and visit with friends and family. The main focus is on dancing, usually with a dance contest with money as prizes. [...] Pauwau was originally an Algonquin word for the gathering of “medicine men” or spiritual leaders. The modern powwow began among the Plains tribes and eventually spread throughout the United States and Canada. Until the 1970s, powwows took place only on reservations and reserves. In the modern era, some are held in convention centers and gymnasiums or at other large gathering places in cities. More than one thousand powwows are held each year, and many Native North Americans attend at least one [...] Powwows serve as cultural revivals, as well as entertainment, for Native North Americans. Important persons and personal events, such as athletic achievements, scholarships, retirements, and deaths, are also honored at powwows."

Experience America's Largest Powwow, a short film by Keeley Gould

In April 2014, over 700 tribes attended the 31st annual Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, New Mexico. From National Geographic's Short Film Showcase.