Find ‘wisdom and wellness’ at annual Pow Wow April 9

Annual celebration of American Indian culture is only Pow Wow within 100 miles of St. Louis

The 21st annual Pow Wow at Washington University in St. Louis, a festival of American Indian cultures, will be held Saturday, April 9, in the Field House.

This event, hosted by the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies at the Brown School, is free and open to the public.

Visitors and participants will be able to enjoy dancing, singing, drumming, arts, crafts and food. Intertribal and contest dancing take place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Traditional arts and crafts booths and community information booths open at 10 a.m.

“This is an event that brings together the Washington University community, the broader St. Louis community and dancers and guests from across Indian Country,” said Lakota Mowrer, member of the Cheyenne River Sioux and Buder Scholar.

“Currently, it is the only Pow Wow within 100 miles of St. Louis and is viewed by the Native community as a cultural event they can count upon each year.”


Sarah Nelson, a member of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and a Buder Scholar, says that the Pow Wow Committee has enhanced several aspects of the Pow Wow.

“This fall we hosted a logo competition asking Native graphic artists to design our logo. Our goal was to increase national and community involvement,” she says.

“We awarded prizes for first, second, and third place entries; the winning entry was created by an 11-year-old member of the Santo Domingo Pueblo Tribe, Dominic Melchor.”

“Additionally, we are using suggestions and recommendations from last year to enhance the overall experience of the invited Pow Wow head staff, drum groups, and dancers,” Mowrer says.

“First, in the celebratory spirit of Pow Wow, we are honoring our guests who travel great distances with a traditional meal. We wanted to incorporate a traditional meal to show our great appreciation to the individuals who travel to St. Louis to compete and assist us with the Pow Wow. The meal serves as a way to bring people together and to share our stories.

“Secondly, the 2011 Pow Wow has decided to invite four drums instead of its regular two to strengthen the ‘heartbeat’ of our celebration. The drum contributes the voice and controls the energy of the Pow Wow. Pow Wow dancers often choose their Pow Wows based upon the drum groups that are going to be there.”

The theme of this year’s events is “There is Wisdom and Wellness Within the Circle.”

“The theme was chosen to celebrate all dimensions of health and wellness and recognizing that individual health affects community health and global health,” Nelson says.

“Wisdom is created by having the knowledge of health behaviors and being supported by your community.”

The Buder Center, the American Indian Student Association and several departments as well as area businesses, organizations and individuals sponsor the Pow Wow.

For more information, call (314) 935-4510 or visit