American Indian Event Wows St. Louis Region

The Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work hosted the university’s 21st annual Pow Wow. (Joe Angeles)

Members of the St. Louis community and individuals representing more than 30 American Indian tribes gathered to sing, dance, eat and celebrate at Washington University’s 21st annual Pow Wow.

The April 9 event, hosted by the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, is one of the only pow wows in the St. Louis region. With nearly 5,000 attendees, it was the largest Pow Wow hosted at the university to date.

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

This year’s theme was “There Is Wisdom and Wellness Within the Circle.”

“The theme was chosen to celebrate all dimensions of health and wellness and to recognize that individual health affects community health and global health,” says Sarah Nelson, a member of the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and a Buder Scholar.

The Pow Wow has earned praise not only for bringing cultures together, but also for raising awareness of American Indian culture.

“Stereotypes of the stoic, warrior-like American Indian exist to this day, and the Washington University Pow Wow assists in breaking these misconceptions by allowing community members to observe American Indian culture in a free, day-long event,” Nelson says.

Many university community members contributed to the event.

“Without the help of our many volunteers, the Washington University Pow Wow would not have the reputation it does as one of the best pow wows in the Midwest,” Nelson says.

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