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Opinion
Jodi Rave: Women singers shine at powwow


"Every once in a while, women singers - those who sing backup or sit at a drum - will be honored during a powwow singing contest.

Last weekend, women singers pulled out all the stops during Empero Corral's contest “special.” The 15-year-old powwow princess sponsored the event to mark the end of her reign as Miss Spokane Tribe during her community's 93rd annual Spokane Tribal Powwow.

Empero knows challenges exist for women singers, especially those who want to sing at a drum instead of behind it.

Her dad offers this advice: “When you go to a powwow, ask the people. When you go to a powwow, ask the committee. Don't be rude and just set your drum up.”

Still, many women have been sitting at the drum and singing most of their lives. “Some say women don't belong at the drum,” said Justine Slim John, a Blackfeet and Chippewa Cree from Browning. “They only stand in back.”

Slim John grew up being accepted at the drum. “I like it. I know how to sing. It's an enjoyment of participating and being part of the powwow.”

She started singing at age 9. She also sang with her father's group, the Two Medicine Lake Singers from the Blackfeet Reservation."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Blackfeet women shine at powwow (The Missoulian 9/9)

Relevant Links:
Jodi Rave - http://www.missoulian.com/jodirave

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