Chenoa Peters, center, is crowned princess on July 3, 2017, at the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's 94th annual powwow in Massachusetts. Photo: Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
Opinion

Sarah Sunshine Manning: Tribes celebrate their independence at powwows





Powwows take place all over Indian Country and throughout the year. But what about July 4 powwows? Sarah Sunshine Manning (Shoshone-Paiute and Chippewa Cree) calls them a celebration of tribal identity:
The 4th of July weekend for many tribal communities is a nuanced topic, rich with a unique history of cultural resilience. While many mainstream Americans celebrate American Independence on the 4th of July, the weekend has a much different meaning for many tribal communities throughout Indian Country.

On this very weekend, a number of reservation communities host powwows and cultural celebrations rooted in over a century of history. Yet for some proponents of decolonization, and even those less-informed on the variations in our many tribal histories, at first glance it may appear as though Native Americans are actually celebrating their own colonization at these celebrations. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Colonized,” and “Tomfoolery,” are just a couple of unenlightened terms I have heard from a handful of individuals who misconstrue what takes place in tribal communities on this very weekend.

Yet to misconstrue the past and present by summing up Indigenous 4th of July Powwows and gatherings as “colonized,” is egregiously short-sighted, and inaccurate.

Read More on the Story:
Sarah Sunshine Manning: Taking Back our Identity at “4th of July” Powwow Celebrations (Indian Country Media Network 7/4)