Sunday, August 3, 2008

Pow-wow and Indian Rodeo

This weekend is Pow Wow weekend on Pine Ridge Reservation, which means the town of Pine Ridge has increased in population by many thousands who have come to join in on the carnival, pow-wow, and rodeo, along with basketball and baseball tournaments, lots of food, and plenty of traditional arts and crafts for sale. It has been a really neat time for me to see so many different people, especially all the young people, coming together to celebrate Lakota culture, both modern and traditional.

Here are a few videos I've captured to give you a taste. I'll try to edit up something nicer in the future:

First off, on Friday evening, we went to the "Indian Rodeo" where we witnessed a whole host of tricks involving horses, calves, steers, and bulls. Bull Riding was probably the most exciting and impressive, although I also like the racing events and Junior Bareback, where young boys and girls clung onto the backs of bucking horses. They call time after 6 seconds, which gives you an idea of how challenging it is to stay on!!

The particular video I included is of "Team Roping" where one cowboy has to secure the calf's head with his lasso and then the other one has to secure his hind legs. 5 seconds are added to your time if you only get one back leg instead of both.

Later on Friday evening, and Saturday evening as well, we went to the Pow-Wow. It is really something to experience -- a huge donut-shaped roof shelters onlookers and drummers from sun and rain while the dancers compete in the middle. The music is provided by a whole range of drumming groups that sit in circles intermixed with the crowd itself. Someone goes around with a microphone from group to group, and wow are those drums loud when they are played right next to you! This video should give you some idea of the experience. Although the lighting and quality are not that great, you can see the drumming/singing group in the beginning with one kind of dancing -- Men's fancy dancing. Just like in the rodeo, they have a whole bunch of different categories and judges to evaluate the dancers' performances. Later in the video there is a bit of hoop dancing and a shot of the very end of the pow-wow where young and old alike came forward and danced together.

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