By Adam Cook
Drums, animal pelts and elegant headdresses crowded the Granite State Room in the MUB on Saturday, Nov. 7, as the UNH Native American Cultural Association held its fifth annual Powwow.
With vendors lining the walls and a large circle formed in the middle of the room, the stage was set for UNH’s Native American Cultural Association, or NACA, to promote Native American culture.
“The powwow is super beneficial because it allows students to be submersed in a culture that isn’t as prevalent as it used to be,” said Mackensie Brown, a UNH senior and organizer of the event.
People kept filling the room with their elegant native attire as they gazed upon the different items that the vendors were selling.
The vendors brought an array of mostly homemade items. Food, jewelry, animal pelts, clothes, boots, dream catchers and different types of art were included among the many items for sale.
“The kids all have a good heart,” said Jeanne Sulesky, one of the vendors selling handmade goods at the powwow. “They are sincere in learning about the culture.”
Sulesky said her husband has worked with the NACA from the first powwow and now she continues to work it in honor of her husband and the NACA.
“We are getting older and have to pass on the culture,” said Sulesky in regards to her presence at the event.
Outside on the balcony of the Granite State Room was a demonstration of the Native American ritual known as smudging. Smudging is a Native American practice in which a smudge stick, or a small bundle of herbs such as sage, is burned and wafted around either a person or a room using a feather. This ritual is said to clear out all of the negative energy either in the room or that surrounds the person.
The circular stage formed by a ring of chairs was used for performers such as dancers and drummers to show attendees another aspect of the Native American culture and to further immerse them into the overall ambiance of the powwow.
“Hopefully I’ll put on a good show today,” said Kyle Morin, an assistant Boy Scout leader and member of The Order of the Arrow, a group also known as the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America.
As a part of The Order of the Arrow, Morin brings his Native American inspired dance team to local powwows to help enrich the experience for the powwow attendees.
“The more dancers the merrier,” Morin said.
With all of the unique attire from the dancers to the attendees, the powwow was able to celebrate and inform attendees about Native American culture. Brown said there are a lot of new members who will try their best to carry on with hosting the annual powwow.