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Look! 37 Photos and Recap of 20th Annual UTA NASA Pow Wow!

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown June 14th, 2015 Last Updated on: June 14th, 2015

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Our friend Emilia Gaston recently attended the 20th Annual UTA NASA Pow Wow and was nice enough to share with us some great photos and her summary of the event. Here she is in her own words:

Despite having to reschedule from their original date in February due to inclement weather in North Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington Native American Student Association (NASA) successfully hosted their 20th Annual Benefit Powwow this past Sunday on the university campus. The highly anticipated event drew a crowd of nearly 500 community members, students and faculty interested in celebrating Native American culture and powwow traditions. After the initial date was cancelled, NASA was burdened with an irreplaceable loss of funds and the subsequent threat of not being able to have the powwow at all in this landmark year. However, with overwhelming support from the community, the reschedule was in high demand. After a Go Fund Me page was set up to recover their losses, NASA raised over $2,500 in donations from those in support, anxiously awaiting another powwow, one of the most anticipated in the area.

The day began with gourd dancing and honor songs sung by the host drum, AC Woodlands, before a dinner break preluding the grand entry.

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In opening remarks, the crowd heard from Dr. Vistasp Karbhari, the first UTA president to make an appearance at the annual powwow in its 19 year existence.

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Stephanie Vielle, UTA NASA president and Marine veteran, cordially welcomed everyone to the event and thanked the crowd for their support before she joined the color guard to display the flags for the grand entry.

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Songs from the drum could be heard outside the building all the way out to the parking lot, where inside, the day was filled with energetic dancing from all ages, round dancing and fellowship.

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At the conclusion of the 10-hour day, NASA had raised over $3,000 to replenished their scholarship fund for the year through raffles and donations from the crowd. “We definitely have a goal to have UTA be listed in the 200 best schools for Native Americans in the annual Winds of Change Education issue, published by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society,” explained Vielle, who wrote an excerpt detailing the powwow's history below:

“The University of Texas, Arlington's Native American Student Association (NASA) was created and founded in 1994 by Dr. Kenneth Roemer, English Department professor and recipient of countless awards, and Joseph Bohanon, who is now Dr. Bohanon, teaching Native American Studies and psychology courses at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and who is the co-owner of Native Insights Consulting Firm. In the very early years of the association and each year proceeding, every president had taken their charge and kept the association alive to pass it on to the next president. I only wished I had every single detail that took place in order to keep NASA ongoing so that the day could come that I would be elected the UTA Native American Student Association President. However, that story will have to be told at a later time.

This school year 2014-15 is the 20th year of our associations presence at UTA and I am very proud to be the president and even more proud of the team that has been with me this year. All the advisors, officers and members of UTA NASA planned for the 20th Annual Benefit Powwow to commemorate the 19 previous years and it was destined to have been a great powwow. However, as unpredictable as Texas weather can be, the ice storm that hit in February made us cancel the original date, February 28th, 2015. Due to our supportive community, we were highly encouraged to reschedule the powwow and so that's what we did. Our rescheduled date is June 7th, 2015 at the UTA Bluebonnet Ballroom [E.H. Hereford University Center 300 West 1st St Arlington, TX 76019] and doors open to the public at 12 pm, admission is free and there will be free parking available. There will be traditional dancing, singing, custom regalia worn by the dancers, Indian Tacos will be available for purchase, a language contest, a Native film festival and much more. The powwow will close its doors at 10 p.m.

Powwows are a tradition to tribal people across this nation and in Canada, however, non-tribal people tend to think of powwows as a meeting or ceremony. This is not a ceremony but it can be considered a celebration of achievement for UTA NASA, and that is why we want people to join us at the powwow. Our goal, as NASA, is not only to bring tribal people together but also use this opportunity to teach others about the modern Native culture and the traditions passed down from our ancestors, that we as a people have struggled for the rights to preserve in our ways. As times have changed so have the people but our commitment to the old ways stay strong. If I had to compare it to a people who has been keeping traditions strong but modernizing at the same time, I would compare it to the U.S. Marines. As a Marine, I have strong traditions but as times modernize so has the Marine Corps, but traditions never die.”

– By Stephanie Vielle, Native American Student Association President 2015-16

A special thanks to:
Dr. Roemer, Les Ridingin, Colleen Fitzgerald, Harold Rogers, Talyna Morrison, Tristen Sierra Cardwell, Mariah Cherry, Lindy AV Gordineer, Taylor Barnett, Lezette Montion, Kristy Willis & Robert Caldwell

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Thank you so much for sharing your words and photos with us Emilia!

If you'd like to attend this pow wow next year, make sure you connect with the Native American Student Association online at: www.uta.edu/NASA or follow them on social media at Facebook: UTA Native American Students and Twitter: @UTA_Powwow


Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » Look! 37 Photos and Recap of 20th Annual UTA NASA Pow Wow!

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.



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