USM Powwow Connects Tribe, Community

USM’s Golden Eagle Inter-Tribal sociey hosted the Southern Miss Pow Wow of 2015 this weekend at the Petal Middle School’s gymanisum. Celebrated outfits and songs of Native American tribes were displayed through dance, and many interesting and historic pieces of the Native American culture and history were available for purchase at booths around the gymanisum for the duration of the event. -Michael Kavitz

The Golden Eagle Intertribal Society (GEIS) at The University of Southern Mississippi hosted the 13th Annual Powwow April 17-19 in the Petal Middle School gymnasium.

The free, family-oriented event hosted people and tribes from all over the country and included traditional Native American dances, dancing competitions, music and art, as well as food and vendors.

Multiple attendees commented that the point of the powwow was to invite all members of the community, both Native American and non-Native American, to fellowship and learn more about the Native American people and culture.

What we are doing here is inviting people to meet and greet and become aware of the Choctaw presence and the Indian presence in our nation, especially here in Mississippi, and to get to know us,” said Tammy Greer, a Southern Miss professor and faculty adviser for the GEIS.

We are here to share part of our culture with the public,” said Vance Beaver, an attendee, competitive dancer and member of the Muskogee Creek tribe of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. “The powwow is for us to see old friends (and) meet new friends. It’s a happy time.”

The powwow, which used to be on the USM campus and was moved for space reasons, also featured a School Day April 16 when local elementary school children played games and made crafts inspired by Native American culture in order to learn more about the American Indians. Greer said the GEIS also has another School Day in November and traveled to schools throughout the year. On campus, the group holds ceremonies and events in the Medicine Wheel Garden located between the Liberal Arts Building and the International Building.

Greer encouraged the USM community to come to the various events and to learn more about the GEIS.

There’s a lot that you may know (about Native Americans]) and there’s a lot that you may not know, and the only way to figure that out and to meet a people and to really have a relationship with a people is to come and meet people,” Greer said.

Beaver also mentioned his desire to see students be more involved in the powwow and GEIS in order to build new relationships.

We recognize all tribes. You are a tribe, I am a tribe and we are intertribal,” Beaver said.

According to the press release, in addition to the GEIS, the event was hosted by the Center for American Indian Research and Studies, the Petal Chamber of Commerce and the city of Petal. Sponsors listed were the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Office of the Tribal Chief, Southern Miss President’s Office, College of Arts and Letters, College of Science and Technology, Visit Mississippi, the Hattiesburg Convention Commission, Pearl River Resort and various local businesses.

For more information about the GEIS contact, Tammy Greer or president Nicklaus Shumake.