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University of Iowa News Release


April 1, 2009

Powwow returns to UI April 11 featuring music, food, arts and crafts

The University of Iowa American Indian Student Association (AISA) will celebrate the American Indian culture through song and dance at the UI Powwow Saturday, April 11 in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Doors open at 10 a.m., and grand entry, a vibrant processional involving all competitors, will take place at noon and 7 p.m.

For more than 15 years, AISA hosted the powwow, which returns after a three-year hiatus. American Indian culture will also be shared through music, food, arts and crafts.

Dancers and drum groups from across the Midwest will perform and compete for more than $14,000 in cash awards in 21 categories. Dancers compete in seniors, adults, teen, men, women and junior age divisions, and in traditional, fancy, jingle and grass dance styles. Each of these dances requires a distinctive style of footwork and regalia. The dancers are judged on their outfits and accessories and how well they dance. Inter-tribal dances are also scheduled.

"A powwow is a celebration that allows Native American people to get together and enjoy their culture and share it with others, too," says AISA co-chair, Theresa Heitz, a UI junior. "It's a family friendly event and a great way to learn about Native American culture."

Powwows are held nearly every week across the country, with some attracting thousands of people over several days, she said. This year's UI Powwow is being revived as a one-day event after being a three-day event held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the past. In previous years, the UI Powwow was one of the largest student events on the UI campus and drew 7,000 people.

Among the performers at this year's Powwow will be host drummers from the Meskwaki Nation in Tama, and head dancers Rebecca Smith and Dana Warrington. Master of ceremonies will be Keveon Kingbird, and Tyler Lasley will be head judge.

Larry Yazzie will be the arena director, helping keep the powwow moving and organized. Yazzie, who was raised on the Meskwaki Indian Settlement, helped organize previous powwows at the UI and is a world champion dancer who has performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics and many venues worldwide.

Native American art created by UI student Christine Nobiss will be raffled at the event.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children and senior citizens. Group rates and family passes are available. Admission is free to UI students.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program contact the AISA at 319-335-8298 in advance.

For more information, see or call AISA at 319-335-8298.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Theresa Heitz, American Indian Student Association 319-335-8298,; George McCrory, 319-384-0012,

OTHER INFORMATION: For background information on powwows, see and