Native American dancers from all over the region will pit their skills against one another April 20-21 during the ninth annual Big Spring Powwow, but before the drum circles get under way, event coordinators say sponsors and volunteers are needed to help make the cultural show a success.
“Donations and sponsors are what keep the powwow going each year,” said Richard “Indio” Lesser, event coordinator for the Big Spring Powwow Committee. “It costs anywhere from $8,000 to $10,000 to put it on each year, so donations are always a huge help, even if it's just a few dollars here and there. Our local businesses, who help sponsor the event, are a huge part of what we do. We'll be taking business sponsors right up until about a week before the powwow.”
Lesser said sponsorships allow local businesses and residents to show their support for the annual event, which aims to educate the community on Native American culture.
“Businesses can sponsor for a minimum donation of $50,” Lesser said. “That guarantees their name will be in the program. Also, area residents who would like to make a donation — no matter how much it is — are very much appreciated, as well.”
Another vital part of the powwow is the men and women who donate their time, Lesser said.
“They are the ones who keep the powwow running smoothly throughout the day. We have a core group of volunteers who help with the event every year; however, we're hoping to get some new volunteers this year to keep things growing.”
The event, which features Native American dance competitions as well as vendors from all over the region, is something the local committee looks forward to, Lesser said, but you might be surprised to learn just how much others are looking forward to the show.
“The vendors are very excited about coming back to Big Spring. Many of them have been returning ever since the first couple of years the Big Spring Powwow has been held,” Lesser said. “A lot of them compare this powwow to a family reunion. That's how much they look forward to seeing one another. I think that really says a lot about the hospitality of our community and the Big Spring Powwow itself.”
For those who think the powwow is a religious ceremony and might be apprehensive about attending, Lesser said those worries are completely unfounded.
“The powwow is a social event and there is no Native American religion involved; there will be no medicine men and no ceremonies,” Lesser said. “A powwow is a wonderful experience; the drums alone will lift your heart and make your feet want to dance.
“Dancing has always been a big part of the Native American culture, as it has in many cultures. Most people think of war dances or rain dances. However, Native Americans dance for many reasons — a good hunt or harvest, marriage or childbirth, or just for the fun of it. These dances would last for days.”
If music and dance aren't quite enough to interest you, Lesser said shopping might just do the trick for most Crossroads residents, as vendors will be offering a number of items and treats.
“The vendors will be selling all kinds of Native American wares, from jewelry and art to food, like the traditional fry bread,” said Lesser. “There will also be a silent auction, so it should be a lot of fun for everyone in the family.”
For more information about the powwow — including sponsorships and to volunteer — contact Lesser at 432-935-0125 or visit the Powwow Committee’s website at www.powwowbigspring.net