American Indians Reaching for Opportunities hosts annual pow-wow
In effort to bring the community together American Indians Reaching for Opportunities (AIRO) will be hosting the 43rd annual Pow-Wow Saturday, May 7, in the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) Berg Gym.
The event will be at 1 and 6 p.m. with grand entries, and a meal will be served at 5 p.m. It is open for the public. General admission tickets are $5 and students with their ID are $3. The ticket price also covers the cost of the meal.
AIRO encourages community members to come because it is an important part of understanding Native American culture. The event’s emcee, Sunny Smart, will explain what is happening at different points in the Pow-Wow in order to educate community members on the culture and event.
The pow-wow begins with a grand entrance at 1 and 6 p.m. with the meal in between. The grand entrance is where the dancers, color guard and royalty are introduced. Then the honor song will be performed. Everyone who has served in U.S. military forces will be recognized, along with flags of the wars they served in.
After this the royalty will be recognized and then the dancers. Finally, more traditional songs will be played for the public and dancers to participate in.
Though the Portage County Cultural Festival is the same day, Rainer Miller, Stockbridge-Munsee and treasurer for AIRO, said this will only help improve attendance because there will be a bus going between the two so they can see both.
The AIRO Pow-Wow hosted at UWSP is the oldest in the UW System, and has started exactly how it has continued on. Pow-wows are generally kept as traditional as possible. Everything the founders had and wanted to be done has been done the same way over the years, Miller said.
“A group of students, just like we are today, that wanted to get a community gathering and display the Native American culture,” Miller said.
AIRO incorporates many different tribes both as a club and during this Pow-Wow. Everyone who is involved in the Pow-Wow, whether it be emcee, head director or host drum, is from a tribe a club member is a part of.
There will also be vendors selling Native American arts and crafts as well as raffles with prizes from local businesses and prizes bought by AIRO.