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Crowning an Indian Princess
by Corina Roberts ( redbirds_vision [at] hotmail.com )
Tuesday Jul 2nd, 2013 6:21 PM
The Children of Many Colors Native American Powwow returns to Moorpark College July 19-21, 2013. For the first time in the 13 year history of the gathering, a young Navajo woman will be crowned as a powwow princess.

The Children of Many Colors Native American Powwow will have its first ever powwow princess, Katianna Warren of the Navajo Nation. She will be crowned on July 20, 2013, at approximately 12 PM. The powwow is a public event. Everyone is welcome.

Before Katianna, clearing her path, will be Grass Dancers, whose fluid motions once were used in sweeping back and beating down the tall grass, so that other dancers could follow. On July 20, they will make clear a spiritual path for Katianna, and for all the rest of the dancers.

The sash and crown are an honor, but also a responsibility. Indian Princesses represent their powwow where ever they go. Princesses are expected to be full participants in the gatherings they attend, and may be called upon at any time to lead dancers out, or share their dance style, speak about their powwow and the organizations they represent, and to role models at all times for other young women. while they bring their own traditions with them, they also learn the unique “powwow culture”, the protocol that allows tribes from throughout the western hemisphere to dance together in what today lies at the heart of urban Native American society - the intertribal powwow.

Powwow Princesses can be given their title through competition or selection. A princess competition might consist of an interview, a dance competition, and a series of questions asked in front of the powwow audience.

Princesses can also be chosen by the powwow committee or suggested by a respected member of the community. The criteria deemed worthy of a crown are essentially the same. Character, cultural knowledge, academic achievement, involvement in the community, grace and poise in the dance arena. Princesses are role models, not only within the Native American community, but outside of it as well. They are cultural ambassadors.

Katianna was chosen for this title. It is not only the first time Redbird’s powwow will have a princess; it is also Katianna’s first crown.

WIth a 3.5 grade average, strong support from the Native American community, the ability to speak her native Navajo language and deer-like grace in the dance arena, Katianna meets the criteria.

She will be crowned in a coming out ceremony before Grand entry on Saturday. She will dance behind the line of Grass Dancers, and in front of a row of her family and relatives. As she dances around the circle, more and more family members and friends will join that row, shaking their hands and dancing behind them. The column of supporters will grow as Katianna makes her way around. It will include other dancers, princesses from other powwows, and people Katianna has not yet met; visitors, perhaps attending a powwow for the first time, perhaps taking their first steps into the dance arena. Visitors to the powwow are welcome to join us as we celebrate the crowning of a new powwow princess.
Hosted by the non profit association Redbird, the Children Of Many Colors Powwow will be held July 19-21 on the practice football field at Moorpark College, beginning with an open flute circle on Friday evening. Many arts and crafts vendors will already be set up.

The powwow begins on Saturday, July 20 with the Gourd Dance ceremony. Larry Jurado of the Chiracahau Apache Nation will lead the dancers and the host southern drum Hale and Company will sing the ceremonial songs of the Kiowa and Comanche nations. All Gourd Dancers are welcome. At the conclusion of the Gourd Dance, Katianna’s coming out ceremony will take place. Edward “Chuck” Cadotte will speak on Katianna’s behalf. Master of Ceremonies Michael Reifel, from the San Carlos Apache Nation, will help the audience understand both the ceremony itself, and the protocol for participating. Immediately afterward, Grand Entry will take place, with all the dancers coming into the arena at once, followed by a full day of singing, dancing, exhibition dances, specials and social dances.

Renowned storyteller Alan Salazar will be telling traditional Chumash stories at 1 PM and 4 PM; Margaret Morin will offer her Prayer For The Children at 2 PM. everyone is welcome to join Alan and Margaret.

Flutist Mac Lopez will take the microphone during dinner break on Saturday evening. There may also be a group of intertribal bird singers sharing their traditional California songs and dances.

The Wildhorse Cafe and Espresso Today will be serving food and beverages throughout the weekend. Over thirty arts, crafts, educational and public service booths will surround the dance arena. The powwow will end at 10 PM.

On Sunday, there will be a Veterans’ Honoring at 11 AM as part of the Gourd Dance Ceremony. All Veterans, men and women, native and non native, are welcome and encouraged to take part in this honoring ceremony. Grand Entry will take place at approximately noon, and the powwow will continue until 6 PM.

A $2.00 donation per vehicle is suggested to offset the costs of the gathering, made possible in part by a grant from the Barbara Barnard Smith Fund for World Musics, a fund managed by the Ventura County Community Foundation. The Barbara Barnard Smith Fund has supported the Children of Many Colors Powwow for a number of years, and it is with a deep sense of gratitude that Redbird acknowledges their generosity.

For more information about Redbird and the Children of Many Colors Powwow, please visit http://www.RedbirdsVision.org