NCSSM to host 31st Powwow on Durham campus

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham (NCSSM) will host its 31st annual Powwow celebrating American Indian culture on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, from noon until 5 p.m. in the school’s Charles R. Eilber Physical Education Center. This family-friendly event featuring music, dance, arts, crafts, and food is open to the public for a nominal admission fee of $5 (kids five and under attend free). American Indian dancers, musicians and artists from throughout the Carolinas and Virginia will headline the powwow as they reaffirm intertribal brotherhood and sisterhood and share with the larger community the rich history and contemporary aspirations of Native American people.

Powwows at NCSSM typically involve about 150 dancers and six drums. A Grand Entry of dancers dressed in traditional and modern dance regalia will begin the event. Music will be provided by Northern Host Drum Red Clay, and Southern Host Drum Smokey River. Head Male Dancer will be Cameron Richardson, representing the Haliwa-Saponi, and Head Lady Dancer will be Symone McBride, representing the Waccamaw-Siouan Tribe.

Attendees will be invited to participate in a social Round Dance and a Two-Step Dance, with explanations of the significance of the music and dance offered throughout the program. American Indian arts and crafts will also be on exhibit in the lobby of the PEC throughout the event. The powwow will end with a closing song at approximately 5 p.m.

Food trucks and concessions will be open throughout the event to purchase meals and snacks.

The Powwow at NCSSM

NCSSM’s Powwow originated in 1992 with the school’s American Indian students as a way of promoting the school to the American Indian communities of North Carolina. Joe Liles, one of NCSSM’s founding faculty members (now retired) and a devoted supporter of Native American culture, helped the school’s Native students form Akwe:kon (“all of us together” in the Mohawk language), a support group for the Indian students on NCSSM’s campus. Liles coordinated the annual powwow alongside members of Akwe:kon until his retirement in 2008. Akwe:kon continues to support American Indian students at NCSSM and partners with the school’s Office of Admissions to host the powwow each year.

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