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Above Dancers led by Head Gourd Dancer Dennis Begay (center) dance in the arena to an inter-tribal song during the 2017 Sacred Springs Powwow. Daily Record file photo Below, the virtual powwow will have fancy,  grass and other categories of dance competitions like the 2019 live powwow. Submitted photo

Sacred Springs Powwow’s 10th anniversary goes virtual

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Sacred Springs Powwow’s 10th anniversary event has gone virtual as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

The powwow, which has usually taken place on the shores of the San Marcos River at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, began on Sept. 15 and stretches through Nov. 21. 

The powwow started at with an educational tent displaying articles explaining different dance styles and history of powwows in the United States. The event also includes a native cultural tent that showcases past performances, including Andean Fusion, local children singing in the Coahuiltecan language, Marika Alvarado’s plant medicine, and other presentations. The powwow also includes a dance tent including contestants from 15 categories of powwow dancers. 

“From September 15 until the grand finale, we’ll post the video of each contestant that enters the powwow competition so that the public can provide feedback on each dancer,” Powwow Coordinator Javier Garza said. “On November 21 we’ll announce the winners and showcase the first place dancers.”

This year’s powwow is inviting indigenous dancers in the U.S. and Canada to send in a video application for the contest. Dancing categories include men and women in golden age, adult, youth and tiny tots. The powwow will limit applicants to 50 per category for a total of 750 dancers, organizers said in a news release. The powwow will award first, second and third place in each category excluding the tiny tots category. Every tiny tot entrant will receive a prize. 

“We honor our elders with the golden age category,” Garza said. “And we nurture our culture through our youth and tiny tots categories.”

This year’s virtual powwow will include history of powwows, indigenous recipes including Fry Bread, highlights of presentations featured in the native culture tent each year and descriptions of dances. 

At least five Aztec groups will perform during the online grand finale, “in a stunning showcase of ceremonial dancing. This style of indigenous dancing is dramatic and has a fast, loud, pounding drum with dancers wearing high feathered headdresses and beautiful colorful regalia,” organizers said. 

Hundreds of dance contest applications are expected, organizers said, adding that powwow producers are advertising the event nationwide. Contact information is also being provided on how to buy Native arts and crafts online or by phone. 

“We expect thousands of viewers for this spectacular, one of a kind cultural experience,” Garza said. “It’s never been done before in Texas and when it’s over, everyone will want to come to the real deal in 2021.”

Sacred Springs Powwow’s online event is sponsored by the Texas Commission on the Arts, Tomblin Family Foundation and Friends of the Powwow members,  including Ironroots, Inc.

San Marcos Record

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