CULTURAL KNOWLEDGEPublished 5:54pm Monday, November 18, 2013
Powwow club visits local schools Monday
The tom-tom-tom of the drums of America’s Native Indians took on new meaning for the students as Goshen Elementary School Monday.
The Poarch Creek Indian Powwow Club of Atmore concluded a day of dancing at Goshen Elementary School. The Club performed earlier at Banks and Pike County elementary schools.
However, their dances were as high energy at the close of the school day as they were at the beginning.
“These dancers practice and practice,” said Larry Flurnoy, who called the performance. “They work really hard. The dances take a lot of energy so they have to be able to dance and dance some more. The dancers love what they do. They are a select few.”
Flurnoy said the dancers must maintain a high grade point average and have the desire and dedication to carrying on the dance traditions of the Poarch Creek Indians.
Eight members of the Poarch Creek Indian Powwow Club performed different categories of dances, including the grass dance, the chicken dance, a traditional dance, the jingle dance, the cloth dance and the fancy dance.
“The grass dance is the first dance the Native Americans do,” Flurnoy said. “It is done to beat down the grass and form a circle for the other dances.”
The chicken dance mimics the prairie chicken and is a fun, high-energy dance that is a favorite among the young men.
“The traditional dancer brings back the story to the village of what happened on the battleground or the hunt,” Flurnoy said. “The jingle dance is done to retell the long ago story of a Native American who was very sick. His daughter was told that, if she could make a dress that sounded like rain, her father would get well. She made a dress of with 365 jingles that sounded like rain. The jingles represent the 365 days of the year and remind of her father’s return to good health.”
The Poarch Creek Indian Powwow Club has a member of royalty among them. Madison McGhee is the junior princess and she performed a cloth dance for the students.
The dancers ended their performance with a fancy dance in which the dancers are dressed in the fanciest of fancy costumes and perform a fast and furious dance.
Flurnoy said the Club members elected to design and make their own costumes and commented on the originality and uniqueness of their work.
“The dancers learn their dances from older dancers,” he said. “It is an honor to be asked to teach a dance and it is an honor to teach.”
Pam Franklin, Pike County instructional support specialist, expressed appreciation to the members of the Poarch Creek Indian Powwow Club for their performance.
“This was an opportunity for our students to be exposed to the songs and dances of our Native Americans and to be exposed to the Native American culture,” she said. “They are now more aware of our Native American culture and it’s more real to them. This performance was unique and very special.”