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St. Louis Park Public Schools hosts first annual powwow in honor of youth

The American Indian Parent Advisory Council and the Youth Intertribal Council of St. Louis Park Public Schools will be hosting the first annual powwow. Leading up to the powwow, students and families have been spending time connecting with their culture.

During a four week art series, students have taken the time to handcraft regalia, an important expression of their lives, interests and family. 

Ruby makes a skirt with black fabric for the powwow

Ruby Malinski Shoemaker is a third grade student at Susan Lindgren Elementary School. It is her first time participating in a powwow, and she decided to make a skirt for this special occasion. Before starting, she spent time thinking about what type of fabric and colors she wanted to use - carefully selecting items that would be meaningful to her. She selected a beautiful black fabric with pink flowers, and planned to add black, white, red, yellow, and purple ribbons.
“It goes with the other things that I will wear like necklaces, my shirt, and ribbons,” she said.

Each ribbon, bead and decorative item holds great significance and gets added to represent an aspect of the person and what connects them with the world. Some of Ruby’s ribbons were selected to honor her family. The practice of sharing knowledge, tradition and history are all important to powwows. Her dad and her sister are also participating in this meaningful experience.

Ruby plans to wear her regalia at the powwow. Members of the community are invited to attend, and this is a great opportunity to learn more and engage in a sacred event that grounds people to the world. While this is an incredible opportunity and experience, it is important for people to be respectful of cultural traditions.

Please follow these guidelines when attending this event: 

  • While at the powwow, there will be drums and people dancing in a circular motion. The circle  is symbolic of the circle of life. Community members should not enter the circle unless invited. 
  • A Master of Ceremonies will make announcements and lead the events. Follow the directions of this individual. 
  • Do not photograph or video record anyone without permission. Regalia is not a costume, and should be respected. 
  • There will be times when flags and honor songs will be present. These are often intended for specific groups, and it is important to be mindful and intentional in these instances.
  • Designated areas for dancers and drum circles should be avoided.
Ruby adds symbolic ribbons to her skirt

The powwow will be on May 20, and this year’s theme is “honoring the youth.” Grand entry will start at 1 p.m. There will be food, dancing, drumming and vendors.