President Clancy intends to replicate the energetic experience in future years.
TU’s pulse pounded Saturday night in the Reynolds Center for the first annual TU Indigenous Society Pow Wow.
A team of drummers and singers sat in a tight circle around three large drums in the center of the court, and dancers gathered around bouncing on the balls of their feet as they stepped from one foot to the other.
The timeless performance drew dancers of all ages to the floor, with children as young as two dancing next to silver-haired grandparents in traditional garb.
In the entrance, several traveling Navajo vendors sold handcrafted jewelry and pottery. A long line formed for Indian Tacos, a dish of puffy friend dough topped with kidney beans, ground beef, lettuce, tomato, onion and cheese.
Most of the dances honored specific individuals in attendance.
One extended song and dance honored Head Singer Jimmy “Ducky” Anquoe Sr., a Kiowa man who has been singing at Pow Wows in and around Oklahoma for decades.
Anquoe spoke about age and continuing ageless traditions. Once he started dancing and singing, dozens of people came forward and laid money at his feet, then circled around and stood behind him where they danced as well.
“Giving is the biggest honor someone can have,” Master of Ceremonies Tim Tallchief explained. The money placed before Anquoe was given so he can add it to his donation to a cause of his choice. “Jim deserves great honor.”
Tallchief encouraged the whole audience to take part in a friendship dance, which had the head dancers making an inner loop around the drummers while Indigenous and non-Indigenous people marched around the outer loop side by side.
TU Indigenous Society President Jennie Stockle said the idea for a Pow Wow came from the popular support of TU’s native students.
“We wanted to share the rich cultural heritage and our pride as native students with the rest of the campus,” Stockle said.
Representatives from 11 tribes, including Muscogee Creek Nation Principal Chief James Floyd and Kiowa Legislator Rhonda Ahhaitty attended.
The tribes and the Tulsa Pow Wow club honored Stockle and TU student and veteran Megan Lowry with decorative shawls for organizing the event.
TU President Gerard Clancy said, “I hope this is something we can do every year.”
The TU Indigenous Society meets once a month. Their next meeting, which is open to both native and not-native students, is Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Multicultural Resource Center, Hardesty Hall.