Video: Crowds pack McGuirk for annual Native American Pow Wow

McGuirk Arena was filled with colorful feathers, intricate beads and the scent of sage as dancers and drummers kicked off the 24th annual Central Michigan University Pow Wow on Saturday and Sunday.

The celebration’s “Grand Entry” begins with everyone on the east side of the arena, as the flags are brought in by the veterans; everyone follows behind and dances clockwise through the circle to the drums.

There are three types of male dancers: the grass, fancy and traditional as well as three types of women dancers; the jingle, fancy, and traditional.

Senior Kasey McCullough is a jingle dancer from the Hannahville Potawatomi Indian Community Tribe.

“I participate in about eight to 15 pow wows each year depending on school and work.” McCullough said, “I have been coming to the CMU Pow Wow since I was a little child and it’s amazing to be able to help and plan it now as a student.”

McCullough is a student assistant for the Office of Native American Programs, the president for the North American Indigenous Student Organization and secretary for the Three Fries-American Indian Science & Engineering Society.

“My favorite part of the pow wows are dancing and just embracing my culture and heritage.  The competition doesn’t mean anything to me,” McCullough said.

McCullough was also asked to be the head female dancer on Saturday evening for the “Grand Entry” and said that she was honored to be able to take on that responsibility.

Head veteran George Martin has been participating in pow wows all over Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Ontario since he was seven years old.  At 78 years old, he said he still participates in about 20 pow wows every year. Martin leads the “Grand Entry” carrying the Eagle Staff. He does this at every pow wow he attends.

“My favorite part is the Grand Entry,” Martin said.

CMU senior Hannah Grimaldi said, “We get to learn about the Native American culture, there are great vendors, beautiful handmade dresses, and people from all over bring their culture to us.”