We Are Here

Powwow and Higher Education in North Carolina

Photo by Jon Gardiner, courtesy of UNC–Chapel Hill.

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We Are Here

Powwow and Higher Education in North Carolina

by Meredith L. McCoy
Southern Cultures, Vol. 24, No. 4: Winter 2018

“‘[Powwow is] how we stand up.’”

At 7:00 a.m., the first students arrive at the gym. Sleepy but excited, they begin setting up, making sure there are chairs for dancers and tables for vendors, organizations, and T-shirts. Finally, it’s powwow weekend. It will be hours until the singers and dancers show up, but the vendors are already here, having left home early in the morning to sell their jewelry, leatherwork, and shawls. Warm-ups and grand entry are about to begin, and these are the last quiet moments before conversations, drums, jingles, and singing announce to the campus community: this is us. We are here.