|If you visit Native Americans living in the US or Canada today, you are most likely to be invited to a powwow. A powwow is a gathering that celebrates the Native American history and culture. A powwow lasts from one evening to three or four days, and here people from all tribes meet to sing, dance, socialize with friends and family and honor traditions.
Powwows in Denmark
Powwows are also held in other countries such as Denmark, Sweden, England, Germany and many others. These powwows are most often hosted by non-Indians who like powwows and respect the Native American ways, and by hosting powwows they also show that the Native American culture is alive, evolving and changing, enlightening people (especially children) who think that Native American still live in teepees and dress the way they did a hundred years ago.
There are generally two types of powwows: Community powwows that are small, local powwows with few participants, and contest powwows characterized by singing and dancing contests and big price money for the winners. Powwows hosted in Denmark are very much like the small community powwows with one or two drum groups and with exhibition dancing instead of contests. Danish powwows follow the traditions of the Lakota/Sioux tribes based on friendships with members of the Brulé and Oglala nations from Rosebud and Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
Danish powwow history
The first Danish powwows were held in the mid-1980'ies, where a group of Lakota teachers from Sinte Gleska University and a group of English dancers and singers came to Denmark to teach about modern American Indian culture. This was arranged by the Danish-American Indian Association (Dansk-indiansk Forening) that hosted a row of annual summer seminars. Now there are about 50 dancers with outfits and two drum groups in Denmark, and many Danes have travelled to powwows in the US and Canada. Furthermore, a friendship has emerged between groups of Danish and Swedish dancers and singers with a great deal of cross-border interaction.
Native American culture in the 21st century
Powwows in Denmark represent Native American culture as it unfolds today in the US and Canada. We strive to make contemporary dance outfits the way they look today and not a hundred years ago. We have often experienced that Native Americans are pleasantly surprised when they see our modern outfits, because it is important to them that people understand that the Native American culture is not dead or static, but is alive and well.