Tuxtinmepu means “Where the deer goes to lose its spots” in the Nez Perce language, Niimiipuutímt, and true to Pow Wow tradition, it is a celebration of culture and life.
The University of Idaho Native American Student Association will host the 14th annual Tuxtinmepu Pow Wow March 30-31 at the Moscow Middle School gym.
Effie Hernandez, president of the Native American Student Association, said the event, which is free and open to the public, is a great way to experience a different culture.
“It’s something that the Native American Student Association and the Native American Center really put their time into and it’s something not only for us to enjoy, but the community as well,” Hernandez said.
Yolanda Taylor, program coordinator for the Native American Student Center, said the event has evolved since it began, but it’s a gathering — a celebration.
“Drumming, singing, dancing — it’s just a way for us to come together,” Taylor said
Taylor said there are a variety of categories and age groups for the competitive dances including traditional, jingle and fancy, with dancers of all ages. Dances also encompass a variety of themes including love, friendship, prayer and honor. In addition to the competitive dances there are intertribal dances where everyone is welcome on the floor. She said these dances are a good way to learn more about the culture and be involved in the pow wow. She said people are also welcome to get close to the drummers to observe what they’re doing during the competitive dances. The dancers and drummers come from a variety of Native American nations.
“A lot of people don’t because they don’t know that they can … but everyone’s welcome,” Taylor said. “To be able to experience the mix from all these different nations is kind of cool, too.”
Taylor said the styles of dance have evolved over time and some allow the dancers to be more original and creative than others.
“There is a category called traditional, which is more traditional than some of the other ones. Many of these have evolved over time, especially for women,” Taylor said. “In the beginning women didn’t dance. So what’s called women’s traditional … it’s so slow because women just used to keep the beat for the men, so now they just kind of bounce and move around the floor.”
Hernandez said her personal favorite category is the men’s fancy because they are fun to watch and the dancers express their personality and creativity through the dance.
“Fancy is one of the only categories where you can add your own (style) … where people really integrate other dances. There’s one guy who does break dancing with his traditional, so it’s just kind of open. It’s really to express yourself and to feel closer to the earth and the music,” Taylor said. “It’s what you feel and what you’re taught.”
Hernandez said the regalia worn by the dancers is another way many people are able to express themselves, and just like the dances, the style depends on the type of dance.
“Even the regalia that people wear … it’s a show of expression. Jingle and fancy– mostly fancy — is where you truly can be more modern,” Taylor said. “People add rhinestones … if you look, some of the girls are really shiny because they have rhinestones integrated in the regalia.”
There will be three grand entries — two on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and one on Sunday at 1 p.m.
“Grand Entry is when we honor the flags and open the floor,” Taylor said.
There will also be an appreciation dinner at 5 p.m. on Saturday, as well as an Easter egg hunt on Sunday morning. All events are open to the public.
Kaitlyn Krasselt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org