University to host first annual benefit Pow Wow

Amanda Heflin, Writer

Texas A&M University-Commerce’s first Pow Wow is scheduled Nov. 8 with the Cheyenne Nation, Muscogee Creek, Cherokee and other tribes participating.

Terryl Bratek had the idea of developing the local event after the 2013 Caddo dedication on campus.

“After the Caddo dedication it was like ‘Couldn’t we have a Pow Wow here,’” Bratek said. “I emailed Dr. (Dan) Jones (A&M-Commerce president) and he basically said that it sounds like a good idea and go for it. He then sent my email to Noah Nelson (director of community engagement).”

“Feb. 22 [Noah and I] went to the UT-Arlington PowWow,” Bratek said. “One of the people I spoke with is going to be at our PowWow, William Harjo.”

Harjo, a Creek Indian, plays a wooden Native American flute to honor his heritage. He will be doing the storytelling at the Commerce Pow Wow with his flute.

During a Pow Wow, there are many ceremonies and rituals that take place.

“Almost every Pow Wow has a veteran’s ceremony, and it’s not just because they are around Veterans Day,” Bratek said. The Greenville JROTC and the Renegade nation will perform the Veterans Ceremony.

During the day there will be two grand entries, one at 2 p.m. and another at 5:30 p.m. There will also be dancing and drums “and fry bread, you can’t forget about the fry bread,”  Bratek said.

Various vendors will be in the student center selling “regalia, jewelry and we have one selling stick balls,” Bratek said.

“This is our first Pow Wow,” Bratek said, “so I want everyone to have a good time.”

There will be programs with etiquette guidelines inside for visitors.

“They are not wearing costumes,” Bratek said. “It is called regalia. Always listen to the master of ceremonies, Albert Old Crow, on whether or not this is a time where you can take pictures. Please always ask permission.”

“People just show up to a Pow Wow,” Bratek said. “People can mingle from other nations and non-natives. Everyone is welcome.”

There is no way to tell in advance how many people will be attending and participating that day with the A&M-Commerce football playoff game that night as well.

“Come to the game then go to the Pow Wow, come to the Pow Wow and then go to the game and back to the Pow Wow. It’s a free celebration,” Bratek said.

“People are coming to have a good time and that is our goal,” Bratek said. For the future if  “each year we get bigger we will have to move out of the student center, but that will always be the goal. That is the goal of a Pow Wow.”

“The only thing that could be a disappointment is if someone could not have a good time and it was something that we can’t fix,” Bratek said.

The first A&M–Commerce Pow Wow will be Saturday, Nov. 8 starting at 12 p.m. in the student center.