Powwow dancers perform in CN’s first virtual contest
Powwow dancers took part in this year’s Cherokee National Holiday via video submissions at thecherokeeholiday.com. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Dozens of powwow dancers from as close as Tahlequah to as far as Canada submitted entries into this year’s online-only holiday competition.
The 60-plus entrants uploaded their dance videos to social media using special hashtags such as #CNHmensfancy2020. Submissions are featured on the Cherokee National Holiday website, thecherokeeholiday.com
“The ones that have been posted, those are the entries into the actual competition,” Austin Patton, holiday coordinator said. “There were a lot of really great, quality videos in there.”
Oklahoma was represented by at least 28 dancers, by far the highest of any state, followed by Arizona, Idaho and Kansas.
“Although powwows are being cancelled, this made my heart feel good being able to put my regalia back on,” Simone Toppah, of Wichita, Kansas, wrote on her submission.
A handful of the competitors were Cherokee. In an online address to participants, Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd said the powwow, traditionally one of the most popular events of the holiday weekend, was being held virtually “so we can continue to dance during this difficult time.”
“The powwow is a social gathering of Native American people to dance, sing and socialize in honor of their culture,” he said. “The dancers, dressed in their regalia, vary from southern straight, northern traditional, fancy jingle and other categories.”
Winners will be announced on Sept. 5, in the various categories such as men’s fancy and traditional dance, women’s jingle and youth divisions.
The Cherokee National Holiday officially ends Sunday. Held each year during Labor Day weekend, the tribe’s event typically attracts more than 100,000 Oklahomans people to the Tahlequah area. The Cherokee Nation’s decision this year to offer virtual events was made because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the rare 2020 events that can be attended in person is a new offering – movie drive-in nights at One Fire Field. For a full list of events, including those available for online viewing, visit thecherokeeholiday.com
While events may be viewed via a computer or smart phone, the CN is encouraging use of an app called Whova as an “all-access pass to the first virtual Cherokee National Holiday.”
“It’s a virtual event platform,” Patton said. “You can use that platform to basically organize all of your content and create a really interactive, engaging environment for the attendees. We have a very lively crowd so far.”
The Whova app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
“It’s free to use and it’s easy to sign up,” the CN’s holiday website states. “Watch and join in as many events as you like.”
App users are asked to type in invitation code “cnh.”