Teaching tradition: 30th Pah-Loots-Pu powwow

The 30th annual Pah-Loots-Pu powwow, hosted by Washington State University, will be held Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17, in the Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. The powwow features tribes from the United States and Canada.

Joining the celebration will be Rodney Cawston of the Okanogan/Nez Perce tribe. Last year, Cawston was named the Native American outreach coordinator for WSU’s Office of Admissions and recruits Native American students to the university.

In his personal life, he is committed to “maintaining the arts, language and culture of his people… through a variety of educational, entrepreneurial and program building efforts,” according to the citation in a national First People’s Fund Community Spirit artists award that he received in 2002.

As a fund raiser for the powwow, Cawston teaches corn husk bag weaving on the Pullman campus to Native American women from Washington and Idaho. Fees for the class will be donated to the powwow.

Cawston said he learned the weaving and bead work from elders on his and neighboring reservations. The corn husk bags made by his class will not be sold. A Native American tradition, he said, is that “students should give away the first bag that they make to someone they respect. I believe most of the students in the classes planned to do this.”

The powwow is free to the public. Doors open both days at 11 a.m. Grand entries are scheduled for both days at noon and 6 p.m.

Dance contests will include categories divided by age and gender, including men’s and women’s traditional and contemporary dances, fancy-dance styles, men’s grass and women’s jingle-dress dances. There will be cash prizes. In addition, arts, crafts and food vendors will be on hand, and Miss Pah-Loots-Pu will be selected.

For more information on the powwow, contact the WSU Native American Student Center, 335-8676 or naschome@wsu.edu, or go to http://www.wsu.edu/~naschome/powwow.htm. For information on Native American student recruitment, contact Rodney Cawston, 335-1358 or cawston@wsu.edu.

The powwow is sponsored by Ku-Au-Mah, the Native American Women’s Association; Native American Student Center; American Indian Science and Engineering Society, WSU Provost’s Office and the Native American Alliance.

Next Story

Recent News

Students design outdoor story walk for Keller schools

A group of WSU landscape architecture students is gaining hands‑on experience by designing an outdoor classroom with members of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation.