Dancing, drumbeats set the tone for annual powwow at WOU


Spreading her wings. Western Oregon University’s 19th annual Pow Wow, hosted by the Multicultural Student Union Saturday, April 14, 2012. Photo by Justin Much of the Statesman Journal.

Statesman Journal
By Justin Much

The beat was constant and the dancing passionate Saturday in Monmouth.

Western Oregon University’s 19th Annual Pow Wow, hosted by the Multicultural Student Union, featured a well-attended grand entry and a consistent exhibit of dancing and visiting through the afternoon.

Carrying a theme of “The Beat of the Soul,” the powwow ran from noon to midnight with a second grand entry at 7:15 p.m.

“Our adviser (Anna Hernandez) texted us and said this is the most people she’s seen in a grand entry in quite a while,” said event organizer Mayra Perez, a WOU junior.

Perez and co-organizer Susie Carrillo were nervous initially, having spent months planning the event. But once the drumbeats and dancing began and their cadence absorbed the atmosphere, the organizers were at once relieved and pleased with the tenor of things.

“This is the first time for us, but we’ve volunteered before when others coordinated (the WOU Pow Wow),” said Carrillo, a sophomore.

The ambiance in was enhanced with vendors of arts, crafts, and some traditional food cresting the dance floor. The floor highlighted dancing involving tribal members of all ages from around the Pacific Northwest.

The Multicultural Student Union dispatched about 20 volunteers to boost the show and keep the event flowing.

“I just like seeing everything come together and watching everyone socialize,” Carrillo said.

“For me, it’s watching their culture and regalia (flourish),” Perez added. “And getting to be a part of it. When you plan something like this, you get to be a part of it a lot more.”

jmuch@statesmanjournal.com or (503) 399-6736 or follow at twitter.com/justinmuch

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