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Friday, July 20, 2007

“It Doesn’t Get More Indie Than the Indians”

posted by on July 20 at 13:31 PM

More than half of all American Indians live in cities. And Seattle has one of the biggest concentrations of Urban Indians in America.

We got the National Urban Indian Health Institute. And the UW Indigenous Wellness Research Institute. And the Daybreak Star cultural center (art collection, Head Start school program, more), which

owes its existence to Bernie Whitebear and other Native Americans, who staged a generally successful self-styled “invasion” and occupation of the land in 1970 after most of the Fort Lawton military base was declared surplus by the U.S. Department of Defense.

This weekend is the annual pow wow at Daybreak Star in Discovery Park—with a salmon bake, fry bread (the official state bread of South Dakota), drumming and dancing, stuff to buy—which is part of the summer pow wow circuit.


The pow wow circuit is similar to a rodeo circuit, and entire families travel them from Memorial Day to Labor Day. People traveling the circuit consists of dancers, singers, gamblers, rodeo riders, announcers, and concessionaires. The circuit can be addictive…

And, quoth Noel Franklin from the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation, “It doesn’t get more Indie than Indians and right now Indian Country is HOT. The Seminole Tribe recently acquired Hard Rock Café.”

Check your pow wow etiquette here. From item number one: “Please don’t sit on someone’s blanket unless invited.”

From item number seven: “All persons not in regalia are asked that legs be covered before entering the dance arena.”

Good to know.

RSS icon Comments


Fancy Dancing is cool and all but when they parade the POW/MIA flag around I want to scissorkick someone in the ear.

Posted by shutup | July 20, 2007 1:39 PM

wait...what? those flags honor our veterans.

Posted by J | July 20, 2007 2:00 PM

Hard Rock Café is, like, so indie.

Posted by no one in particular | July 20, 2007 2:05 PM

It won't really be indie unless Parker Posey is there.

Posted by Boomer in NYC | July 20, 2007 2:12 PM

i though that indian was offensive use of the word. isn't native american the safe one? or are they fine w/ that now? like calling developing countries 3rd world, etc.

Posted by brad | July 20, 2007 2:14 PM

If the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation uses it, I'm not going to correct them.

Posted by brendan | July 20, 2007 2:21 PM

@ 5: 'indian' is like 'nigger' - the group in question can say it, you can't.

Posted by 21st century reality | July 20, 2007 2:25 PM

we use indian, of course some (like my aunt) don't but its acceptable. alot of people my age just say Native, Indian is the language of our treaties and law. 'native american' is rarely used by Natives.

Posted by J | July 20, 2007 2:27 PM

The problem with "Indian" isn't that it's racist, it's that it's general. Most of the time Indians think of themselves as members of a tribe, not a continent-wide category. If it's not used in a way that suggests a lack of understanding of the different peoples, it's not a slur at all.

I think it's too bad that local Duwamish, Suquamish, etc. have to celebrate "their" culture with Navajo fry bread and Seminole pride. They should be promoting the knowledge of the local peoples. Most Washingtonians know far more about famous tribes like the Sioux and Comanches than the people from around here.

J, the reason people get annoyed at the POW/MIA flag is because to them it doesn't represent honor to veterans; it represents Rambo kooks who think Vietnam still harbors American prisoners.

Posted by Fnarf | July 20, 2007 2:40 PM

it doesn't get any bigger than Crow Fair

held each year near the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn (or Custer's Last Stand as we learned it in school in MT in the 80's)...

Posted by ddv | July 20, 2007 2:40 PM

"I think it's too bad that local Duwamish, Suquamish, etc. have to celebrate "their" culture with Navajo fry bread and Seminole pride."

They don't. United Indians hosts the Pow Wow and dancers from all over come to dance their own traditions.

The local tribes do host their own cultural celebrations. In addition, there will be a Coastal Salish special at about 5:00 PM on Saturday to showcase local traditions.

Posted by Noel | July 20, 2007 2:50 PM

@ 9 however this powwow isn't a duwamish or suquamish celebration its United Indians which is one of the pan-Indian groups in Seattle.

suquamish has 'chief seattle days' and the duwamish are still trying to build their longhouse

also, frybread isn't just navajo, we all got the same commods whether you call it bannock, push bread, wheel bread, frybread, oogapalie its all kinda the same

Posted by J | July 20, 2007 2:51 PM

Funny how the people most interested in picking natives apart with semantics in order to protect them from hegemony are the white folk. Meanwhile the people most interested in joining together for a good time are the actual Indians.

What's more important folks? Using the right words or fostering acceptance and tolerance among everybody.

Posted by White Guy | July 20, 2007 4:22 PM

I'm half Cherokee half Choctaw and I prefer "injun."

Posted by elswinger | July 20, 2007 4:25 PM

I am half drunk, does that make me 1/4 indian? LOL

I know for a fact that indians like the drinky poo.

Speaking of urban indians, how come most of them live on 1st ave and in pioneer square, drink (ironically) T-bird wine, and throw bottles at one another? (Its not racist if its true).

It truly is a societal issue.

Plus then they get on metro and assault passengers.

Posted by ecce homo | July 20, 2007 6:58 PM

If "ecco homo" was truly interested in learning more about the determinants of poverty in the Indian community, or the ravaging affects of alcoholism, s/he would do well to start with the resources mentioned in the original SLOG--National Urban Indian Health Institute and the UW Indigenous Wellness Research Institute.

However, I doubt there is an interest in any kind of informed discussion on Mr. or Ms. Homo’s behalf, so I won’t bother spending too much time pointing out that drunk individuals of all races can be found downtown, that the worst of any people can be found if you search for them in pioneer square and that yes, in fact, there are many racists who speak partial truths and/or truths out of context.

Back on subject—there are wonderful Indian people at Pow Wow, and today is somewhat sunny, which is good.

Posted by Noel | July 21, 2007 10:52 AM

Majority of indians are alchoholic.

That doesn't make me a racist. It's the freaking truth.

I resent the implication that somehow I am a racist.

Posted by ecce homo | July 21, 2007 12:39 PM

I resent the countless stereotypical statements uttering from the septic tank that is your brain, ecce. Yes, you're a troll, that's well and established, and I'm probably doing exactly what you're hoping for and gaining a reaction. But seriously - get a fucking better hobby than constantly trying to piss people off. Or perhaps you have completely given up on humanity and revel in being a cowardly douchebag just to give your sorry existence some kind of meaning.

Posted by ecce's biggest fan | July 21, 2007 10:48 PM

I have 1 word to say: GRASS DANCING! Hee Hee! Yesterday's memorial grass dance special at Day Break Star was perfect, the dancers were impeccable from the 4 year olds, to the "Golden Age" ones and everything in between. It was a combination of serial death by cuteness, athletic expression and moments of profound spiritual uplift that would move any soul - no matter what religious subcription they have. I have one word for any of the dancers or organizer (if they read this): THANK YOU!

Posted by Serial Whitey | July 22, 2007 12:36 PM

Don't forget the Pirates! I saw the grass dancing, it was awesome! But about half an hour later the Seafair Pirates came. They were hilarious, the announcer called them ugly. Then it rained and we all went home. I also ate frybread. I hope my trainer isn't reading this!!!!

Posted by Seattle Luv | July 22, 2007 12:41 PM

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