The Norman Transcript

Features

January 5, 2014

Native American inter-tribal dances foster energetic competition, camaraderie and cultural rejuvenation

Powwows — get-togethers sponsored by Native Americans for dancing, singing, drumming and conversation — are one way elders instill enthusiasm and reverence for traditional culture in the younger generation.

Many powwows are hosted in Norman each year, and generally anyone, regardless of tribe or even no American Native affiliation, are welcome to attend.

Dancing forms include gourd, grass, war and others. Fancy dancing is a style that requires athletic stamina and split-second dancer response to rapid drumming variations designed to deceive the dancer into missteps.

Powwow dance competitions for cash prizes are common but not necessarily a given.

“I had a line of fancy dancers before me,” Dijay Yarholar said. “My dad and all my uncles were fancy dancers. Even my aunt, Beverly Jaquez, was one of the first lady fancy dancers.”

Dijay Yarholar is a 30-something Cheyenne-Arapaho who spends many weekends with wife, Erin, and their young daughters at powwows near and far.

“You can pretty much find a powwow every single weekend in Oklahoma,” he said. “Red Earth is not the only one.”

Yarholar has been dancing since he was 6, with some breaks during the years because of youth sports activities. He still plays team basketball with other guys his age and finds the physical conditioning essential to being a successful dancer.

“It takes a lot of energy to do some of these dances,” he said. “They’re very up-tempo and the drummers can be tricky.”

In Yarholar’s experience, the outfits worn for dancing have changed more than any other powwow aspect.

“When I first started, they weren’t as bright and shiny as today,” he said.

Neon-colored beadwork is common, and the intent is to stand out and demand attention from judges.

“I’m getting a new outfit that will be strictly traditional Cheyenne-Arapaho designs,” Yarholar said. “Every tribe has their own style and design in the beadwork.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Just say no to 12-year-old’s Mohawk

    A mom recently asked me what I would say to my son if he was 12 years old and wanted a Mohawk haircut for the summer. I told her I’d say no. “But is it really that big a deal?” she said....

    August 1, 2014

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Jam set

    Norman residents will serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the homeless from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Andrew’s Park, 201 W. Daws St. A pop-up store also will distribute donations of new and gently used books, clothing, shoes, ...

    August 1, 2014

  • CCFI announces play therapy course

    Center for Children and Families will present the course Fundamentals of Non-Directive Play Therapy from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 8 at Sarkeys Foundation, 520 E. Main St....

    August 1, 2014

  • Recent weather has been surprising

    Earlier this July, a dense cold front slipped into the central section of the Southwest — including Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and bordering states — dropping daytime temperature highs into the upper 60s and 70s, which I believe is an ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Are you a puppet or a prince?

    Names have power. This cautionary statement is frequently found in fantasy novels populated by magical beings. The implication being that you should choose your friends and enemies wisely....

    August 1, 2014

  • Crafter’s emporium planned Saturday

    Members of the Opal District Crafter’s Emporium, plus other local artists, will have an art show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, 615 E. Robinson St. in Norman. It will be hosted concurrently with the ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Williams book signing event set

    Jared Williams, a resident of Moore, will sign copies of his book “Cerebral” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hastings, 2300 W. Main St. Norman....

    July 31, 2014

  • Home dedication set Sunday

    Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity will host a dedication of the Ruvalcaba family home from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at 618 E. Apache St. Those attending are asked to bring a pantry item to help the family begin life in their new home. ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Two territorial littermate cats are asserting social dominance

    Dear Dr. Fox: When we decided to get a cat 10 years ago, I thought getting a couple of littermates would work well. They got along during the first couple of years, often sleeping together and grooming each other. As they matured, though, ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Board welcomes new member

    In its June meeting, the members of the Mary Abbott Children’s House board of directors elected Barbara Henderson to serve the remaining term of Anne Ederington, who resigned from the board in May due to moving from Norman. Henderson and ...

    July 30, 2014