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One-man Pow Wow at west campus

By Wendi Coon, Times Assistant Photo Editor
On December 4, 2012

West Allis Student Government has been celebrating different cultures each month so in conjunction with Rock Your Mocs Day, Nov. 15, Native American dancer, Ronnie Preston came to West Allis Campus. Preston entered the lunchroom in full regalia; he moved through the crowd performing a high-energy traditional Pow Wow dance.
Preston is a San Carlos Apache competitive dancer. Preston enjoys going to different communities and schools, introducing students to his culture.
Preston went on to explain the significance of his outfit, which he personally made by hand. The warm colors identify that he is from Arizona; the U.S. flags are to pay respect to his father, who fought in World War II.
The small mirrors are used to reflect negative attitude from others, and the long fringe emulates the grass flowing in the wind. Preston said that each person has his or her own personal and unique regalia.
Pow Wows are social gatherings, and the friendly dance competition is a way for individuals to honor their ancestors. Dances are performed in a clockwise circle to pay respect to the sun and to represent unity and the life cycle. Men compete in Traditional Grass Dance, which is Preston's specialty, and Fancy Dance, where men wear a large headdress.
Women compete in; Fancy Shawl and Jingle Dress. Students were treated to several dances. A few students participated; they helped Preston with the Fish Dance by being little fish, following the big fish. Preston explained that this dance is spiritual and is performed to pay respect to the fish that sustains the family.
The Fish Dance is traditionally performed near the water when the salmon are spawning.

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