The Troy Arts Council brought a powwow to Troy University last weekend, where Martha Redbone, one of the top Native American musical artists in the world, performed traditional tribal music.
The Ma-Chis, the Lower Creek Indian Tribe of Alabama, held the powwow at the intramural fields next to the Trojan Arena.
The event was held Friday, Oct. 23, through Saturday, Oct. 24, beginning at 9 both mornings and ending at 8 each night.
The event primarily featured dance performances by skilled artists and demonstrators dressed in elaborate Native American attire. It also featured tents where there were different activities such as face painting.
Attendees could purchase authentic Native American souvenirs such as dream catchers, arrowheads, traditional beadwork, jewelry and rabbit tails.
Vendors also sold Native American foods like Rez juice, Indian fried bread and Indian tacos.
John Jinright, Troy University associate professor and member of the Troy Arts Council, attended the powwow last year.
“It seemed like a great opportunity for Troy Arts Council to partner with Troy University and the Ma-Chis community and help grow this annual event into a major festival that had significant educational and economic benefits for our area,” Jinright said.
The first day of the event, students from different schools in the area attended the powwow and were able to learn about Native American culture. They were led around by people working the event, all dressed in traditional Native American attire.
Matt Taylor, a member of the Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama and vendor at the event, said that while one tribe usually is host for the powwow, Indian tribes from all over unite for the event.
He said that vendors typically travel together, and performers from all over come to compete at the event.
The Martha Redbone Trio concert was held at 8 on Friday night, where she sang songs from her album “Garden of Love.” The album is based on poetry by William Blake.
Martha Redbone is an Independent Music Award-winning musician of Cherokee, Choctaw, Shawnee and African-American descent.
In her concerts, she explores traditional and modern variations of folk, roots, blues, tribal and soul music.
“We saw Martha Redbone in a performing arts showcase in Atlanta in 2014 and knew she would be an amazing choice for the festival,” Jinright said. “She is an incredible talent and a very gifted educator.”
“We’re so proud to be a part of the joint effort to bring her here and help grow this important festival for Troy and Pike County,” Jinright said, on behalf of the Troy Arts Council.
The second day of the event included many of the same kinds of activities and the Grand Entry event that featured more dance competitions.
“We went and watched their competition show,” said Matt Fulton, a sophomore music industry major from Tampa, Florida. “The little kids were getting into it, and it seemed special to the people that were involved in it.
“I was kind of hesitant to go, but it was definitely worth my time. It’s nice to get some culture in Troy, other than college football and beer.”