SUMMITVILLE — There’s a reason it’s called Indiana.
Cyrus W. Hodgin, in his 1903 article “The Naming of Indiana,” explained that the name was originally derived by added an “a” to the name of the people from whom the land was obtained.
“Before Indiana became a state, there were as many as 103 different tribes that at one point called Indiana home,” said Greg Grabhorn of the White Buffalo Society.
The Muncie-based group invites people old and young to join them for their 15th annual pow wow this weekend – a gathering that celebrates Native American culture and educates as well. The pow wow this year takes place in a new venue at Summitville Community Center.
“There’s a lot to do for every member of the family,” said Grabhorn. He said the event is geared to inform. “It’s very important to all of us as a society. It is very big that hopefully you learn something… A lot of people really don’t know about the culture.” Grabhorn estimated about 800 people attended last year’s event, although he described the White Buffalo Society’s pow wow as a smaller one.
“It’s really quite fascinating,” said Grabhorn. “You feel the togetherness, the closeness, the feeling like a family type atmosphere.”
Drumming and dancing are key parts of the two-day event, replete with the colorful regalia of tribal ceremonial dress. Grabhorn said that two different drum groups will perform, Ohio-based Thunder with the Hands, and Winter Hawk, a group that hails from northern Indiana.
“It’s all native music,” said Grabhorn.
Grabhorn said that different tribes are represented in the dances, including Potawatomie, Miami, Delaware, Cherokee, Shawnee, Apache, Sioux, Lakota and Dakota. Different kinds of dances, like the fancy shawl dance, sneak up dance and grass dance, are performed in a variety of traditional Native American dress, including headdresses, ribbon shirts, chaps and buckskin dresses.