Books 1983 Omaha Harvest Celebration Pow-Wow Fieldnotes by Dorothy Sara Lee
It seemed as if the words of speakers during specials were carefully listened to and judged—weighed for appropriateness. The speeches followed a basic pattern: speakers expressed gratitude to various individuals, both individually and collectively, for past assistance and kindnesses in times of need; they freely confessed or acknowledged personal shortcomings [temper; a youth's behavioral problems]; they apologized for the inadequacy of the gifts to be presented and at the same time, apologized to those for whom there were to be no gifts. The MC took his cue from the special's giver, repeating or interpreting words the giver said privately to him. Several honoring songs and giveaways followed before the end of the afternoon session around 5:30.
By the end of the afternoon session, the heat and release of tension had tired us, and after a brief photo session at Maria's camper, Maria and I bought supper (fry dogs) at one of the stands, and wandered up to the ridge behind the concessions. While we were sitting on the grass, a man who identified himself as Ponca, came up to speak to us. He began a long monologue about pow-wows in general, and about his efforts to encourage young people (I believe he said he was involved in scouting) and then interjected—almost as an afterthought—a comment on the afternoon's cylinder presentation, and how he thought it would benefit other tribes as well. The comment was so deeply imbedded in his conversation that Maria and I almost missed it.
The Grand Entry that evening began a little after eight. There were close to 100 dancers, announced in the same way as in the afternoon session. The Whipman was followed by the Tail Dancers, male traditional dancers, fancy dancers, Pow-wow Princess, senior citizens, women and girl's traditional cloth dancers, women and girl's shawl dancers, young girl's cloth dancers, and the San Juan Pueblo group. This time, I had the leisure to observe the other participants in the arena, including the three men who served as Arena Directors. These seemed to be responsible for maintaining order within the arena, pointing participants in the proper direction, escorting contestants, and shooing dogs and children out of the arena with long thin white wands. They also wet down the arena between each session. The two water boys circled the inner benches with galvanized steel buckets and dippers following dances, serving only the dancers.
There was no separate honoring song for the Pow-wow Princess this evening; rather she was introduced along with the singers; arena directors, water boys, and Pow-wow Committee.
The Honey Creek Singers played what Maria termed a Sneak Up Dance. in which a slightly rubato, very high introductory section to a tremelo drumming accompaniment was followed by a vigorous fast song. During the tremolo section, traditional dancers walked about 10 yards forward