Scope and Content
Title: Tara Browner Collection,
Date (inclusive): March 18-19, 1989.
Collection number: 2004.10
1 box: 7 audio cassettes and 20 PMCDs (listening copies
available in the Archive)
University of California, Los Angeles. Library.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
Abstract: From Browner's book, Heartbeat of the People:
"The year 1989 marked the final time the Ann Arbor Pow-wow was held in
the Hill Street Coliseum." The Ann Arbor Pow-wow: A Brief Case Study In
1989, while conducting fieldwork for a project that ultimately did not
result in a filed master's thesis, I assembled a musical ethnography of
the Ann Arbor, Michigan, pow-wow, at the time the largest event of its
kind in the state. Since then I have danced at Ann Arbor every year,
been a member of the pow-wow committee, and worked in various roles,
from security and finances (counting money as it came in) to registering
dancers. My project in 1989 enabled me to gather historical information
on the roots of the pow-wow, and my participation in years following has
allowed me to see the event grow and change. Reflecting these
experiences, the information that follows is meant to provide an
overview of how one small, community-based gathering has grown into a
major event. Although it would be helpful to declare this particular
pow-wow as representative of most events, that statement would be
deceptive because pow-wows are so varied. Nevertheless, I know the Dance
at Ann Arbor better than any other (except, perhaps, the UCLA Pow-wow,
which is predominantly Southern) and can discuss it in the most detail.
The Ann Arbor Pow-wow, part of both the larger complex of Northern
pow-wow events and traditions, is representative of a typical
Anishnaabeg-dominated event. Within these two larger frameworks, it is
also the product of a unique set of circumstances, including (within the
Detroit area) the influence of non-Anishnaabeg Indian cultures and the
pressures placed upon a community-based event by a large university that
intends to portray itself as supporting the Native American community.
In more than a quarter-century of existence the pow-wow has changed from
a small, traditional affair into a competitive extravaganza complete
with concerts, affiliated "dry dances," and raffles.
[Identification of item], Tara Browner Collection, 2004.10,
Ethnomusicology Archive, University of California, Los Angeles.
Scope and Content