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Background Image Freddy Gipp in ceremonial dress

The Future is Red

Laryn Oakes is a champion fancy shawl dancer who has been dancing since she was able to walk. Through the dance circle she represents herself, her family, and her community. Native Americans have danced for generations to give thanks, celebrate, and honor each other and their ancestors. Oakes serves as head dancing judge at the Young Professionals powwow June 6 in Lawrence. She will also participate in a panel discussion called "The Future is Red," sponsored in part by an HK Humanities for All Grant

The powwow and panel are the brainchild of Freddy Gipp, CEO of Lead Horse LLC. Gipp, of Lawrence, envisions the Young Professionals Powwow and panel discussion he calls a Red Talk as key pieces of Native intellectual development and capacity building. According to Gipp, powwows and Red Talks serve as an opportunity to “lay the framework for a better, stronger Indian Country.” 

Gipp sees an opportunity to build the social and cultural infrastructure of his community through the cultural economy. The panel, therefore, focuses on key issues pertinent to Native communities that he hopes will build upon Native cultural expression and resiliency and appeal to a younger demographic. Topics include business, education, cultural revitalization, and sustainability. In addition to Oakes who is a member of the Plains Cree tribe, the panel includes Gipp, a member of the Apache tribe of Oklahoma and Eric Reimers, legislative correspondent of U. S. Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Reimers is a member of both the Yup’ik and Dena’ina Athabascan tribes.

Gipp keenly feels the responsibility that his generation bears as passed down by the elders. This shifting of generations is why this powwow focuses on young professionals ages 18-29, which has never been done before. He chose the powwow setting for the panel because, “the spirit of our celebrations remains intact through the dancing and singing that has been passed down through many generations.”

“the spirit of our celebrations remains intact through the dancing and singing that has been passed down through many generations.”

Writer and Cowlitz Indian tribe member Melanie Mariano captured the spirit of the powwow in her poem, “The Gathering:”

Can you hear them calling?
The drums which shout out for you,
Rhythmic as a heartbeat,
Like lyrical sweet grass for your soul?

Can you hear them calling?
The stomping feet from each Nation,
Adorned with Inter-tribal traditions,
Eagerly waiting upon your arrival?

Read "The Gathering" in its entirety at the National Museum of the American Indian's website


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