For several decades, the University of Kansas First Nations Student Association (FNSA) has hosted the annual KU FNSA Powwow. The event celebrates the diversity of Native American cultures in the community through dancing, singing and honoring the traditions of Indigenous ancestors. The legacy of enriching the local community through Native American traditions and cultural heritage grew with the establishment of the Indigenous Cultures Festival through a partnership with the Lied Center of Kansas.
The 2022 event is taking place on April 9 from 11 am to 8 pm at the Lied Center of Kansas, and it is free and open to the public. This year marks the return of the event in-person, as it was canceled in 2020 and held virtually in 2021 due to the pandemic.
This daylong, family-friendly event welcomes the KU, Lawrence and surrounding communities to participate, share experiences, make connections and learn more about the traditions, cultures, history and contemporary topics relating to the Indigenous peoples of North America.
Throughout the day, there is a full schedule for attendees to participate in interactive experiences, educational workshops and children’s activities focused on Indigenous cultures and history, including:
- Children’s stories read by author Jimmy Beason, U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D.-Kansas, and State Rep. Christina Haswood, 10th District.
- Special presentations by Theresa Milk, Alex Red Corn, Robert Hicks Jr. and Jancita Warrington.
The powwow will be outside, with festival activities both inside and outside the Lied Center. Attendees planning on staying throughout the powwow are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. Regional Native American artists and artisans will have items for sale, and there will be Indigenous-inspired food available to purchase throughout the day.
In addition to the all-day event on April 9, there will be several festival events leading up to the powwow:
- March 25, 5-9 pm – Indigenous Arts Initiative Exhibit Opening at Cider Gallery’s Final Friday event.
- April 3, 4:30 pm – Indigenous Arts Initiative artists reception and talk with Cara Romero, Nanobah Becker and mentees at Cider Gallery.
- April 5, 6 pm – Land acknowledgment conversation on Zoom with Melissa Peterson, Laurie Ramirez, Sarah Deer, Lori Hasselman and Kelly Walker. Registration is required.
- April 8, 7:30 pm – The Lied Center presents Red Sky Performance: “Trace.” Red Sky is a leading company of contemporary Indigenous dance, theatre, music and media in Canada and worldwide. Tickets are available through the Lied Center.
Visit fnsapowwow.ku.edu for more information on the KU Powwow & Indigenous Cultures Festival.