About the Last Chance Community Pow Wow

Last Chance Community Pow Wow logo

The theme of the pow wow is “Honor The Children.” One of our missions is to help teach our youth the many traditions of Native American culture and to share this with their peers to create a better understanding between Native and non-Natives.

Children are involved in all of our functions which includes drumming, singing, dancing, regalia making, and fundraising. It is important for them to participate in cultural activities so they stay in touch with their heritage and can share with others and pass the traditions on to their children.

Demonstration Day

The three-day celebration starts off with Demonstration Day where schools from the Helena area are invited to attend and participate in dancing. Local Native children exhibit their styles of dancing and teach the others how to dance. About 700-800 children come to this special event each year. It is very enlightening to see our children share their talents of their heritage and be proud of who they are and what each of them has worked so hard to make this happening such a delightful experience.

The Drum

Drums can come from a variety of sources. Some are handed down in family; others are donated to a drum group. Older drums are made of deer, elk, or horse hides, but contemporary bass drums can be purchased or renovated, and even blessed, just as are the older drums.

The drum is more than just a musical instrument to those who own and play it; it has its own life. Some drum groups have gone through ceremonies and had their drums blessed and named. The drum is regarded as a man with its own powerful spirit. Gifts are made to the drum and some drums have their own sacred medicine pipes. In some traditions, the drum symbolizes the heart; in others, the powerful medicine of thunder.

Regardless of the tradition, the drum must always be treated with respect as a sacred object or entity. Nothing is ever placed on the drum, nor does anyone ever reach across it. Many drums even have their own songs, which are frequently sung as a warm-up at the beginning of the pow wow/celebration.

The beat of the drum is like a heartbeat, starting slowly and then beating more quickly as the singers get further into the song. The drum sticks connect the singers to the power of the drum as they sing.