American Indian cultures, traditions to be celebrated in WPSU documentary

Fewer than 200 American Indians call central Pennsylvania home, but thousands have gathered in State College once a year for more than a decade to celebrate and embrace their various cultures, traditions and values.

“As Long As We Dance: The New Faces of an Ancient People Traditional American Indian Powwow” will debut at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, on WPSU-TV. The 30-minute documentary showcases the stories of American Indian dancers, drummers, vendors and organizers, many of whom traveled thousands of miles to participate in the powwow. November also marks Native American Heritage Month.

“As Long As We Dance” set to debut on WPSU-TV Thursday, Nov. 6

“As Long As We Dance: The New Faces of an Ancient People Traditional American Indian Powwow” will debut on WPSU-TV at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6. The 30-minute documentary showcases the stories of American Indian dancers, drummers, vendors and organizers, many of whom traveled thousands of miles to participate in the State College-based powwow.

John Sanchez, associate professor for news media ethics at Penn State’s College of Communications, organized the annual powwow since its inception 11 years ago. Sanchez, an Apache American Indian, hopes viewers see Americans Indians as they would anyone else.

“My hope is that people get a better understanding of who we are as a people,” said Sanchez. “We’re lawyers, professors, nurses and bricklayers, and we’re doing our best to hold onto our culture.”

During the most recent powwow, which was held at State College Area School District’s Mount Nittany Middle School, more than 6,500 people, including approximately 150 dancers representing 20 different American Indian reservations around the United States and Canada, attended the two-day event.

The traditional powwow, which teaches honor and respect for the languages, cultures and traditions of the participants, convened for the last time this spring. Although the powwow will not continue, its impact will live in perpetuity as a trustee scholarship was created through Penn State to honor the event.

For more information about the New Faces of an Ancient People American Indian Powwow, visit wpsu.org/powwow.

Media Contacts: 

Matt Caracappa

Work Phone: 
814-865-7600

Penn State Outreach and Online Education

 

Last Updated October 31, 2014