“We can never bring back the past. We have to hang on to our traditional ways and our modern ways and we try to compare them.” The contemporary pow-wow is not rooted in any singular tribal culture. It is a social gathering blending traditions from multiple tribes and historical events. In Oklahoma, the Ponca and Kiowa tribes largely influenced the development of the pow wow, as did historical currents affecting both the Native Americans and the new settlers. The United States Army forced the Ponca people to move from the northern plains of Nebraska to Indian territory in Oklahoma in the 1870s. Although many Ponca died along the way, Ponca traditions were preserved, including songs and dances, and people celebrated surviving the terrible transition. Their ceremonies marked the suffering and sacrifices of moving, and celebrated the strength of the survivors. In the 1890s, another plains tribal group, the Kiowa, who had been moved to Indian territory preserved their culture and contributed it to the development of the modern pow wow. The tribe leader would call
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