Laura Kingston

2023 KU First Nations Student Association (FNSA) Powwow and Indigenous Cultures Festival set for April 8

Thu, 03/09/2023

An individual with long, dark braids and bright, multicolored attire dances with seated crowd in background. Credit: Laura Kingston.

LAWRENCE — For 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.

Individual in brightly colored attire performs on green lawn. Credit: Laura Kingston.This legacy of enriching the local community through Native American traditions and cultural heritage expanded in 2017 with the establishment of the Indigenous Cultures Festival (ICF) through a partnership between FNSA and the Lied Center of Kansas.

The 2023 FNSA Powwow & ICF will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. April 8 at the Lied Center.

New this year, the committee is proud to share the addition of Gourd Dancing to welcome and honor elite military combat warriors through Tribal songs and dances. Gourd Dancing will take place on the Powwow grounds at 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

To learn more about the historical and contemporary traditions of Gourd Dancing and powwows, guests can attend “Powwow 101” at 11 a.m. and “Gourd Dancing 101” at 1 p.m.

Group photo of individuals at the 2022 FNSA powwow event. Credit: Laura Kingston.This daylong, family-friendly event will welcome the KU, Lawrence and surrounding communities to participate, share experiences, make connections and learn more about the traditions, culture, history and contemporary topics relating to the Indigenous peoples of North America. 

The day includes a full schedule of interactive experiences, educational workshops and children’s activities focused on Indigenous cultures and history, including:

  • Indigenous children's language & literacy activities
  • Indigenous books with Ponak'azo
  • Educational presentations by Cornel Pewewardy, The Indigenous Arts Initiative, FNSA students and Jancita Warrington.
  • Community mural painting

Activities offered during the 2023 KU FNSA Powwow & Indigenous Cultures Festival will be held both outside and inside 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 in accordance with the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. Leading the food vendors is Raven’s Table and Redcloud's Rock Chalkin Tacos and other Indigenous food from the Great Lakes area, invited friends of the festival, longtime vendor Peaches' Frybread and popular local vendor Monteau’s Indian Tacos. Additional Indigenous-inspired food will be available for purchase throughout the day. During the event, adult-size and youth-size T-shirts will be for sale. 

In addition to the all-day event April 8, there will be several in-person and virtual events leading up to the powwow and festival, including:

  • April 5, 7 p.m.: Film screening of “Beans” (2020), which tells the true story of the 78-day standoff between two Mohawk communities and government forces in 1990 Quebec, directed by Tracey Deer, at Haskell Indian Nations University auditorium. 
  • April 6, 4 p.m.: Public talk by Cornel Pewewardy, vice chairman of the Comanche Nation, professor of practice in the School of Education at Kansas State University, professor emeritus in Indigenous Nations studies at Portland State University and former KU assistant professor in teaching and leadership and the Global Indigenous Nations Studies Program, at the Jayhawk Welcome Center.
  • April 7, 7:30 p.m.: The Lied Center of Kansas presents Bone Hill — The Concert, featuring Martha Redbone. Bone Hill - The Concert is inspired by Redbone’s life and stories of the women from whom she descends. The lives of the Bone family members are shared through songs that span a variety of American music — from traditional Cherokee songs and lullabies to bluegrass, blues, gospel, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm & blues. Tickets are available through the Lied Center. 

Activities on April 8 are free and open to the public. It is recommended guests bring cash to purchase from vendors. For full and up-to-date details on the Annual FNSA Powwow & Indigenous Cultures Festival, please visit or connect with the Facebook event.

For more information, contact Laura Kingston at

Photos: All images were taken at the 2022 KU First Nations Student Association (FNSA) Powwow & Indigenous Cultures Festival at the Lied Center of Kansas. Credit: Laura Kingston.

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