In April I attended the one day Pow Wow at Washington University in St. Louis.  There were many mandalas there. This was the 25th annual Pow Wow organized by the Center for Native American Studies at Wash U (as we call it in St. Louis).



There were many mandalas and sacred circles: from the dancing, to the drums, to the art. The drum above was played and chants sung while drumming  by the members of the Ho-Chunk Nation,  from Wisconsin, my home state.




I asked permission of the parents to take photos of three boy dancers whose regalia was amazing.  Each had a head piece with circle beadwork of animals and other  sacred images.



The beadwork and artistry of the regalia was intricate and beautiful from head to foot.








The boys were selling DVDs of the Bear Clan singers and dancers. It is beautiful to watch.




Other mandalas were found in the art sold and made by Native American artists.

This mandala was painted on a bison hide.


And this one on a cow skull.


These gourds and  beadwork mandalas  (framed under glass) were created by Kimberly Greene-Bugg, Oneida Six-Nations.



















All of these mandalas are part of the sacredness of a circle, so beautifully expressed by  Black Elk.

You have noticed that everything an Indian does in a circle,
and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles,
and everything and everything tries to be round.

In the old days all our power came to us from the sacred hoop
of the nation and so long as the hoop was unbroken the people
flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop,
and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave peace
and light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain and the north
with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance. This
knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion.

Everything the power of the world does is done in a circle.
The sky is round and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball
and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls.
Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours.
The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon
does the same and both are round. Even the seasons form a great
circle in their changing and always come back again to where they were.

The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is
in everything where power moves. Our teepees were round like the
nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation’s hoop,
a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.

Black Elk, Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux 1863-1950


I honor the wisdom, beauty and joy the Pow Wows bring to my life. And I honor a friend whose heritage is from the H0-Chuck Nation in Wisconsin – Neshi Lokotz. 





8 Responses to Pow Wow Mandalas

  1. Linda! Pinnigigi and Kttche Megwech, a very large thank you in the Ho Chunk and Potawatomi languages. Your blog article is wonderful and the pictures are gorgeous. I wish had been there with you at the Pow-wow. We would have danced an inter-tribal song together to express our friendship over the many years. Big hugs to you!

  2. Monica says:

    Wow, Linda! Truly beautiful. Thank you for sharing this article and these images. <3

  3. becky jaine says:

    Beautiful and amazing. I’ve followed your post for quite some time and always enjoy the energy and colors you gather and express. Thank you for the light you bring to the world! Divine coincidence, I recently wrote about my own experience with Pow Wows and the power of forgiveness, of the First Nation people of Canada. Within the circle of life moves the circle of love. Aho! <3

    • Linda Wiggen Kraft says:

      Thank you Becky for the lovely words. I’d love to read about your experience with Pow Wows.

  4. Kimberly Greene Bugg says:

    Thank you for portraying our culture and art respectfully. The pictures turned out great. That powwow day was a blast! Everyone should check it out if they are in town.

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