Dancers in regalia take to the pow wow grounds at the Oglala Nation Pow Wow in 2014. Dictionary.com officially defines a powwow as an event where Native Americans practice "magic."

Courtesy Viki Eagle

Dancers in regalia take to the pow wow grounds at the Oglala Nation Pow Wow in 2014. Dictionary.com officially defines a powwow as an event where Native Americans practice "magic."

Dictionary.com: A Pow Wow Is An Event Where Indians Practice ‘Magic’

Dictionary.com, a popular website of definitions and synonyms, defines a pow wow as an event where Native Americans — wait for it — practice “magic,” ICTMN discovered Monday.

In its official definition, the website writes that a ‘powwow’ is “[among North American Indians] a ceremony, especially one accompanied by magic, feasting, and dancing, performed for the cure of disease, success in a hunt, etc.”

Dictionary.com

Dictionary.com

The discovery of the curious definition comes weeks after a heated debate surrounding author J.K. Rowling’s latest series, “A History of Magic In North America.” In it, fictional Native Americans practice witchcraft and wizardry. Rowling is the author of the widely-successful ‘Harry Potter’ series.

Image courtesy nativeappropriations.com

Image courtesy nativeappropriations.com

RELATED: J.K. Rowling On Native American Wizards – Called Skin Walkers on Pottermore Website

Sarah Ortegon, a jingle dress dancer who is currently studying fancy shawl, told ICTMN Monday that although the beauty of pow wows can “cast a spell” on viewers, it is not magic in its official definition.

Sarah Ortegon, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho, dances old style jingle at the Denver Indian Center New Years Pow Wow earlier this year. Photo courtesy Hannah Ortegon.

Sarah Ortegon, Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho, dances old style jingle at the Denver Indian Center New Years Pow Wow earlier this year. Photo courtesy Hannah Ortegon.

“We do not practice magic while we dance. We use our bodies to tell living stories that have [been] passed on from generation to generation,” she wrote in a message. “Although, the ultimate goal of colonialism was to make our way of life disappear, pow wows have only helped keep some of our traditions alive.”

Ortegon, who is Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho, said that magic “is the power to perform mysterious tricks. Usually performed as entertainment. For example, making things disappear or appear before your very eyes. [There are] no magic tricks [at pow wows],” she emphasized.

On Monday evening, prominent Native American voices, including Dr. Adrienne Keene of Native Appropriations, and hip-hop artist Frank Waln, were already slamming the website’s definition. Other Twitter users also chimed in with their own musings:

Twitter.com

Twitter.com

Twitter.com

Twitter.com

Twitter.com

Twitter.com

Twitter.com

Twitter.com

Dictionary.com did not immediately respond to ICTMN’s request for comment.

Simon Moya-Smith

Simon Moya-Smith

Simon Moya-Smith, Oglala Lakota, is the Culture Editor at Indian Country Today. Follow him @Simonmoyasmith.

 

Comments

Comments are closed.

Credit Card Identification Number

This number is recorded as an additional security precaution.

americanexpress

American Express

4 digit, non-embossed number printed above your account number on the front of your card.
visa

Visa

3-digit, non-embossed number printed on the signature panel on the of the card immediately following the card account number.
mastercard

MasterCard

3-digit, non-embossed number printed on the signature panel on the back of the card.

Enter Your Log In Credentials

Send this to friend

Hi,
I thought you might find this interesting:
Dictionary.com: A Pow Wow Is An Event Where Indians Practice 'Magic'

URL: https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/native-news/dictionarycom-a-pow-wow-is-an-event-where-indians-practice-magic/