The vibrant colors and patterns seen on regalia at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Family Reunion Festival often influence spectators to look into creating their own regalia and sparks an interest in dancing. Although June is many months away, it is time to start thinking about regalia for the annual Family Festival.
“Now is the time to start working on your regalia for Festival,” said Kelli Mosteller, Director of the Cultural Heritage Center. “You likely won’t have a full set by June, but you can have enough to participate in Grand Entry and you can continue to develop your regalia for years.”
Each dancer’s regalia is unique, though some families may share characteristics. As dancers move to the beat of the drum they combine traditions of honor and respect with modern competition and sport. Our regalia is indicative of our tribal heritage, an expression of our personality, and influenced by our family.
“An important thing to remember is that, while regalia is beautiful and dancing is a lot of fun, these things are not just for amusement,” added Mosteller. “The purpose and meaning behind ones attire and the dances should be respected and honored.”
Regalia is a cherished garment and is most often made by someone special to the dancer, but someone interested in dancing can also commission those with more experience to help with or make various pieces. Making regalia is time intensive and is often made over several years and enhanced over time.
“A lot of people get caught up in being traditional and think they have to have a full set of regalia before they can participate,” Mosteller noted. “Regalia can be as personal as the dancer would like and can also be used as an opportunity to create new family traditions. It’s more important to participate than to be perfect.”
You can purchase supplies for your regalia online at www.giftshop.potawatomi.org, by phone at (405) 275-3119 or in person at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center at 1899 S. Gordon Cooper Dr. in Shawnee, Oklahoma.