As record numbers of Indian babies were born in the 21st century, the pow wow continued to grow in both size (numbers of dancers, singers, drummers, attendees and categories have all increased) and prestige (winning dancers and drummers are like the rock stars of 2000, traveling down the pow wow highway in luxury buses, appearing on the cover of fashion mags, hanging out in the VIP room at Life).

Pow wows these days take place year round and are often held in Olympic stadium-size venues. Pow wow regalia has changed a lot. The basic form has stayed the same, but the materials have progressed with the times. These days, attention-grabbing is more important than ever. They finally had to outlaw personal strobe lights in 2202 because too many elders were getting strokes while watching! Metallic fabric and mirrored accessories are all the rage. With the invention of the beading machine in 2145, beadwork is more prominent than ever and you can get photorealistic images, complex fractals or other computer-generated designs. Ultra suede and faux-fur have replaced leather and real pelts, ever since the Royal Commission on Unmutated Species prohibited their use in 2095 to protect wild life.

The dances have really evolved, too. The Fancy Dance goes unbelievably fast, lasting all of 55 seconds (apparently that is all the anaerobic activity the dancers can take at that pace) and the judges now use video cameras with instant replay to determine the winners. Amazing!

It is pretty incredible to think that the pow wow was once outlawed, to keep Indians from getting together. Now the grass dance is a regular part of gym class.

Look at Me!
Imagining Indians