A United States Marine in full uniform might seem like an unlikely candidate to participate in a traditional Native American dance, but that’s exactly what happened at the Iowa Nation Powwow in 2014. For the past 30 years, the Iowa Nation of Oklahoma has hosted an annual powwow that honors and celebrates their rich culture. Free and open to the public, this three-day-long festival features a fun run, softball games, color guard presentations, and dance competitions.
For Native Americans, dance serves many purposes. It is an act of recreation and revelry, but it is also done in times of deep ritual and reverence. The war dance was traditionally done on the eve of battle. It inspired warriors as they got ready to fight and incorporated a number of religious rites that were believed to ensure victory.
Here, Lance Corporal Marland Trey Kent is invited to participate in a war dance with a fellow veteran from the Iowa nation. Each man is dressed in his own distinguished uniform – the Marine sporting his clean cut blues and the Native American wearing full celebration regalia. They may come from different backgrounds, but each of these men knows what it means to be a warrior and that shines through as they move to the beat of the drum. What follows is a beautiful display of honor and respect between two brave men.
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