Sources close to Sylvia Whitman are reporting that the junior Human Biology major considers herself an expert on Native American culture after attending Stanford Powwow. Powwow is an annual event put on by the Stanford Native community to celebrate and showcase a variety of Native American cultures, and is open to the public. Whitman, who grew up in a Michigan suburb with her parents Steven and Margerie Whitman, says this is far from her first experience with Native American culture.
“When I was little, I loved Disney’s Pocahontas. I even dressed up as her for Halloween one year.”
But even this extensive exposure to Native American traditions did not prepare Whitman for her first Powwow.
“I love the Powwow! It’s just so…spiritual. You know?” said Whitman. “My grandmother was related to a Cherokee princess, which makes me, like, 1/32 Cherokee. So I felt right at home.”
However, despite her professed Native ancestry, beaded mocassins, and feathered earings from Forever 21, Whitman was surprised to find that she was completely unfamiliar with the food, music, dances, and customs she encountered at Powwow.
“I know all the words to Colors of the Wind, but they never played it,” complained Whitman. “Or any songs in English, actually.”
But she was able to incorporate this veritable flood of new information, even cautiously trying some of the authentic Native American cuisine.
“I guess I really learned a lot,” said Whitman triumphantly. “Everything, actually. I learned everything. I can’t wait to tell my friends at home all about my culture!”