Ann Axtmann Book Award Statement

The winner of the Peter C. Rollins Prize for the best book on popular or American culture published in 2013 is: Ann Axtmann for her work Indians and Wannabes, which was nominated by the University of Florida Press. Ann could not attend this year’s conference, but she sent this very gracious thank you, which was read at the conference. Thank you, Ann, and we hope to catch you next year.


To my Colleagues at the Northeast Popular Culture Association:

First and foremost, I want to thank NEPCA for granting Indians and Wannabes. Native

American Powwow Dancing in the Northeast and Beyond the 2013 Northeast Popular

Cultural Association’s Peter C. Rollins Book Award. I especially thank the folks on the

Book Award Committee for their time and energy. I also thank the University Press of

Florida for taking a risk with a manuscript that deals with areas that are often under-
represented: Native American performance and body movement and dance studies.

In 1999, as I began work on Indians and Wannabes, I presented my first paper on

powwows at the Popular Culture Association’s 4th

Americas in Cholula, Mexico. For that conference, due to Peter C. Rollins’s friendly

and persistent encouragement via e-mail, I chaired the newly created “Native America

and Performance AREA” that included five panels and many exciting presenters from

around the world. Subsequently, the Mid-Atlantic Almanack published, “Space, Time,

and Popular Culture: Native American Indian Intertribal Powwows” as the result of my

presentation on that topic at the 10th

Culture Conference in Valley Forge, PA. I also presented another paper on powwows at

the 5th

International PCA Congress––again, in Mexico. In other words, many of the ideas

in this book were developed because of the opportunities afforded to me by the Popular

Culture Association and its regional branches. I regret that I was unable to attend the

NEPCA conference this year to personally accept this award. However, I hope to meet

many of you at future meetings.

Indians and Wannabes focuses on how everyday movement and dance embody and

express the power of Native American powwows primarily along the northeast Atlantic

coastline from New Jersey into New England. After years of fieldwork, movement and

performance analysis, and a passion and respect for the beauty of Native American

powwow dance, the text introduces readers to the complexities of powwow history,

describes how space and time are performed along the powwow trail, identifies specific

powwow dance styles, and considers the issue of race in relation to Native American

dancers and the phenomenon of “playing Indian” by non-natives. Field photographs

illustrate Indian dancers and singers, wannabes, and aspects such as the Grand Entry.

There is also a photograph of my own maternal grandparents as they “dress up” as

Indians at Oberlin College in 1916. For more information please check the link: FIND


Again, I want to thank Virginia Cowen as well as Rob Weir, everyone on the Book

Award Committee, and all members of NEPCA for this great honor. It serves as an

acknowledgment of the critical importance of Native American culture and dance

throughout North America and, as I write at the end of Indians and Wannabes, the many

ways in which “Powwow people and their dance––these bodies in motion––can inspire us

with wonder, hope, and the energy to continue the struggle for survival and much, much


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