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AMERICAN MOSAIC - September 13, 2002: Native American Pow Wow in Washington / A Question About Colonel Sanders / Music of Lionel Hampton - 2002-09-12


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:

We play music by Lionel Hampton …

Answer a question about the man whose picture is seen at eating places all over the world ...

And tell about a celebration of Native Americans.

Pow Wow on the Mall


A Native American powwow is a celebration of ancient traditions. A large one is being held this weekend near the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Mary Tillotson tells us about it.


The National Museum of the American Indian will not open to visitors for a year. But it already is providing activities for American Indians and the public. This weekend it will hold a national powwow to honor Native people and their traditions. There will be music, dancing and American Indian foods. The celebration will be held on the grassy Mall next to the unfinished museum.

Powwows are social gatherings of Native Americans who compete to perform dances started centuries ago by their ancestors. The dancers wear colorful traditional clothes. They move to the music of drums and singing. Two groups of drummers will provide the strong beats for the dancers this weekend. One group of drummers are Blackfeet Indians from Washington state. The other are Kiowa (KAI–oh–wa) from Oklahama.

The Smithsonian’s powpow will include dancers representing hundreds of tribes. They will compete in seven traditional kinds of dances. These include men’s grass dancing, women’s jingle dress, and a tiny tots dance for children under five years of age. Judges will choose the winners. Almost eighty-thousand dollars in prize money will be given.

George Horse Capture is advisor to the director of the National Museum of the American Indian. He says the powwow may have begun with the Omaha tribe as a victory dance by warriors. It was first called the grass dance. By the middle eighteen-seventies, other tribes began learning the dance, changing it to meet their needs.

George Horse Capture says that the cultural life of many tribes today centers on the powwow. Members make great efforts to attend their tribe’s yearly event. It is a time to honor special members, to remember those who have died, and to celebrate the first time a child dances.

Thousands of American Indians from tribes in the United States and Canada are expected to attend the powwow in Washington this weekend. Thousands of other people will come to watch as the dancers and drummers honor their ancestors.

Colonel Sanders


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Bulgaria. Svetlina Kirilova wants to know about the picture of the smiling, old man she sees at every Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants can be found in eighty-two countries around the world. That smiling, old man shown in each of them is the American man who started the business, Colonel Harland Sanders.

Harland Sanders was born in the middle western state of Indiana in eighteen-ninety. He began working at the age of ten for two dollars a month on a farm. He was poor for much of his life. He held many different jobs. He was a farmer and a street car operator. He worked on the railroad and on river boats. He studied law and was a businessman. He was also a soldier for six months, but not a colonel.

At the age of forty, Harland Sanders began cooking for travelers who stopped at his gas station in the southern state of Kentucky. More and more people began arriving just for the good food. So he started a small restaurant across the street.

It was there that he developed a new way to cook a special kind of chicken. He became famous in the state of Kentucky. The governor made him a Kentucky Colonel to honor him for his work in nineteen-thirty-five.

Years later, in nineteen-fifty-two, Harland Sanders began teaching other restaurant owners his secret method of cooking chicken. He drove across the country, cooking chicken for restaurant owners. If they liked the chicken, they would agree to a business deal and change their restaurants to ones that served the special chicken. Colonel Sanders called the restaurants Kentucky Fried Chicken. He started the business when he was sixty-five years old.

By nineteen-sixty-four, more than six-hundred restaurants were cooking chicken using Harland Sanders’ secret method. He then sold the company for two-million dollars. But he remained its spokesman until his death in nineteen-eighty. Today, Kentucky Fried Chicken has grown to become one of the largest food service systems in the world.

Lionel Hampton


American jazz musician Lionel Hampton died last month in New York City following a heart attack. He was ninety-four years old. Lionel Hampton is considered one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. Shep O’Neal tells us about him.


Lionel Hampton was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but later moved with his family to Chicago, Illinois. He joined his first band as a teenager. Later, he traveled with many bands, and learned to play an electronic instrument called the vibraphone. Listen as he plays it in this famous recording, “Memories of You”.


In the nineteen-thirties, Lionel Hampton joined Benny Goodman’s jazz group. It was the first time that blacks and whites performed together in a major musical group. Here, the group plays a song always linked to Lionel Hampton because he wrote it. Hampton once said he probably performed this song more than three-hundred times a year for fifty years. It is “Flyin’ Home.”


Lionel Hampton wrote more than two-hundred pieces of music and traveled all over the world playing them. He continued to perform most of his life. He won many awards, including the National Medal of Arts. He also established music schools and helped students pay for their educations. We leave you now with another Lionel Hampton jazz recording, “Stomp.”



Every two years or so, AMERICAN MOSAIC has included a series about how foreign students can attend college in the United States. This year, the series will be heard on the weekly EDUCATION REPORT instead. The foreign student series will begin on the EDUCATION REPORT next Thursday, September nineteenth.


This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Caty Weaver and Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Gary Spiezler. And our producer was Paul Thompson.