Native arts, dancing shared at Willamette University Pow wow

by University Communications,

Native art, food, dancing and drumming await visitors at the 12th annual Pow wow scheduled for March 8 at Willamette University.

The free event, which celebrates the history and traditions of native people, begins at 4 p.m. in Cone Field House.

“Native people have had a long and rich history in Oregon and Willamette, and are still very present today,” says event organizer Felicia Garcia ’14, a psychology and sociology major.

“I look forward to frybread, listening to the drummers, seeing the dancers and their regalia, and sharing my culture with the greater Willamette and Salem community. I hope that people can learn something about native culture from this event and have fun.”

Garcia is the co-president of the Native American Enlightenment Association (NAEA), the group that puts on the Pow wow every year. As a member of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Garcia says she wants to connect with other native students.

Highlights of the event include the sharing of traditional dances, regalia and songs. At least three dozen dancers and more than 15 different drum groups will provide entertainment, and vendors will be on hand to sell everything from frybread to traditional Native American crafts and artwork.

NAEA treasurer and long-time member Nilo Thomas says every vendor will donate an item or two that can be won throughout the night. A Pendleton blanket is the grand prize.

During the ceremonies, organizers and participants will sing a song to honor April Campbell, the new Indian education specialist for the Oregon Department of Education.

Gordy Toyama, Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), says both members and non-members of the Native American community are welcome at the Pow wow, where everyone will have the chance to take part in native traditions.

“Many of our dancers, drummers and vendors have been attending and supportive of WU since we first began,” Toyama says. “I love the beat of the drums, the beauty of the dancers and the traditions of a Pow wow.”

• Article by Natalie Pate ’15, politics and French/Francophone studies major