Multicultural Affairs

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Willamette's powwow great for first-timers

By K. Williams Brown
Thursday, March 12, 2009
The Statesman Journal

 Willamette University's annual Social Powwow will include dancing and drumming. Whether you know little to nothing about American Indian culture or you're part of the Grand Ronde tribe, there will be something for everyone at the Social Powwow at Willamette University on Saturday.

A powwow is a combination of celebration, reunion and spiritual occasion, and this one will be celebrated with such fun as dancing, drumming and a men's grass dance contest.

For the uninitiated, this is a great first powwow to go to, said Willamette University director of Multicultural Affairs Gordy Toyama.

"They'll see and get a chance to experience an important part of native culture, and its done in a way that is very educational and informative," he said, adding that guide booklets will be handed out at the door. "Everything that happens in the powwow, someone will describe it to people as if they've never been to a powwow before ... we're an educational institution; that's our goal is to educate folks."

Also around will be vendors with food and crafts; be sure to try the frybread.

"Frybread is the staple for native people," Toyama said. "You can't have a powwow without frybread."

The grand entry will be at 4 p.m. Saturday in the Cone Fieldhouse of the Sparks Athletic Center on Willamette's campus, and Toyama said he expects the celebration to last until 10 or 11 p.m. It is free. For more information, contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs at (503) 370-6265.

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