Seafair Indian Days Pow Wow


You are welcome to camp out for the weekend, but remember to bring your own tipi poles to the United Indians of All Tribes’ 22nd Annual Pow Wow at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center in Discovery Park. But with over two dozen drum groups pounding out a soul-shaking rhythm for the benefit of the 500-plus competitive Native dancers, don’t expect to get too much shuteye. Dancers and musicians from all over North America will converge on these twenty hard-won acres, lending venerable traditions from countless First Nations cultures to the pan-tribal celebration. While there is a great deal of sacredness in the rituals performed, things aren’t all solemn. If you envy the dancers flawlessly revolving in tornadoes of rainbow hues, you can look like them if perhaps not move like them—in other words, bring your cash and be prepared to haggle for your own gorgeous regalia at the mobile trading post that sets up shop each year. Along with shopping and eating (the amount of frybread one person can consume in three days would give any cardiologist palpitations), there’ll be a chance to appreciate something more profound than mere merrymaking. This annual pow wow, supported by dozens of AmeriCorps students and area volunteers, is a triumph of the perseverance of local 1970s Native activists. Led by the late Bernie Whitebear and championed by celebrities like Jane Fonda, they invaded the old Fort Lawton and occupied it until the U.S. Government agreed to cede the land to their control. The United Indians of All Tribes Foundation was created to ensure cultural longevity for the urban Native population, and that’s something that we can all celebrate.

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