The father of all powwows Sunday at Stewart
June 15, 2005
“Fathers and families are traditionally very important to Native American culture,” says Sherry Rupert, member of the Paiute Tribe and coordinator of the annual Father’s Day Pow-wow at Stewart Indian School on Snyder Avenue. “Traditionally, our men serve as our elders and our warriors.”
The spirit of fatherhood as well as that of former Stewart Indian School Braves will be celebrated starting tonight at 7 p.m. at the intertribal grand entry.
“You don’t want to miss the grand entry,” says Rupert. “It’s like a parade.”
The grand entry is when all of the dancers form a procession and wind around the arena in a powerful show of color and costume.
The powwow, co-hosted by the Nevada State Indian Commission, is a fund-raiser to rebuild the now defunct school’s museum and cultural center. The museum was shut down in May 2001 due to lack of funding.
American Indians representing tribes from all over the West are expected to attend the three-day celebration of competitive traditional dancing, alumni events, boxing exhibitions and lots of Indian food and craft vendors featuring Indian fry bread, jewelry, dream catchers and weavings.
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The Stewart Princess contest will crown the best young female dancers ages 7 to 16.
A special “Tiny Tot” category will showcase dancers 4 and under.
“Very cute,” warns Rupert. “It definitely gets the flash bulbs going.”
Rupert says some of the kids aren’t even old enough to walk but are dressed up in traditional costumes and sort of crawl along to the beat of the drums.
A special reunion and resource tent will be available to alumni of the Stewart Indian School that will include yearbooks, pictures and memorabilia for former Braves.
The boxing exhibition will run from 5-7 p.m. Saturday.
A Gardnerville group called Red Hoop will provide the drumming for the event.
“All the memorabilia, from old band uniforms to school artifacts are all in storage and ready to go,” said Rupert.
“We have a building set aside for the museum,” she says. “All we need is the funding.”
The Stewart Indian School was established in 1890 by the federal government in order to educate American Indians. Members of more than 200 tribes passed through its doors during its 90-year history. The school was closed in 1980 and is now owned by the state.
Admission to the event is free.
“All are welcome and we encourage everyone to come out and celebrate Father’s Day at the powwow,” says Rupert.
The event takes place in a family-friendly, health-positive environment, according to Rupert, meaning no drugs or alcohol are allowed anywhere on facility grounds.
There will also be a raffle, with prizes ranging from blankets to beaded lamps, and numerous gift certificates donated by local businesses.
n Contact reporter Peter Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1215.
If you go
What: Father’s Day Pow-wow
When: Friday through Sunday
Where: Stewart Indian School campus, 5500 Snyder Ave.
7 p.m. today;
1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday
1 p.m. Sunday