Powwow to celebrate culture, fathers

Published Caption: Two-year-old Asa Nelson Jr. dances at the powwow on Saturday.

Published Caption: Two-year-old Asa Nelson Jr. dances at the powwow on Saturday.

Native American dancers and artists from across the country will be at the annual Stewart Father's Day Powwow this weekend.

"This powwow is one of the largest in Northern Nevada," said Sherry Rupert, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission. "We bring in very talented artisans, and we also draw some of the most talented dancers."

The main feature of the powwow is a dance competition that runs throughout the three days. Dancers compete in age divisions from the very youngest to the "golden age" category of 55 and older, and in several styles known as intertribal dance.

During some portions, members of the public are invited to join the dancers in the arena.

"They just get out there," Rupert said. "They look at the other people dancing and emulate them, or they just walk around and be a part of it."

Each session of the dance competition is introduced with a Grand Entrance, or a parade of the dancers as they enter the arena.

"It's an opportunity for the public to see all of the beautiful regalia coming in all at once in all of its glory," Rupert said, noting that Red Hoop of Gardnerville will be the host drummers for the event.

There is also a reverence to the entrance.

"The arena is sacred," Rupert explained. "It's blessed prior to the entrance. It's hard to describe that feeling of walking into it."

In addition to the dancing, 50 booths will be set up selling food such as Indian tacos and shaved ice. Crafts including jewelry, beaded work, leather and paintings will also be available.

"We're so excited," Rupert said. "We're sold out on vendors, more than ever before. Anything you can think of that's Native, it's going to be out here."

In honor of Father's Day, dads will be recognized throughout the ceremonies and will be offered free cake on Sunday.

Proceeds from the powwow will go to help establish the Stewart Indian Cultural Center.

Rupert said it is a good way to preserve the American Indian legacy in the area, as well as introduce the community to the traditions.

"It's an opportunity for the public to come out and learn about the Native American culture and actually be a part of it," she said.


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