IRVING - A celebration of Native American culture and war veterans will be held this upcoming weekend.
The Veterans Powwow will be held on Friday through Sunday. A small opening ceremony will be planned for Friday night. More events are planned for Saturday and Sunday. The theme for this year's Powwow will be "Honor All Veterans" and is being sponsored through the Iroquois Legion Post 1587.
"We're honoring our veteran warriors - guys who were in past conflicts over time," Bud Thompson, Post 1587 commander, said.
The Iroquois Post 1587 will host a Veterans Powwow on Saturday and Sunday at the Cattaraugus Community Center located on Route 438 in Irving.
All veterans, non-native and native, are welcome.
"We expect a big turnout," Thompson said. "We're going to have a real nice event. We're going to have ... people from all over the country."
Throughout the two-day event, food and craft vendors, western style and smoke dance competitions and a drum competition with prizes awarded will be featured. All food and craft vendors will be native made, Thompson said. Educational exhibits will be available as well as a Color Guard from Colorado, which is a first for the post. A grand entry will take place at noon on Saturday and Sunday as well as at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
The host drum will be Cheyenne River Singers. The arena director will be Dan King. Emcee will be Richard Charging Eagle with assistant emcee Bob Dunsmore. The head male dancer will be Avery Thompson and head female dancer will be Lisa Gentry. The head veteran will be DJ Huff and the smoke dance singer will be Norm Jimerson.
A family flag honoring ceremony will also take place Saturday. The ceremony is to honor those who have served in conflict in war times.
"A family member will bring in a folded flag and put it on a chair. There will be an American flag pole ... there will be a man standing in the middle of the circle who will read off names from the families who have submitted (names)," Thompson explained. "They unfold the flag, raise it up in the air and when the ceremony is over we take it back down, fold it back up and give it back to the family."
Those who have family who served in military conflict and have flags are welcome to bring the flags for the ceremony on Saturday. A flag from September 11 will be brought from South Dakota by the Cheyenne River Reservation which was one of the first groups to respond when the Twin Towers fell and were given a flag.
A pow wow is a traditional, historical event for Native Americans. It is unclear how the powwow originated. There are many theories as to how the event came about, which is not native to this part of the country. One such theory is when Native Americans were forced to reservations, local governments led them through the streets in a parade before making them dance. This is how the grand entry came about.
The Powwow will be held at the Cattaraugus Community Center, 12767 Route 438, Irving. Admission for the weekend is as follows: Veterans are free; Adults are $7. Children ages 5 to 12 are $5; children under 5 are free; and seniors 55 and older are $5.
For more information, contact Dick Kane at 532-3117 for general information; Thompson at 255-2623 for veteran's information; and Kristina Mcleod at 801-5207 for vendor information. Information can be found online at www.IroquoisPost1587 or on Facebook.
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