IRVING - Hundreds gathered Saturday at the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation to celebrate veterans and Native American heritage. The first Powwow was held at the Cattaraugus Community Center following opening ceremonies Friday night. The theme of the Powwow is "Honor All Veterans."
"Besides the fun, entertainment and social aspects that a Powwow brings, we aim to educate and nurture a sense of community," Nancy Scott, Seneca Nation of Indians public relations officer, said.
Saturday's events included a family flag honoring ceremony and the grand entry. A family flag honoring ceremony is to honor those who have served in the military. Family members brought flags of their loved ones to the ceremony. One special flag involved in Saturday's ceremony was a flag from September 11. The flag was brought in by a group from the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota which they received as a gift.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Top: The first American Legion Post 1587 Powwow held on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation was Saturday at the Cattaraugus Community Center on Route 438. The event will continue today with doors opening at 10 a.m.
Above: A male dancer takes part in the grand entry Saturday.
A grand entry which included hundreds of dancers also took place which is a part of the traditional Powwow events. In addition to the grand entry, information regarding veterans was available to those in attendance. A wall of pictures of veterans from past wars were on display as well as videos shown.
"We wanted to educate the public and showcase the veterans' contributions," Scott said.
The community center's gymnasium was lined with various vendors and demonstrations of how crafts are made. These demonstrations are not typical at a Powwow, according to Scott. Outside, food vendors lined the back of the building. All food and crafts were Native-made.
One of the tables set up for information on veterans was the South Buffalo Chapter of American Gold Star Moms, a non-profit organization for those who have lost children in combat.
"Being here today has opened my eyes," Member Holly Baker said. "Looking out at this (veteran's) wall, there has to be some Gold Star moms here."
The Powwow was sponsored by American Legion Post 1587. Legion Commander Bud Thompson said Saturday went well and the event drew a "good crowd." Also in attendance were Sen. Richard Marcellais, six veterans groups, a women's warrior group and participants and leaders from Cheyenne River, Standing Rock, Pine Ridge and Rose Bud communities.
The Powwow continues today at the Community Center. Doors open at 10 a.m. with a drum roll call at noon. From 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. will be a variety of dance contests. At 4:30 p.m. will be the family flag retiring and awards will be presented at 6 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults; children aged 5 to 12 are $5; seniors are $5; and children under 5 as well as veterans are free.
The Cattaraugus Community Center is located at 12767 Route 438, Irving. For more information, visit www.IroquoisPost1587.com.
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