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Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Scenes From the Pow Wow Flickr set
A few Saturdays back I attended the Niseka Illahee Pow Wow in Siletz, OR. The night before I was at Goose Hollow when someone at the table asked, "Hey, you wanna get up at the crack of dawn to go to a pow wow tomorrow?" How could I refuse an invitation like that?
After brunch at the Chinook Winds Casino, we ascended into the hills and drove east. The pow wow grounds were surrounded by a mixture of tents and teepees, offering an apt metaphor for what was waiting a short hike away.
The event was a virtual melting pot of Native American culture and, how should I put this, "Appalachian" ethos. Pearly-white biker dudes and families clad in tank tops mixed in with natives in full tribal attire. While the majority of the later stuck with traditional duds, one dancer combined native gear with a red hip-hop tracksuit.
At one point both sides danced side-by-side to the sound of beating drums. Nearby stands sold NASCAR-style baseball caps emblazoned with eagles. Food carts cooked up "Navajo Tacos" and tribal "War on Terror" t-shirts were selling for $17. One stand even offered shirts with a native spin on those Calvin bootleg decals.
That's not to say this was a complete "I'd like to buy the world a Coke" fest. At one point, a woman gave a speech decrying the genocide her people had endured at the hands of Europeans. For the most part though it was a celebration of native culture with a dash of redneck spice tossed into the mix.
I brought along my camera. To get a look at a Flickr gallery of shots from the event, click here or on the link in the left column.