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  • What powwow?

    What powwow did you have "sooooooo much fun at, that you didn't want the good times to end?"

    Why?
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    It's hard to choose among the few powwows that I'd say make it into the finals for being my all-time favorites. I powwowed in western Washington a lot when I lived near Seattle, and now I powwow a lot in Yakama Valley with occasional trips to western Washington, Idaho or Oregon. I see the same people at most of them, week after week; so I can't really say a reunion with long-lost friends is much of a factor.

    So I'd have to boil it down to atmosphere, and friendship with some of the people who live there (where a given powwow is happening). For the third year running, I will be singing with the host drum for the travelling Northwest Indian AA Convention and Powwow. This is a smaller-to-medium sized traditional powwow that is part of a sobriety campout hosted by a different tribe nearly every year. For the last two years, it has been hosted by the Quilleyute's at their beautiful reservation on the Washington Coast. This year it will be at the Lummi Nation. In the past, it has been everywhere from Little Boston to Sauk-Suiattle to Nespelem. That's the neat thing about this powwow, it is attached to a people and a purpose rather than one single powwow grounds or location. It is definately a finalist for my all-time favorite.

    I love a powwow in a place with good scenery, and in the Northwest it's hard to beat an arena nestled into the Cascade Mountains. For several years, the Sauk-Suiattle tribe has been hosting their Celebration of Generations in mid-June. On-scene camping and plenty of feeds only compliment the mountain views to have made past years' powwows some of my all-time favorites, too. Keep in mind that this year, things are a little different. The tribal government has changed hands, powwow staff has changed, and the powwow has been moved to the Darrington Bluegrass Festival Grounds and bumped back to late August. The new committee will have a big challenge making their first powwow as memorable as the old powwow was in previous years. Difficult, but not impossible. Tribal politics aside, I hope the new series of Sauk-Suiattle Powwows goes well, too.

    By the time we reach mid-August, how many big contest powwows have we been to? I also run a youth drum, and that means supervising a bunch of boys from 8 to 14 years of age. Whether you are a drummer, dancer or BOTH, you know what its like to rush around to get ready for your next song, your next dance, and then sit endless hours while one family after another steps up to the mike with their dozen tubs of embroidered washrags and beaded candleholders to give out. It's just well past halfway through powwow season and YOU need a VACATION. I call the Stillaguamish Festival of the River "the ideal drummers and dancers vacation powwow". They budget enough to offer day pay for drums and dancers, which helps now that gas is over $3 a gallon. They feed you. They give you a very nice place to camp. And since the powwow is afternoon-only (no lights), sessions end with dinner and then you're free to continue drumming/dancing socially if you want, or just go play in the river. Northwesterners, I really hate to miss Omak Stampede; but if you are looking for a traditional powwow (sometimes with jackpot dancing) with a much more relaxed atmosphere and plenty of time to take a breather, head on over to the west side and visit Arlington just this once. You'll be glad you did! And of course it's another well qualified candidate for my all-time favorite.

    So I guess for me, it comes down to those three. I like all kinds of powwows, big contest powwows and some smaller traditional powwows. But all three of these are the medium-to-smaller, traditional type.
    "Friends don't let friends drink decaf..."
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