Monday, May 25, 2009

Native Americans, Native Hawaiians together

Wailoa River State Park in Hilo was the scene this weekend for the 4th annual Inter-Tribal Pow Wow. On bright green grass beneath swaying palm trees, under a warm sun caressed by cooling ocean breezes, the event rang with drums, pipes, dances and pageantry, as peoples from across the nation joined their Native Hawaiian brethren for three days of togetherness and remembrance.

Although Native Americans account for fewer than 6,000 of Hawaii’s 1.3 million people, their ties to the Native Hawaiian and Native Alaskan peoples is enduring. Memorial Day is an apt time for their togetherness – like many of their Caucasian comrades in arms, Native peoples came to Hawaii as part of their military service, fell in love with the peaceful paradise, and chose to stay.

The Presen-
tation of the colors and the opening ceremonies began the day of workshops, chanting, singing and events for children

and adults alike.

The powwow was sponsored by the Federation of American Natives, in partnership with Big Island Resource Con-
servation and Dev-
elopment Council Inc. Support also came from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Hawaii County Council-
woman Emily Naeole, Angel Pilago, Connections Public Charter School, Big Island Weekly and the Big island Chapter of Alii’s of Hawaii Motorcycle Club.

Fried bread, Indian tacos and shave ice were among the offerings from the food vendors. All kinds of Native American jewelry, animal skins, sun catchers and carvings were also available in the vendor area behind the arena.

Prominent participants: Head Man Dancer Joe Hacker, a Rosebud Lakota; Head Woman Dancer Shelly Hill, a Mohawk; Master of Ceremonies Chip Begay, a Navajo; and Arena Directors Dan McDaniel, a Choctaw, and Tom Rowland, an Oglala. The Host Drum is 808NDNZ, an intertribal drum from Oahu, with guest drum Wild Horse from Southern California.

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