Pow-wow a visual, cultural treat

In fluid motion, dancers showcased Native American heritage at the Nesika Illahee (Our Place) Pow-Wow hosted by the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. (Photo by Theresa Barnes)

SILETZ — Filled with vibrant colors, enchanting drumming, fluid movements, detailed beading and hairstyles and meaningful regalia, the annual Nesika Illahee Pow-Wow illuminated every “wow” aspect of a successful celebration.

The celebration hosted by the Confederate Tribes of Siletz Indians took place this past weekend from Friday through Sunday.

The contagious and beautiful spirit of indigenous dancers inspired observers to go home and research every detail of the dance participants’ traditional garments, some of which have been handed down through several generations.

“I’m really interested to find out what all the different aspects of their regalia means,” said Cambria Ann, an active observer in the crowd.

Across the span of three days, there were several categories in the dance competitions as well as dances dedicated to honoring aspects of Native culture. One of these included an emotive dance devoted to the transformation from a boy to a man. Another included indigenous women and young girls who danced to honor fellow indigenous females affected by sexual assault and trafficking.

“It was an incredibly emotional experience to watch these young girls and women move so rhythmically to such a devastating tragedy that affects so many Natives,” said Carolyn Wilson an attendee who came to experience her first pow-wow. A line of about 20 people at a time filled the “Best on the Rez” food tent that served fry bread topped with seasoned ground beef, beans, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream while many others circulated through dozens of tents spread across the reservation. The vendors carried everything from beaded and feathered dream catchers to authentically-made jewelry and accessories.

The next pow-wow will be in November at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort.

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