Celebrate Native American culture with a Pow Wow.Enjoy dance and music

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Celebrate Native American culture with a Pow Wow.Enjoy dance and music

Photo: Courtesy of the Three Rivers Council American Indian Center

2021 Powwow Hosted by Three Rivers American Indian Center

For years, the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center has hosted pow wows in the Pittsburgh area to celebrate their culture and inspire young people and younger generations. Powwow head judge Chrysa Spangler says it started as a small gathering of locals. rice field. Today, about 1,500 to 2,000 people participate in Pow Wow each year, with many people participating in dance competitions, musicians and vendors.

Traditionally, a powwow is a sacred social event for Native American tribes to form alliances, meet, and share their culture. The first recorded powwow is from his late 1800s. Modern powwows are now typically public events for dancing, singing, and acknowledging Native American culture. They often include dance contests and are held across the country.

Pittsburgh native Michael Sims has been Pow Wow’s coordinator for the past 12 years. He said, “For us, Pow Wow is like a festival. We come together from all different tribes and share a dance and a song.” He says he still does pow wows. Both Sims and Spangler go to the Pow Wow each summer and fall. “Yeah, we got on a plane and went to a pow-wow,” Sims says of the pow-wow he did in Florida.

This year, the COTRAIC Pow Wow will be held at Hartwood Elementary/Dorseyville Middle School from Saturday, September 24th to Sunday, September 25th. At Pow Wow, you’ll experience not only a dance contest, but also food and market vendors. Spangler says they not only get vendors locally, but reach all the way to Canada. Sells handmade items, clothing, jewelry and food booths. According to Spangler, people always look forward to his food vendors, which feature traditional Native American dishes such as Buffalo Burgers, skillets, and chili.

COTRAIC pow wow will feature an all-ages competition in a variety of dance categories from 55+ to under 6. “I love seeing our young people come out and join their culture,” says Spangler. Sims also said she loves watching her kids perform and seeing what she learns from the older generation each year.

East of the Mississippi River, COTRAIC’s Pow Wow is one of the last events of the year, according to Sims. This means that different peoples and tribes will visit and participate in the contest. “It’s great to see our powwow thriving. We built this powwow in a place where dancers and tribes come from all over the world.” Sims travels all the way from Ontario, Canada. He says he pulled a dancer. Spangler said: It’s unique, and even if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’ll appreciate Regalia. She says that all regalia, the costumes worn by dancers, are individualized to that particular person or what they like.

In addition to the powwow, the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center serves the people of the greater Pittsburgh area and provides socio-economic development for Native American communities and those experiencing similar types of economic hardship. would like to promote Founded in 1969, it hosts a variety of programs. The largest programs are the Head Start and Early Head Start programs. These programs help low-income children through classrooms, educational centers, and local childcare partners. Chrisa Spangler recently spoke with the Speakers Bureau and local colleges and universities, including the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, on educating people about Native American health and perceptions of Native people.

click to enlarge
Celebrate Native American culture with a Pow Wow.Enjoy dance and music

Photo: Courtesy of the Three Rivers Council American Indian Center

2021 Powwow Hosted by Three Rivers American Indian Center

Spangler and Sims shared some tips pittsburgh city paper For first-time powwow visitors. “Just come and have fun,” says Spangler. An emcee leads the powwow, letting the audience know what is going on or who can participate. It’s definitely a family-friendly event, she says, and she’s not afraid to ask questions and join the conversation with the vendors, dancers, singers, and other attendees.

Sims recommends that if you do go out, stay as long as possible because a lot happens throughout the day. “We’ll start with an intertribal dance.” It’s a dance that anyone can participate in. Then watch the children’s contest in the afternoon and the adult contest in the evening. And there will be more contests on Sunday, but they will wrap up early in the day.

“It’s a great experience to experience the edge of another culture through dance, food, and music,” says Spangler.


Three Rivers Council 43rd Annual Pow Wow. September 24th (Sat) to September 25th (Sun). Hartwood Elementary School/Dorseyville Middle School. 3732 Saxonburg Blvd., Dorseyville. cotraic.org/pow-wow

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