Pahrump Powwow showcases Native American culture

NOTNovember is National Native American Heritage Month and there couldn’t be a better time to celebrate the vibrant culture of the country’s many Native American tribes.

Every year in the Pahrump Valley, November welcomes the arrival of the Pahrump Intertribal Social Powwow, a gathering of community and tribal members from a wide range of Native American nations, all coming together to share the rich history and traditions of the first peoples of America. . Taking place last weekend, Friday November 19th to Sunday November 21st, at Petrack Park, the Pahrump Social Powwow was a huge success, with event organizers raving about the outcome and everyone is already buzzing with excitement. enthusiastic about the return of the event. in 2022.

“We were truly blessed with such great weather this year,” exclaimed Pahrump Powwow committee member Paula Elefante when all was said and done. “Over the years we’ve had it all, from hot and cold to windy, rainy and even a little snowy, but the weather this year was perfect.”

Elefante said the total turnout was estimated at over 1,000, noting, “The turnout was great and people lined up in six or seven to watch the dancers.”

Indeed, the Pahrump Valley Times witnessed this same scene on Saturday afternoon, with a crowd of attendees completely encircling the dance area, some seated on bleachers, others on their own camp chairs and some letting themselves go. even fall on the floor for the performances. The audience’s appreciation for the cultural outpouring was evident as people chatted among themselves, noting the incredible array of insignia, the grace of the dancers themselves, and the talent of the northern and southern drums beating the beats while intertwining their strong voices. with the songs of their people.

There were many different types of dancing for the patrons, Elefante explaining, “The different styles of dancing at the Powwow started with the gourd dancers, it was the Native American veterans, then there was the Aztec, the fantasy, the traditional, grass, Jingle Dancers in costume and fancy shawls. Members of many different tribes were present at the powwow, including Navajo, Sioux, Cherokee, Onondaga, Ojibwa, Apache, Shoshone, San Luiseno, Chumash, Nez Pierce, Apache Mescalero, Sac and Fox, Paiute and Ute, to name a few. to name a few. ”

In addition to all the dance performances, there were also competitions for the youngest members of the tribe, with three divisions, Teen Girls and Teen Boys ages 13-17, and Junior Boys and Girls ages 6-12. years, as well as Tiny Tots, who competed in a variety of different dance styles. Even the participants themselves got to try out a few moves when they were invited into the circle to dance.

“The audience really enjoyed participating in the round dance and the snake dance with the Aztec dancers and this year we had a candy dance for all the children. It’s like musical chairs, with the children who dance around the circle as the drum beats and when the drum stops they all jostle for candy,” Elefante said with obvious delight. “We had so many people stop by the booth at the Powwow to let us know how much they enjoyed the Powwow and that they will be returning next year with their family.”

There were also dozens of craft vendors at the powwow this year, offering everything from jewelry, pottery and art to blankets and jackets. There were also eight food vendors in total at the venue, including two selling the ever-popular Indian fry bread and Indian tacos, and a new corn vendor, each of which did steady business throughout the event. “All the vendors did well, and the food vendors were pretty much out of food by the end of Sunday,” Elefante remarked.

Storytelling was a big draw for Powwow patrons over the weekend, with Powwow committee member Sue Zink taking on the role of official storyteller. “The stories shared in the teepee were both oral and read from books,” Zink detailed. “I recited traditional oral histories like the loan of the serpent that saved the Sioux. I also read books that I had collected while living on the Navajo reservation. These include: Monster Slayer, Coyote Tales, When Clay Sings, The Flute Player, Tato (from Hawaii) Alaska Nights and more. People were also encouraged to read the books for themselves. These books and stories help non-natives learn about the culture of many different native tribes.

Zink also offered his knowledge to educate attendees about other aspects of Native American culture and life, explaining, “There was also a workbook I prepared to help people identify their spirit animal by date. of birth and how their totem animal helps them. People really liked the maps which helped them find the tribes and homelands of our natives. The map of reserves in the United States was an eye-opener for many. Finally, adults and children loved making cards using stamps of symbols used in ancient stone messages, known today as petroglyphs and found in the mountains surrounding our valley.

Overall, Elefante and his fellow committee members were very pleased with the success of the event and those who made the time to visit the park this weekend were in abundance with their positive comments on the Facebook page of Pahrump Social Powwow, something that brings extra satisfaction with every new comment.

In closing, Elefante made sure to offer her appreciation to everyone who worked so hard to bring the powwow to Pahrump this year.

“I would like to thank this committee and the volunteers John, Ron, Manny, Pete, Bill, Jim, Kevin, Matthew, Jonathon, Bill, Tom, Jenna, Doris, Rose, Donna, Sue, Gayle, Barbara, Carlene, Laurie, Reva, Lorraine, Michelle and Trinity have all done an amazing job to make this year’s powwow the success it has been. I couldn’t do it without these amazing people,” Elefante said. “Also, we would like to thank our sponsors because without their support we could not do this. Thanks to Pahrump Tourism, US Bank, Dolan Ranch LLC., VEA, Crazy Calico, Quality Signs, Tin Hafen and Janet McJunkin, the Angeflami Family, Riveria Family, Hannah Family, Galbraith Family, Elefante Family, Pahrump Nevada Genealogical Society, and Pahrump Springs NSDAR Chapter.

Elefante encourages everyone to mark their calendars for next year’s event, which is scheduled for November 18-20, 2022 at Petrack Park.

For more information on the Pahrump Intertribal Social Powwow, email [email protected]

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at [email protected]

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