A kaleidoscope of color, sonorous chants and a thunderous percussion enlivened the overcast skies and whipping winds Saturday at
"It's beautiful," said organizer
Native Americans representing dozens of tribes across the
The itinerary Saturday included gourd dancing, a celebration originated by the Kiowa tribe of the Great Plains; a grand entry dance commemorating Native American military veterans; a crowning of this year's powwow princess; and a Poly Groove dance performed by a local Polynesian dance troupe.
Spectators munched on frybread, a staple created by the Navajo tribe from flour, sugar, salt and lard given to them by the U.S. government during a forced relocation.
"Frybread has become authentic to urban natives," Cummings said.
Cummings said the powwow differs from sacred native events in that it is an open, annual effort to continue and share Native American cultures with the public.
While the event focused on celebration, there were acknowledgments of the ongoing controversy surrounding the
The event's emcee,
"The team name alludes to a savage, brutal custom," Phillips said. "It originated as a term the British used in the 1700s for the bounty they would pay for an Indian scalp."
Most of the daylong event focused on the beauty and dynamism of native cultures that originated on the North American continent.
"The powwow is a powerful demonstration that Indian country is still here in Richmond," said Native American activist Mike "Raccoon Eyes" Kinney.
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