July 11--Wichita owes its name and most iconic landmark, the Keeper of the Plains sculpture, to the area's Native American heritage. But that culture is a thing of the present and future as well as the past -- a fact that will be on colorful display for all to enjoy and learn from at the fourth-annual American Indian Festival at Century II Expo Hall on Saturday and Sunday.
Activities include a large powwow, fine art market, youth crafts and other opportunities, and Indian tacos, meat pies and more will be available. Admission is $5 ($4 for elders and active military, $3 ages 6-16). Find a full schedule at TheIndianCenter.org.
When it comes to preserving the traditions of the diverse Indian culture and promoting understanding of it, the community is fortunate to have a year-round resource in the 38-year-old Mid-America All-Indian Center, which is unique in Kansas.
But as Mayor Carl Brewer said Tuesday in a proclamation declaring this American Indian Festival Weekend, this growing annual celebration "gives people from all walks of life the opportunity to come together to break down stereotypes and immerse themselves in the song, dance and history and culture of the American Indian people."
Patterned after Oklahoma City's long-running Red Earth Festival, Wichita's event already attracts thousands. Here's hoping it keeps going and growing, enlivening the midsummer in Wichita with the sounds and colors of this defining heritage while helping ensure its traditions pass from one generation to the next.
For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman
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