The biggest powwow in the Portland area is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The Portland Community College Traditional Winter Powwow (Wacipi) will feature Native American dancing, drumming, food and a multitude of festivities.
The Winter Powwow, which attracts more than 1,000 visitors each year, runs from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24, in the HT Building gymnasium, Sylvania Campus, 12000 S.W. 49th Ave. Grand entries are at 1 and 7 p.m. Dinner will be at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Parking also is free.
Barbara Gladue, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, is a student who has volunteered for the powwow the last three years. Her primary task has been to coordinate the dinner of buffalo stew and fry bread for the attendees.
“We come together as the Native Americans once did to celebrate the warriors’ return from a hunt, a battle or to gather with other tribes,” said Gladue, who wants to specialize in tribal law. “We now celebrate and share the celebration with all nations in order to honor those traditional ways.”
The powwow is just one of many things Gladue, fellow Multicultural Center student coordinator Crystal Rogers, club advisor Brooke Gondara (dean of the Social Science Division at Sylvania) and many Native American students are doing to help build support for Native Americans. In addition to overseeing PCC’s Native American Club. Members will assist Gladue in cooking the fry bread, which is North Cheyenne bread that is provided by Fry Bread Man.
“The club’s purpose is to give our members the resources they need in order to have the best possible journey here at PCC, including finding available scholarships for Native American students, and to give our club members a place to come together and talk about upcoming opportunities,” Gladue said.
Gladue, an associate of arts transfer student, is already working on partnerships with local nonprofit organizations, Native American Indian Youth Teenagers, Native American Rehabilitation Association, Portland State University’s Native American Studies program and building a database of scholarships offered to Native American students.
“We want to make their college experience at PCC the best it can be and have the best information on learning here,” she said. “We want to cover all bases.”
That includes the powwow, where students will get the opportunity to take part in one of the most important events of their culture. Besides dancing and drumming, the powwow will feature master of ceremonies Bob Tom of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz and Grand Ronde, whip man Ed Goodell (Confederated Tribes of Siletz), Northwest Indian Veterans Association Color Guard, numerous merchandise vendors, and fry bread and tacos by Fry Bread Man.
For additional information, call the Multicultural Center at (503) 977-4112.