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PCC Winter Powwow a community event

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It doesn’t just build community among local Native Americans, but the Portland community as a whole. That is what the ninth annual Portland Community College Traditional Winter Powwow (Wacipi) will attempt to accomplish this January at PCC.

The Winter Powwow, which attracts more than 1,000 visitors each year, runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, in the HT Building at the Sylvania Campus, 12000 S.W. 49th Ave. The event is free and open to the public. Parking also is free.

Thanks to a grant from Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC), the powwow will feature the artist Andrew “One’ staa” Morrison of the Haida and Apache nations. He will conduct a mural art demonstration and exhibit is work from 10 a.m. to noon. A silent auction of works by other Native artists runs from 4 to 8 p.m. at the powwow.

“It’s a really important community event,” said student coordinator Crystal Rogers, who is a member of the Tlingit Tribe in Northwest Alaska. “I think it is a great opportunity for Native Americans and the community to enjoy a cultural event. It shows what it means to be Native American because each group represented will have their own heritage and backgrounds on display. It’s an opportunity for the community to come and enjoy a rich cultural event.”

The main staples of the event include grand entries at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., a college fair from noon to 4 p.m. and community dinner at 5:30 p.m. The powwow will feature master of ceremonies David West (Potawatomi, Miami and Kickapoo nations), arena director Ed Goodell (Confederated Tribes of Siletz), Northwest Indian Veterans Association Color Guard, Native American merchandise vendors, and Native American food like fry bread and tacos.

Brooke Gondara, division dean for Social Sciences, Business and Real Estate, says the Winter Powwow is a way to build community thanks to partnerships between Portland Community College, the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest (NARA) and the Northwest Regional Education Service District Title VII.

“NARA is a huge partner,” Gondara said. “They support the powwow’s community meal through their donation and understand the importance of culture. The ESD supports Indian education programs in Hillsboro. Native students who come through their pipeline are potential students for us and, thanks to the powwow, they get a chance to explore the possibility of educational change in their lives.”

For more information about the powwow, call the Multicultural Center at (503) 977-4112.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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