DRUMS, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The heat did not stop hundreds of people from attending the annual Inter-tribal Native American Pow Wow.
Chief Lynn LittleWolf, organizer of the pow wow, says this pow wow is especially important this year. People are celebrating being able to be with each other after social distancing during the pandemic.
“All the pow wow’s in the surrounding area have been canceled. This gave our people an opportunity to get out,” said Chief Lynn LittleWolf, Wyoming Trail Council of Pennsylvania’s Native Americans.
Littlewolf says dancers have even come from out of state. He says traditionally during the winters Native Americans would move into smaller groups so it was easier to feed everyone. But in the spring everyone would come back together.
“They would hold a big festive event and that’s how pow wows actually started,” said Chief Lynn LittleWolf.
There are precautions in place to protect people from spreading the virus. There are social distancing signs around Camp Rotawanis.
“We have made our circle larger so that our dancers more separated. We have tried to get seating for the public that is more a little more separated than normal.”
Dancers are fenced off and people are not allowed to take pictures with the dancers in their regalia. Matthew White Eagle is a head dancer for this weekend’s pow wow. He says it’s an honor and tells us he feels emotional when he dances.
“Very uplifted. My spirit inside, it feels really good. I feel very.. Dancing on air. When i feel a very good song it makes me want to dance harder,” said Matthew White Eagle.
In addition to dancing, you can also find vendors selling traditional food and crafts. Organizers say it’s a way to teach the public about Native American heritage and history.
“We would like to educate them and get away from this whole stereotyping thing of Western Plains Indians. When people think of Native Americans, that’s what they see,” said Chief Lynn LittleWolf.
“It’s a blessing to celebrate my heritage my culture and to pass that down to my son and to my grandkids,” said Matthew White Eagle.
The pow wow will also be held Sunday until 5pm.