Powwow honors traditions, culture


By Eric C. Deines
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Blazing heat and thunderstorms are tradition of the Frank Liske Park Powwow, said its organizers.

“This traditionally a hot event,” said Ken Hoyt, a committee member for the powwow. “We either have the blistering heat or we get torrential rain.”

Saturday offered a little bit of both for the powwow, which draws about 1,000 visitors over the two-day celebration. While the event was billed as the 17th Annual Frank Liske Park Powwow, organizers said the events has existed in some form for about 30 years.

Hoyt said participants at the powwow are made up of both Native American descendants and people like himself, who have a deep love of Native American culture.

“It’s a reason for to get together and celebrate,” said Hoyt, who first became interested in Native American culture as a youth in Boy Scouts. “It’s not political at all. It’s about Indian lore.”

The event is inter-tribal, with representation from tribes like Ponca, Kiowa, Cherokee and Mohawk and visitors from as far away Oklahoma.

Rosetta LeClaire, 81, of Oklahoma and an elder of the Ponca tribe, has made the journey to Frank Liske Park Powwow for the last eight years.

“I’m 81, and I drive all around the country promoting Native American culture,” said LeClaire.  “More and more of our white friends are wanting to come into our culture and the Indian way of life.”

She said she thinks interest in Native American culture has become popular because it offers a rich, tradition-filled heritage that European ancestry lacks in some areas.
Hoyt said LeClaire is known for her accurate weather predictions at the powwow.

“When Aunt Rosie says it ain’t going to rain, it ain’t going to rain,” Hoyt said.

LeClaire didn’t offer any predictions on Wednesday afternoon, as she was set to prepare traditional fry bread for the evening’s meal, which would also serve a marriage celebration.

The head singer for Saturday afternoon’s dances, Reggie Tucker, started off Saturday with a marriage in Frank Liske Park to his new wife Renae.

“It was a lovely, lovely wedding,” LeClaire said. “Not exactly the Indian way, but very nice.”

A program handed out at the powwow listed several rules of etiquette. And one item on list is “giveaways,” when items are given to show appreciation for the recipient.

“Our culture is sharing and caring,” LeClaire said. “It’s sharing material things — giving it away, giving it away.”

• Contact Eric C. Deines: 704-789-9140.

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