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Generations of families and friends gather at 48th annual Oneida Pow Wow

The Oneida Pow Wow is back for the first time in three years
Posted at 8:52 PM, Jul 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-03 21:53:05-04

ONEIDA — The Oneida pow wow is a tradition that has been in the community for decades. This weekend was the 48th annual pow wow and the first since 2019 due to the pandemic.

Michelle Danforth-Anderson, the director of tourism for Oneida, says that layoff is part of what makes this year's pow wow extra special.

"It has been three summers since we've been able to get together and a lot of people actually come together and their families come together for this particular weekend out of the year," said Danforth-Anderson.

Pow wows are held on reservations across the United States and Canada. According to Oneida artist Judith L. Jourdan, the traditional gathering started in the plains states.

"A pow wow is basically just a gathering of native nations. They go all over the United States and some into Canada and it's just a way of keeping touch with different families and extended families," said Jourdan.

Jourdan has been attending the Oneida Pow Wow since it began more than 50 years ago.

Now she attends and sells her artwork. She creates artwork that she makes year round preparing for pow wows and other native art fests.

She spends most of her time doing intricate bead art, dream-catchers, drawings, and even a book. Her favorite type of art is something she learned from her grandmother.

"I would sit by her feet basically when she was making them. She was legally blind at the time so she couldn't see the colors but she could still feel how to maneuver the fabric," said Jourdan.

The final day of the pow wow also included a variety of dance competitions and a special ceremony to honor the veterans in the Oneida community.