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Oneida Pow Wow returns for 50th anniversary

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 27, 2024

ONEIDA (NBC 26) — The Oneida Pow Wow will have about 50 vendors and multiple traditional dance performances. The three-day event begins Friday at 11:15 a.m.

  • Meet a vendor who traveled hundreds of miles to return to the Oneida Pow Wow
  • More than $90,000 in prize money is available for Native dancers participating in competitions throughout the weekend
  • A weekend pass for the event costs $15

Bill Brien is ready to sell his clothes and art at the Oneida Nation Pow Wow. He runs his business, Bountiful Rei's, in honor of his wife who died after battling breast cancer.

"I found art as a way to let out my own emotions as a guy," Brien said. "When we see things, we want to fix things, but you can't fix cancer, [I] couldn't fix my wife, and so, I turned to art."

Hailing from North Dakota, he is excited to be back in northeast Wisconsin for the 50th anniversary of the Pow Wow.

"It's become a favorite of mine," Brien said. "I was here once before, the people were amazing. Hospitality was second to none, and that really resonated with me."

Oneida Nation Marketing and Tourism Director Michelle Danforth Anderson says they're expecting about 50 vendors this year and last year 10,000 people attended.

"The Oneida Pow Wow actually started more than 50 years ago, it actually started back in the early 1900s," Danforth Anderson said. "However, we're celebrating the 50th annual Pow Wow on the Norbert Hill grounds, which is the grounds that we're standing on today."

She says more than $90,000 in prize money is available for Native dancers competing at the event.

"For me, it's very nostalgic because I've been coming here since I was a little kid," Danforth Anderson said. "That's really what this all means is it's about family and friends and boy, it's a wonderful community event."

Danforth Anderson says the Pow Wow is a tradition the Oneida adopted from other Native tribes.

This year, in addition to the returning performers, food and crafts there is a newly built Pow Wow Pavillion.

"The pow wow is a celebration of life, a celebration of culture," Brien said.

A weekend pass for the Pow Wow costs $15 and one-day passes cost $8. People 62 years of age and older can enter for free.

The pow wow begins at 11:15 a.m. Friday and lasts through Sunday.