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Oneida prepares for 49th annual Pow Wow

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jun 29, 2023

ONEIDA (NBC 26) — Vendors are setting up shop and chairs are filling the grounds of the Norbert Hill Center in Oneida in preparation for one of the Oneida Nation's biggest weekends of the year: the annual Oneida Pow Wow.

This is the 49th year of the event, and Oneida Nation Chairman Tehassi Hill said it continues to be a "special tradition" that brings people together "from all over."

"People from tribes all across the country will show up," Hill said. "There's vendors from all across the country. I know our family has a food stand here, and we used to have a vendor next to us, a craft vendor from Albuquerque."

Hill said this year, the Pow Wow runs from June 30th to July 2nd, and preparations have been underway for a while. He said he expects around 10,000 people to show up.

The weekend includes traditional food, craft and gift vendors, Oneida smoke dancers and drummers performing traditional songs.

Cary Waubanascum said what she's looking forward to the most is watching the dancers, and she even came early with her family to set up chairs for a front row seat.

"This is one of the Pow Wows I come to every year," Waubanascum said. "I come to see family, friends, and honestly, when I walk through here, my kids always complain because they're like 'Mom, you visit everybody!'"

Hill said one specific preparation they've made this year is that they've added a cooling and clean air shelter for people to use if they need.

He said anyone is welcome to attend the weekend, and he encourages everyone to visit to experience a true community tradition.

"The vibrant culture of the American Indians across the country, being able to see the dancers and listen to the beautiful songs being sung by the drum groups," Hill said. He said that's what this event is all about.

The 49th annual Oneida Pow Wow takes place behind the Norbert Hill Center, located at N7210 Seminary Rd in Oneida.

Grand entry begins on Friday at 7 p.m., and tickets can be purchased upon arrival at the entrance of the grounds.