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Pow Wow Expected to Draw in Hundreds

[SPOKANE, Wash.] Next week, Native American tribes from around the region – and possibly some as far away as Canada and Montana – will gather for Spokane Falls Community College’s annual Pow Wow. It’s anticipated that hundreds of people will gather for this joyous celebration.
The event will be held on May 13 at SFCC’s Student Athletic Center, building 7, for two sessions. The first starts at 12:00 p.m. and the second at 6:00 p.m. There will be a break in the middle for a barbecue meal.
There have been around 26 previous Pow Wows at SFCC. This will be the first since 2019, since the college campus was shut down due to the pandemic the following year. The event is sponsored by the college’s Red Nations Club. Its current five members are organizing the Pow Wow, bringing in vendors and sending out invitations to different tribes.
Darlene Rickett, an advisor for the club and SFCC faculty in communication arts and modern languages, said the event draws in numerous regional tribes, including the Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Colville, Kalispel and Yakima tribes. It can even bring in the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes from Montana, Nez Perce Tribe from Idaho and Syilx Okanagan Nation on the border of the US and Canada. However, she emphasized that the event is for everyone.
“I want to stress that we like for people to come because it’s a way to share and for them to learn about some Native traditions – as well as contemporary things they do – so people know what’s going on with the tribes,” Rickett said.
Mary Ann Matheson, who has been part of the Colville and Coeur d’Alene reservations, thinks the Pow Wow would be valuable visibility for Indigenous peoples.
“I want the community to come and see what native people are doing, other than living on the reservation. We go to school like normal people,” Matheson said, laughing.
Traditional Pow Wows happen around every month or every other month, according to Matheson. They can be led by schools, tribes or organizations. The dances come from stories, events or dreams. Matheson said there are typically thousands of people at a Pow Wow, and the SFCC event will, most likely, feature around 200 people dancing together.
Tribal dance regalia is adorned with rhinestones, beads, shells and bells that jingle. Adults, children and even babies move to the music. Rickett emphasizes that people don’t have to know the dances in order to participate. She said the event’s host will guide the crowd.
“If you’re not sure what to do, then just listen to the MC,” Rickett said. “(Pow Wows) are traditionally a gathering for our Native people, but they want everyone to feel welcome. This is a way to share and educate.”
Along with the inter-tribal dancing – where everyone dances together – there will also be a Tiny Tots dance for children. A contest will be held for different categories and age groups. Vendors will be on-site selling items that include clothing, jewelry and artwork.
Both Rickett and Matheson say holding the Pow Wow at SFCC is important, since the campus is occupying Native land.
“Having a Pow Wow on our campus is a way to recognize the original Indigenous people here and to honor the traditions that they’ve had for so many years,” Rickett said.
“Culturally, it’s where all of the tribes would meet up for fishing and socializing,” Matheson said. “I want people to see that we’re still here and, especially, on this land. For this to still be happening, it’s amazing.”
For further information or to set up an interview, contact Strategic Communications Manager Rachel Román at or Communications Director Jeff Bunch at
CCS provides education and services in a six-county region of Eastern Washington, operates Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College and is the largest provider of Head Start and Early Childhood Education in the region. Each year, nearly 30,000 people – from infants to senior citizens – are provided educational services by CCS.

Posted On

5/4/2023 4:20:50 PM

Posted By

Rachel Román



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