Honor and preserve Native traditions at this year's Austin Powwow —
December 16, 2017

Honor and preserve Native traditions at this year’s Austin Powwow

Austin Powwow

The 26th annual Austin Powwow, an event by Great Promise for American Indians, is the largest single-day Native American Powwow in the country. In addition to a traditional Powwow with dance contests, Native drumming, and singing, the event features outdoor storytelling and indigenous music, a Native American arts and crafts fair, and Native American food. The event aims to honor and preserve traditions of the past and share them with the Native community and the public. The 2017 day-long event will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. at the Travis County Exposition Center.

This family-oriented event hosts over 30,000 visitors annually and is one of the largest one-day Powwows in the nation. More than 80 tribes from North and South America are represented in this day full of culture and tradition, featuring over 300 dancers, singers and artisans from across the U.S. and Canada. With $25,000 in cash prizes, dancers are welcome to participate in any of the four categories–adult, teen, junior and  tiny tots.

The Native American Market offers arts and crafts, food and more through over 100 vendor spaces. Strict care is taken to ensure that the goods being sold as Indian-made are just that–authentic Indian arts and crafts. In the majority of the booths, event attendees will be speaking directly to the artisan, or a member of his or her family. Shop the Indian Market from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For those looking for a fresh eating experience, the Austin Powwow’s food court allows visitors to sample a wide range of authentic American Indian foods.  All vendors serve at least one traditional dish, and some offer many more.  There will be a convenient seating area right next to the vendor’s booths, and attendees will get to enjoy a variety of foods from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Austin Powwow is hosted by Great Promise for American Indians, a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about Native American culture. Great Promise for American Indians is the umbrella organization for several programs and groups dedicated to presenting the rich traditions of Native American culture to the community. The Austin Powwow and Heritage Festival is the organization’s primary event for reaching out to the Native and non-Native communities.

Great Promise for American Indians hosts several year-round programs and events. Red Voices in the Schools, for instance, brings Indian artists to schools and classrooms to explain and present the traditions of all American Indians, historic and modern. Programs are available to schools and community centers and organizations and include drum groups with dancers, historic programs with exhibits and audio-visual presentations, speakers and panel discussions.

Culture Night is a time for the community to gather, eat, and enjoy each other’s company as they learn more about Native American Culture. The Culture Night Craft Workshop is hosted by local artist and dancer Nan Blassingame (Southern Cheyenne), who provides expert help and guidance for Native American craft projects. Each month will feature a new craft focus, but questions and other projects are also welcome. The community is invited to join in this program every fourth Wednesday of the month from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The Texas State Legislature has named the last Friday in September as American Indian Heritage

Day, which recognizes the historic, cultural, and social contributions American Indian communities and leaders have made to the state. Each year, Great Promise For American Indians partners with the Bullock Texas State History Museum to celebrate this important event.

General Admission tickets for the Austin Powwow are $5. For volunteer opportunities and more information, visit austinpowwow.net.

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