Newport Hosts 10th Annual Pow-Wow 

If you were driving down Elm Street in East Newport you probably would never guess what’s going on on the other side of the trees. It’s an old fashioned Native American Pow-Wow. “The Pow-Wow is a teaching, we come here to allow non-native people to understand our culture and what we believe in,” says Micheal Paczensny. For Paczensny this is just 1 of 27 Pow-Wow’s he’ll attend this year. He’s the head firekeeper here. “Our sacred fire burns from the time we start the Pow-Wow, which is 6:00 Friday morning, and it goes until Monday night at 5:00, then we take the ashes from this fire and take it with us to the next Pow-Wow.”Paczensy says it’s an opportunity to not only celebrate his heritage, but also help people to better understand what being native american is all about. “It’s what you have in here that makes you Native American, and yourself, you were born in the United States, you’re Native American as far as we’re concerned, as long as you come and honor our traditions we are going to honor you.”Ellie Luce has been organizing this Pow-Wow for the past 10 years and she says interest has grown. “It’s taken off,” says Luce, “people are coming through and seeing that it’s not just for Native Americans, they’re seeing what we’re doing.” She says people are a little less apprehensive then they used to be. “A lot of people were a little skiddish at first to come because they didn’t know if it was a religion or what it was and it’s not and we don’t preach nothing here you know you can be yourself.”In fact it’s an opportunity for everyone to learn something new and useful. “With us if you see something that you like and you want to know how to make it we’ll tell you and allow you the chance to pick your craft.” Robert Kunnaway Turner has been making and selling flutes to sell at Pow-Wow’s and he says he’s just excited people want to learn about his culture. “So our culture is getting out there and it makes my heart feel good that finally, what we call the washee, the white people are coming to learn about us.”