Sedalia residents are invited to learn about Native American heritage this weekend during the 23rd annual Robert Woolery Sr. Memorial Pow Wow, which starts today.
According to Bob Woolery, Robert’s son, the Pow Wow started in 1990 as part of the Liberty Center Arts Council’s Rawhide days.
“They needed Indians to take part and we offered to help,” he said. “As the years went on, Rawhide Days started to decline a little and we decided to start a dedicated Pow Wow, named in honor of my late father.”
This weekend will see traditional tribal dancing as well as chants and drumming. Vendors will also be on hand and participants will have opportunities to enjoy Indian fry bread and other traditional Native American food. The highlight of the weekend however, will be the grand entry, Woolery said.
“This will be an inter-tribal Pow Wow, with people representing a wide variety of Native American nations,” Woolery said. “During the Grand Entry, everyone will line up and dance. It’s always a pretty amazing thing to see everyone dancing together.”
Woolery said dancers from all over the Midwest region, including Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, will participate and the Pow Wow was a good opportunity for local residents to learn more about the Native American history and culture.
“Something interesting about Indians: We know our historical lineage back for hundreds of years; not a lot of people can say the same,” he said. “The Pow Wow is always a great opportunity to pass on the culture, especially to younger (Native Americans) who may not know all the traditional ways,. It’s nice to be able to celebrate our history.”
Woolery said he was hoping for a big crowd this weekend and encouraged families to attend.
“Indians aren’t like they’re depicted on TV or in the movies,” he said. “We hope that everyone can come out and see what real Indians are like, how we act and why dancing is so important to us.”
The Pow Wow will start at 7 p.m. today. Saturday will see a Gourd Dance at 1 p.m., inter-tribal dancing from 3 to 5 p.m. and the grand entry at 7 p.m. Dancing will also take place at 1 p.m. Sunday.