GALLIPOLIS — The 12th annual Harvest Moon Pow Wow will be returning to Gallipolis City Park Labor Day weekend to celebrate Native American heritage and organizers welcome the public to join.
Events are anticipated to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday and finish Sept. 3.
The Native American Education Association is a local group that started a little over a decade ago to help gain sponsorship for the Harvest Moon Pow Wow. They received sponsorship for the event from several groups including the Ohio Arts Council and local businesses. The group represents multiple tribes including Arapaho, Shawnee, Shoshone, Blackfoot, Cherokee and others.
“It’s both educational for the public, we want people to come and see. And it’s a celebration for the tribe members,” said Rona Stevens Roach, event organizer, to the Tribune at past events. “You’d be surprised. Most people who are from southeastern Ohio have a grandparent that was (of Native American) descent. Once you get into the genealogy, you just want to know more.”
All three days have typically featured dancing, drumming, and singing in a time-honored way. Some dances welcome public participation and some have included dancers with traditional regalia. The candy dance brings children into the ring where they dance for candy. Other dances display the heritage of the Native American people; the men’s traditional dance, Jingle Dress dance, and Grass Dancing.
Several vendors from across the country have been on hand as well in the past, selling items like pelts, pouches, braided and beaded items. Some vendors have also sold food following Native American recipes. A flint knapping demonstration is anticipated to be held as well.
“Gallia County has been good to the pow wow,” said Roach previously. “Hopefully we’re teaching some of the traditions. For us, the pow wow is like going to church and a family get-together and honoring our ancestors. The harvest moon was a special time of year because once the harvest was all in, we could go get together and visit and didn’t have to work as hard.”
Area veterans have often been honored at the event as well with a few also participating in the dances.
Thom Abrahamson, event participant, has said the Ohio Arts Council, the River Border Initiative and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have been supporters of the pow wow.