ANDERSON, Ind. — A unique opportunity to explore Native American traditions and culture comes to Madison County this weekend as the 10th annual Andersontown Powwow and Indian market takes over in Athletic Park.
The popular event presents a multi-faceted immersive experience including the foods, music, regalia, lifestyles, art, storytelling, dancing and history of Native American traditions.
“It’s a spectator powwow. There’s a lot of things for visitors to do,” said organizer Debbie Webb.
Last year’s powwow drew about 4,000 visitors to Anderson in what has become one of the largest events of its type in Indiana. The powwow takes place in Athletic Park along the White River near the site of the original Delaware Indian settlement of KikthaWeNund, also known as Chief Anderson.
“We turn it into a village that weekend,” said Webb. Several descendants of KikthaWeNund come to Anderson every year to take part in the event. “They have been involved from the beginning.”
Activities kick off both Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. with a full slate of experiences to explore. Fun, educational activities abound with the tipi display, children’s activities, an expanded Woodland Indians camp, and education tent with birds of prey all kicking off at once. The Indian Market with numerous vendors also opens at 11 a.m. The activities run throughout the weekend.
The Woodland Indians camp takes visitors 200 years back in time with lots of hands-on activities including games and ways of life. Visitors may even want to try their hand at throwing a tomahawk.
Webb noted that a feast will be prepared, and visitors will have the opportunity to sample all kinds of foods the Delaware would have eaten. That might include dishes like buffalo meat, eel, fish mussels, corn bread and nut pudding.
“The Delaware would celebrate by putting out the welcome mat,” said Webb.
Visitors will also want to check out the tipi display, including stepping across country and time as they enter a replica 1890’s Plains tipi.
“There’s just something magical about the tipi,” said Webb.
At noon, the arena becomes the focal point as Douglas Blue Feather appears in concert featuring the Native American flute. Then, at 1 p.m., the grand entry kicks off several hours of exhibition and open dancing. Drummers and dancers in native regalia from all over Indiana will take part.
Throughout the event numerous Indian Market vendors will offer native and cultural items, most of them handmade.
“There’s a vast array of things to choose from,” said Webb.
“The Indian Market will showcase some really fine artists,” said Webb. Among the items will be the pottery of Mel Cornshucker, the intricate beadwork of Katrina Mitten and jewelry by Nelson Garcia.
Norris Chee who will not only bring his artwork to the Indian Market, but will also present the fascinating story of the Navajo Code Talkers – young Navajos who developed and implemented a secret code used on the battlefields during World War II.
Kids can get in on art activities as well, even as they learn about Native American culture. They can try their hand at making pinch pots, rainsticks or Navajo sand painting.
“Kids have something to learn and something to take home,” said Webb.
On Saturday at 7 p.m., the arena is once again the main scene with the grand entry, drumming and dancing, culminating in the 9:30 p.m. stomp dance.
Events run through 4 p.m. Sunday, with something for every member of the family. Parking is free, admission is $6, free for kids 8 and under.
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