Gathering of the Tribes powwow presents drum dance group

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Fancy dancing, hoop dancing and Thanksgiving dinner are planned for the Gathering of the Tribes Mini Pow Wow this week.

Performers from New Mexico, Washington and Alaska will dance and dine together Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The event, upstairs in the Elk's Lodge ballroom, is open to all.

Black Eagle, a drum and dance group from Jemez Pueblo, N.M., will join in grass dances, jingle dances and other traditional dances. The dancers also will join the Alaskans for Thanksgiving dinner.

"They'll be away from their families," said Garfield Katasse of the Juneau Pow Wow Club. "They want to try traditional Alaska Native food, plus we're going to put out a turkey dinner, and anyone can bring a hot or cold dish to share."

Katasse said all events Thanksgiving Day are free. Doors open at noon and events last until 6 p.m.

Saturday the tables turn and Black Eagle will offer a taste of New Mexico.

"They're actually bringing up some elders, and the elders are going to make some pueblo food," Katasse said. "They're going to share it on Saturday, so that's going to be really awesome. They're bringing up a total of 16 people."

The pow wow officially starts at 6 p.m. Friday and runs until midnight, and picks up again Saturday at 10 a.m. and lasts until 10 p.m. Admission is $10 each day. In addition to dancing and drumming, there will be a dozen craft and art tables, fry bread and Indian tacos.

Yakima hoop dancer Brycene Neaman from Washington will play flute and dance solo. He'll also dance with his group, the Northwest Medicine Horse Singers, and 16 members of the group will be in Juneau.

Mount Edgecumbe High School in Sitka is home to Yupik and Athabaskan students from Northern and Western Alaska. They bring their traditional dances to Southeast, and the Gathering of the Tribes brings them to Juneau this week.

"They'll do an Eskimo Olympic exhibition too, athletic feats," Katasse said.

Katasse said the Pow Wow Club always includes at least one blanket dance at pow wows to raise money for a worthy cause. A blanket is spread out and as the dance progresses people put money on the blanket. The funds will be used to buy gloves, hats, socks and scarves for the homeless in Juneau.

Admission to the pow wow is $10. Door prizes will be offered each hour. Katasse said the performance schedule will be relaxed.

"It'll be nonstop, but we're not going to push it or hurry it," he said.

Katasse said the club is planning for two big events next year. A pow wow will be held during the Gold Medal basketball tournament in March, with dance groups from Nevada and California joining the many Southeast Alaskans in Juneau that week.

Katasse said another pow wow planned for July will be the biggest the Juneau club has put on. The Mankillers, a nationally known all-woman drum group from California, will be featured. The event will coincide with a specialty theme cruise, a pow wow cruise to Alaska, probably on Celebrity Cruises. Katasse said about 250 drummers and dancers from groups around the country are expected to participate in the cruise, and the ship will be in Juneau on July 6.

This will be the seventh year for the Pow Wow Cruise and the first time the cruise has included Alaska. Dream Cruises of Southern California is organizing the cruise. Dave Underwood of Dream Cruises said it will include top national Native American entertainers, such as Joanne Shenandoah, and the July pow wow may include Juneau performances.

Riley Woodford can be reached at

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