By Laurelle Walsh
For those whose Methow Valley ancestry extends back centuries, and for those whose love of the valley is deeply felt, the Heart of the Methow Powwow is a day of remembrance, reconciliation and cultural sharing.
The 12th annual powwow takes place on Saturday (Aug. 16) from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on the TwispWorks campus at the corner of Highway 20 and Glover Street in Twisp.
The event is free, and donations to help defray costs will be accepted at the evening meal.
The Heart of the Methow Powwow is one day only this year, down from the three-day event of past years, according to founder and organizer Carolyn Schmekel.
“Many members of the original powwow committee have passed on, and it is difficult to establish cross-cultural relationships with the younger generation,” Schmekel said. “It takes a lot to set it up and put it together, and frankly, some of us are getting tired.“
Nonetheless, organizers have arranged a full day of activities designed to foster relationship building, Schmekel said. “It is a traditional powwow, as opposed to a form of entertainment. The powwow is a chance for people to sit down and form relationships.”
Schmeckel reminds attendees that the powwow schedule is fluid, and encourages non-Indians to slow down and allow the building of “slow relationships.”
“It’s a whole different way of marking time,” she said. “It is ready when the time is right. You can’t rush things.”
The day starts with native crafts from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Ruth Brown, Holly Womack and Mary Ann Larson will lead children – and the young at heart – through the steps of making talking sticks and feather earrings, leather painting, flute making and stone point knapping. “We want to teach the kids how to do things the traditional way,” said Larson.
The Methow Valley Interpretive Center will be open all day with exhibits and native art on display.
“We want to begin to introduce native artisans to TwispWorks,” said Schmekel. “Our goal is to eventually have native artists show their work in the Methow Valley.”
Storyteller Lizzie LaVeck will tell tales in the pit house, and Ray LaVeck and Spencer Martin will share the meaning of the powwow and the history of reconciliation in the valley, starting at noon.
Grover Topaum will emcee the afternoon events, which include drumming and dancing on the lawn from 1-5 p.m.
A community meal will be shared from 5-7 p.m. Renee Sutherland has taken over the traditional cooking and food preparation, after training under Jerry Runyan, who passed away last fall, Schmekel said. Salmon and venison provided by the Colville Tribe will be served, along with roasted corn and fry bread. Guests are encouraged to bring a potluck dish to share.
An ice cream social will wrap up the meal.
Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the day; winners will be announced at the community meal. Winners must be present to win prizes, which include traditional ribbon shirts, shawls, original art work and a hand-knapped obsidian knife.
For more information call Schmekel at 997-4904.