Teaching the traditions: Harvest Moon Pow Wow returns


OHIO VALLEY — The annual Harvest Moon Pow Wow will hold its eleventh annual celebration in Gallipolis City Park this Saturday and into Labor Day.

According to pow wow founder and member of Southeastern Ohio Native American Education Association Rona Stevens, the pow wow was originally held at the Gallia County Junior Fairgrounds before being moved to City Park.

“Gallia County has been good to the pow wow,” said Stevens. “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.”

According to co-event organizer Tom Abrahamson, the pow wow expects around 50 visiting dancers from various states including Michigan, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio.

“We’ll have buffalo burgers and grits and a lot of other food,” said Abrahamson. “There’s going to be a lot of things happening. We’ll have vendors displaying homemade jewelry, some of it silver. We’ve had a silver smith visit us in the past.”

Abrahamson 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.

“Every year we expect between one and three thousand people,” said Abrahamson. “It’s open to the whole community. People come from miles around.”

Abrahamson said VFW Post 4464 would be a leader in the pow wow’s opening ceremony and that many veterans in the area shared Native American heritage.

“You’d be surprised,” said Stevens. “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.”

“We’ll have a bunch of different types of dances like jingle dances and blanket dances,” said Abrahamson. “There will be dances for the kids and the drum will be playing. It’s a lot of fun for the young and older people. Everybody that wants to go out (and dance) should listen to the emcee. Sometimes it’s a dance for just military veterans and so on. We’ll also have storytellers.”

“It’s about not only celebrating Native American heritage, but the culture as well,” said Abrahamson.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

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Harvest Moon Pow Wow drum players lead dancers and the crowd in song in Gallipolis City Park at a previous gathering. Drum players are often up to four members but can even be as large as eight. Many regard the drum and song as central to pow wow events as they lead tempo and pitch for dancers to follow.
http://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2017/08/web1_DSCN4064.jpgHarvest Moon Pow Wow drum players lead dancers and the crowd in song in Gallipolis City Park at a previous gathering. Drum players are often up to four members but can even be as large as eight. Many regard the drum and song as central to pow wow events as they lead tempo and pitch for dancers to follow. Dean Wright | Daily Tribune

Dancers move to the beat of the drum at a previous Harvest Moon Pow Wow in Gallipolis City Park.
http://www.mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2017/08/web1_DSCN4051.jpgDancers move to the beat of the drum at a previous Harvest Moon Pow Wow in Gallipolis City Park. Dean Wright | Daily Tribune
Harvest Moon Pow Wow returns

By Dean Wright

deanwright@aimmediamidwest.com