The Native American Festival and Pow-Wow is the largest Native American gathering in the state of Georgia and it focuses on the sharing and the importance of the almost lost native culture in honor of Native American Heritage Month.
Held at Stone Mountain Park, this festival is open to the public and attracts thousands of people from across the country every year who are either celebrating their heritage or who are eager to learn more about the culture through music, dancing, crafts and artifacts, traditional cooking and storytelling. This four-day event is one of the few ways that different Native American communities can come together and honor their cultures.
“People think it’s like a show, but it is not a show. What this event is, is people coming together in way of expressing their inner self, their culture,” said John Standingdeer of the Native American Pow-Wow committee.
At the event, one will see that most of the individuals present are in traditional native wear from head to toe. The Pow-Wow also contained a constant beat of drumming in the air, which is what you would see people dancing to throughout the event. Visitors got the chance to experience the important role of dancing, drumming and music in Native American Culture and also got to witness tribal dance and drumming competitions.
“When we are dancing, we touch the ground with each beat,” said Standingdeer. “We’re matching that beat. We become one in the dance and that is the sacredness that people don’t seem to understand and don’t really think about.”
Aside from the musical aspects of the Pow-Wow Festival, guests get the opportunity to learn traditional and ancient skills such as open fire cooking, pottery, flintknapping (the shaping of a flint stone to produce stone tools or to produce stones for building walls and flushwork decoration), and bow making. There was also an area where people were seen exploring and crawling in and out of tipis in order to get the feel of what it may have been like to live in one.
In addition, throughout the festival in the park, many small market-like booths were set up where Native American and Native American inspired artists and craftsmen have their products for sale and even demonstrate the skills and steps that it took to make their products.
The Native American Festival and Pow-Wow is an amazing experience not only for those who are of native culture but also for those who want to know more about the culture and want to participate in something spectacular. It is one of the few ways that native people come together at large and celebrate their heritage.