Annual Thunderbird Pow Wow Dance Competition Draws Thousands
A three day event in Queens brought dozens of Native American tribes together, along with thousands of visitors who came to watch their tribal dances. NY1's Lindsay Tuchman takes us to the 39th annual Thunderbird Pow Wow.
Two and half year old Callan Tayac comes from a long line of Native American chiefs of the Piscataway tribe.
On Saturday, Callan danced with his father, Naiche Tayac, who is second in line for chief after his own father.
"You're out there, you’re telling a story about being in battle and you're telling about what happened, maybe what you did on the hunt,” the elder Tayac said.
This storytelling through dance took place at the 39th annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow Wow at the Queens County Farm Museum.
"It creates traditions,” Tayac added. “It creates culture and it's something we need to keep alive, if not it will just die."
The event featured more than 40 Native-American nations as well as nearly 180 performers competing in inter-tribal dance contests.
Another one of those dancers was managing committee member Marie Ponce.
"It allows people who are Native-American, but they may be shy, or maybe don't look like the television natives and so they start to look and see how we're all really connected,” she said.
The event was a musical, colorful and energetic experience; and not just for those of Native-American descent.
"I think it's beautiful,” Tarika James of Laurelton said. “I think it's important to know about your own history and your own past and by seeing how other people express their past it helps my children to express their past."
Around 3,000 people were expected to attend each day of the weekend-long event and half of the proceeds from admissions go towards scholarships for Native Americans.
"I think it's evident that it's a terrific cultural event for Queens,” Gary Mitchell, director of operations of Queens County Farm Museum said. “For anyone to really honor the Native American contributions to the society and culture."