by Alexa Peters
Any Native American powwow performer, artisan, staffer, or organizer will tell you that a powwow — rich with intricately-beaded regalia, the dust of dancing moccasins, and the call and response of traditional songs — is a celebration of life itself; it’s a chance to honor the drum that beats in us all.
While nothing can stop the beat of this drum, the ways of celebration must adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic, which disproportionately affects Native Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 23 selected states, the number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases among American Indian and Alaskan Native people “was 3.5 times that of non-Hispanic whites.”
Continue reading Native Communities Seek to Keep the Spirit of the Powwow Alive During the Pandemic
by Alexa Peters
Celebrating its 49th year in 2020, Northwest Folklife Festival is no stranger to surprising situations. As managing director Reese Tanimura says, festival staff are regularly asked to respond to some unusual radio calls — be it a Scottish bagpipe competing with the Balkan choir on the Fisher Green Stage, a band of pirates that needs a better mic, or a farm animal that’s made its way into the crowd.
“The best radio call I ever got while working at the Northwest Folklife Festival was, ‘Uh, this is Tom from the Fountain Lawn Stage. I’m just radioing to let you know there is a chicken on my stage. I repeat, there is a live chicken on my stage,’” said Devon Leger, who booked for the festival until 2010.
Continue reading Folklife Continues to Connect Communities With Virtual Festival, “From Home to Home”