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Last powwow held this weekend in State College

By: Lauren Hensley

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.-- Culture, tradition and honor: according to organizers, these are the main reasons behind the New Faces of an Ancient People Powwow.  The 11th year of the event but according to organizers it will be its last.

This is the last powwow and I am very sad to see it going, organizer John Sanchez said.

By most accounts the event would be deemed a success, having: an estimated 6,000 people attend the two-day celebration every year, 150 dancers on the floor and no shortage of funding to support the event; But Sanchez says he can't do this event alone and is looking to retire. Sanchez said the problem is, he doesnt know of any other American Indian faculty member at Penn State and thinks someone of that descent must take over the program.

I don't know who to pass the baton to. Somebody said, 'Does it really take an American Indian to do this. Well, in my opinion, for a traditional powwow, you must know the traditions, so probably, yes, Sanchez said.

For dancer David White Buffalo, the event is a family affair.

I started back in 1983, I started singing and dancing.  The outfit that I am wearing right now I made in high school, he said.

He came to the powwow with his wife, siblings, grandkids nieces and nephews--  He said his family is very upset to learn it could be the last powwow .

We have some dancers who drove about 16 hours to get here from the northern part of Canada and that says something about the powwow for sure, but I think because they are so few traditional powwows left that they are willing, that our people are willing to drive as long and as far as it takes to find one, Sanchez said.

The event continues into Sunday. The Dancer Grand Entry happens at noon and the powwow ends at 5:00 p.m.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times