NOXEN — Rejoicing in the coming return of summer and the growing season, the ninth annual Noxen Mother’s Day Powwow welcomed all who came over the weekend to learn about the rich history of Native Americans.
The powwow is usually held two times a year, once in May and again at the end of September, marking the change of seasons, said Natalie “Wisteria” Bowersox, event coordinator.
“We are celebrating the re-awaking of Mother Earth,” she said. “This year, it happened to fall on Mother’s Day weekend.”
The purpose of the powwow is to expose people to the Native American heritage and traditions and honor the veterans but the event this year worked in a special Mother’s Day dance to celebrate motherhood.
Bowersox, from the Navajo nation, said mothers of the tribes were known as the “givers of life” and raised the children. Men were raised to appreciate the women, she said.
“Women, as a group, would correct each other’s children,” she said.
That tradition was recognized during the powwow.
“Look around at all the children playing,” she said. “The Elders are watching them.”
In the center of the Noxen Fire Company grounds, a large ceremonial circle was roped off for dancing and celebrations. Otter Creek Singers and Eagle Thunder and One Heart Drum, Native American drumming groups, gave the afternoon a rhythmic beat.
Dancers dressed in full regalia, each unique to the individual, entered the circle in rhythm with the drums. Bells and beads on their clothing jingled in time with the drumming.
After the opening procession, a special dance to honor veterans was held. Veterans were encouraged to enter the circle and participate. A women’s traditional dance was held along with a Mother’s Day dance to honor all mothers.
The free event was originally started by Murph Hislop, Bowersox’s uncle. She promised Hislop when he passed the powwow on to her to keep it free.
“I want anyone to be able to come and learn and enjoy,” she said. “It is a fun, safe, family atmosphere.”
Every year the event grows and so does the audience, Bowersox said. This year, 32 vendors specializing in Native American arts and crafts, books, beadwork, bulk beads, leather items and music gave people a chance to browse and shop.
“I am at my maximum for space for vendors,” Bowersox said.
To keep things running smoothly, she said she relies on help from her volunteers and business sponsors.
“I could not do this if it were not for my volunteers and all the local businesses who have donated, food, products and funds,” she said. “This year, we have about 55 business sponsors.”