For the People Pow Wow celebrates Native American culture

Sunday, May 24, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
Jorge Romero of the Apache Indian tribe participates in a gourd dancing ceremony during the second annual For The People Pow Wow at Boone County Fairgrounds on Saturday.

COLUMBIA — Smells of Indian fry bread and sounds of the drums of various Native American tribes engulfed the Boone Country fairgrounds Saturday at the second annual For the People Pow Wow.

Eric Atchley, former mayor of Lake Annette, considers the drum the heartbeat of the Native Americans.


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“The drum is the focal point of songs and is a place for tribes to share their cultures,” Atchley said.

Atchley is a member of The Missionary Society for the Preservation of Traditional Values, which sponsored the event.

The For the People Pow Wow is a fundraiser and also a gathering inviting all people, Native American or not, to experience the symbolic dances, culture and songs of Native American nations. It honors Native American veterans, elders and grandparents.

Community involvement plays a huge part in the success of the three-day event and the society wants to ensure that the event is a memorable experience for everybody who attends, Atchley said. Multiple vendors surrounded the dance area with authentic food, shawls, dream catchers, quilts, blankets, chests and jewelry.

One booth housed Jefferson City vendor Robert Roe. Roe constructs his own Native American flutes, and sells copies of his CDs. He is a member of the Performing Arts Guild in Lake of the Ozarks, and also shares his music with his 12-year-old granddaughter.

“I love this type of music and I believe that everybody loves flute sounds. They are very educational,” Roe said. “My granddaughter plays music with me and we perform for different schools throughout the Ozarks and surrounding areas.”

After hearing the music and building his first flute through trial and error, Roe came to love the art and plans to continue performing his music in the future.

“I love this kind of stuff. I will always come to the powwows and hopefully perform at other local venues, like wineries,” Roe said.

Atchley said he remembers attending powwows as a family tradition. His family has roots in three Native American tribes: Cherokee, Crow and Blackfoot. He said powwows were one way in which he learned about his Native American culture.

“I’ve always known my Indian culture; it’s what I’ve always been,” Atchley said. “My grandmother always made sure of that.”


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