The Minarets High School transformed last weekend with the 45th Annual Indian Fair Days & Pow Wow returning to O’Neals after a two year hiatus.
During Saturday’s opening ceremony, the Pow Wow committee acknowledged the great heroes who served and risked their lives to protect our country by “Honoring our Veterans” - the theme of this years Pow Wow.
“Stand up and join us in their honor,” said Sierra Mono Museum President Kelly Marshall.
Both the young along with elders then gathered together to personally thank and shake the hands of each veteran.
The pride of Native American culture was alive and strong throughout the two day event. Genevieve Lemaster a member of the southern Sierra Miwok of Yosemite/ Mono Lake Paiute/ Choinumni said, “Being a Miwok woman, I stay connected with our traditional gatherings in Yosemite, such as dancing and singing, carrying on the teachings the best I can to my children and grandchildren.”
Lemaster, who practices healing through her dancing at pow wows added, “Dancing makes me feel so beautiful and proud of who I am, where I’ve been, and what I have overcame.”
Being raised in the Yosemite and Mariposa area, she has a special connection and bond to the rich history of the Indian culture.
For others like Marquette and Jessica Sheridan who practice their traditions every day with their family, it’s about the importance of translating the culture to our children and to those who are interested in learning more.
The tradition goes as deep as the hidden messages and symbols embedded in the bead of the regalia. Every regalia is very different, personal and represents many religious symbols and stories. The design and colors of the regalia is a reference to the history of the tribe that each person was born into.
“We want people to come to our pow wows and meets us or be reintroduced to our way of life and belief system,” Marquette said. “It helps to break down the stereotypes of who people think we are.”
The annual pow wow wouldn’t be complete without the sounds of Native American drums, the smell of incense floating through summer afternoon heat and Indian Tacos.
With more than 25 categories for competitors to participate in, Indian Fair Days was a weekend of great energy and colorful dancers.