Cultural Celebration and Social Pow Wow draws more than a thousand (May 2006)
With passports in hand, more than a thousand people throughout the community traveled the world in a day at the Puyallup School District’s Cultural Celebration and Social Pow Wow on May 13.
“You have all come to share something, and that is unique in itself. This event creates a better understanding — a better unity,” said master of ceremonies Tony McGrady, of the Mandan Sioux Tribe. “We want you to go away from here with an open heart and an open mind.”
The event, attended by people of all ages, opened with performances by the Tacoma Scots Pipe Band and Thailand Culture Dance Group. Both groups shared their cultures on a stage arranged in the middle of the Puyallup Fairgrounds Pavilion.
Superintendent Tony Apostle, Puyallup School Board Director Lloyd Freudenstein, and Puyallup Mayor Mike Deal each welcomed guests. Deal said “hello” in several different languages and challenged the crowd to guess the correct language spoken.
The first of two Social Pow Wow grand entries followed, featuring Native American dancers and drummers from Washington and Canada. Guests, who were seated in chairs arranged in a circle to represent unity, respectfully rose to their feet as the procession of flags and tribal members passed by.
Cliff Martin, a Poulsbo resident and member of the Eastern Delaware Tribe, served as Arena Director during the procession, and Puyallup resident Stephen Chamberlain was invited as a member of the military to carry the Eagle staff. After the Grand Entry, audience members joined Native American dancers in a round dance.
Nearly 20 different school and community performances took to the stage throughout the afternoon. Student groups included the Rogers High School Step Team and the Stahl Junior High Dance Team and Drama Club. Hula dancers, Cambodian dancers, inter-tribal dancers, and others also performed, and students from throughout the district modeled clothing during a cultural parade of fashions.
Participants of all ages learned about other cultures by doing hands-on activities and craft projects such as writing Chinese characters, folding origami shapes, and creating Hawaiian leis.
Aylen Junior High School Diversity Club members handed out paper passport booklets and invited guests to visit the various cultural booths featuring artifacts, clothing, books, and more representing different countries from around the world. Club members offered beaded friendship bracelets and pins to those who toured all of the countries and returned to their table with stamped passports.
The celebration also featured resource and information tables, vendors, and food samples. More than 100 students, staff, and community members from throughout the school district volunteered to help set up booths, serve food from a variety of cultures, and welcome people to the event.
The theme of this year’s event was “Passing on Cultures Through Arts and Tradition.” The celebration represented 19 different cultures and was coordinated by the Office of Diversity Affair’s Diversity Committee and Indian Education Department under the leadership of Christine Bloomfield, Peter Anthony, Leslie Andrews, Conchita Oliver-Moore, and Denette Neville.