WAILUA — When the drummers began one of their numbers, big smiles of recognition bloomed on the faces of Waimea Canyon School students.
Those smiles came as they recognized the beat and strains of the Glory Drum, said one of the leaders of the Pow Wow Educational Outreach program at Lydgate Park.
Dale Shimomura, one of the Waimea Canyon School teachers, has a unit on American Indians, and during this study unit, plays music as part of the curriculum.
It was this background that brought the smiles of recognition to the students, as they absorbed the presentation of dance, regalia, and tales of the American Indians, while being cooled by the sea breeze at the Lydgate Park main pavilion.
About 150 students from both Waimea Canyon and Eleele School took advantage of the educational outreach program that featured many of the dancers who are part of the two-day Pow Wow that started yesterday, Saturday, Oct. 8, and runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Sunday, Oct. 9, at Kapa’a Beach Park.
It is free and open to the public.
Leaders of the educational-outreach program said they extended the invitation to officials at all the schools on the island, but with the rising costs of transportation, only 150 students responded.
Those leaders are fearful that the all-island, public-school switch to the modified calendar in the 2006-07 school year may mean even fewer students enjoying the educational event, as this year students at the Eastside schools were out on fall break on the day of the educational outreach, they said.
However, an Eleele School teacher piped in optimistically, “When the Pow Wow comes, we might be just on the eve of intersession.”
Leaders of the Kauai Pow Wow Council said they will be eyeing the new school year with keen interest, in the hopes of being able to offer this educational opportunity to Kaua’i’s school children.
The American Indians’ relationship with the Earth, the elements, and nature, was brought to the forefront during the presentation, as various dancers performed special dances of praise and respect for the elements.
Leaders of the Kauai Pow Wow Council explained that their day started early, as Kehau Kekua joined them for a special sunrise ceremony, where cultural interaction took place as the sun rose from the sea.
A similar ceremony took place yesterday morning on the grounds of the Kapa’a Beach Park, where the Pow Wow grounds were blessed.
At yesterday’s festivities, members of the Kaua’i branch of the U.S. Marine Corps League led the grand entry, and will do the same today, Sunday, Oct. 9, at 10 a.m., with Indian dancers performing in the ceremony, which will be followed by the honoring of code talkers.
Code talkers were American Indians who used Indian dialects as secret codes to confuse enemies during World War II.
A silent auction continues today, Sunday, Oct. 9, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an offering of arts, crafts, paintings, jewelry, and many other items from leaders of over 100 local businesses in support of the pow wow and the year-round programs of the Kauai Pow Wow Council.
The food booth feature the staple of fry bread and Indian tacos as well as the Native American version of the local pronto pup. A variety of drinks, water, and shave ice will also be available.
This year’s pow wow features head man dancer Shane Ridley-Stevens, a Western Shoshone, who will lead a special flute concert today at 2 p.m.
Rose Olney-Samson is the head lady dancer, and Wild Horse is the drum.
This year’s theme is Honoring Our Elders, and artwork from students at the different schools will be posted throughout the park for public viewing. Hugh “Buttons” Lovell of the Big Island is the pow wow’s honored elder, recognized at a special ceremony yesterday.
The leaders of the Kauai Pow Wow Council invite everyone to stop by and “Join us for some fry bread.”
- Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or firstname.lastname@example.org