Kauai Powwow keeps culture alive

Singing and drums filled Kapaa Beach Park last weekend as hundreds of people gathered for the 15th annual Kauai Powwow.

The three-day event, hosted by the Kauai Powwow Council, began on Friday, Sept. 27 with a school outreach program at Lydgate Pavilion, where students from Kapaa Elementary, Wilcox Elementary, Island and Kawaikini Public Charter schools met Kauai Powwow dancers and drummers and were introduced to traditional American Indian songs and dance styles from various tribes.

In all, Kauai Powwow Council President Dr. Kani Blackwell said 4,541 visitors, including 426 international visitors, attended this year’s event — the largest turnout since the event’s inception.

This year’s powwow, she said, was a collaborative team effort made possible by the Kauai Powwow Council’s board — Vice President Alfred Darling, Secretary Cindy Morinaka, Treasurer Shawna Lee — and Powwow Committee, consisting of Conan Blackwell, Tepairu Manea, Elena Perriera, Dale Rosenfeld, Albert Lopez and the Church of Native Americans.

Drum, flute and singing performances from this year’s event included those from the Allen Family Group from Washington state; Renee Janton of Hanalei; the Three Nations group of Arizona, comprised of Bob Numkena, Wes Ricks and Frank Mendoza; the Wildhorse Singers from Los Angeles; the Muckelshoot Tribe of Auburn, Wash., and 808 NDNZ from Oahu.

This year’s Kauai Powwow head staff included Head Man Dancer Eric Manuelito, of the Navajo Nation; Head Woman Dancer Abriel Johnny-Rodriguez, from the Cowichan and Tlinget tribes; Master of Ceremonies John Dawson, of the San Carlos Apache Nation; Arena Director Danny McDaniel, of the Choctaw Nation; and the Veterans of the Puyallup Tribe, who served as this year’s color guard.

The powwow, which featured hours of dancing Saturday and Sunday, celebrated special hoop dance performances from Kimmer Bighorse, Iosepa Lyman and Malie Lyman of Oahu.

In keeping with the spirit and intention of the event, other cultures were also celebrated through performances from Tepairu Manea, Aloha Africa, Tamateo Nui O Kauai, John Dumas and “Joyful Noise Taiko Drummers” with Aki Conquest, and Illima Rivera and Hula Studio.

For more information, visit the Kauai Powwow website at www.kauaipowwow.com or contact the Kauai Powwow Council at kauaipowwow@gmail.com.

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