Pulling people together

WAILUA — Whatever tribe we come from, we come together as one at the powwow, said Joseph Lucero of Mungapi, Arizona.

Lucero is the uncle of Aaron Kewanwytewa of the Hopi Nation, who performed the Eagle Dance for about 400 students during the Kauai Powwow school outreach program at Lydgate Park Thursday.

“We learn this dance from our elders, no uncles, who tell us to pay attention to how the animals behave,” Kewanwytewa said. “It is an honor to be here to bring enjoyment and education about our culture.”

Lucero said part of the Eagle Dance is to learn discipline and respect before learning the dance.

He said the powwow is when the tribes, each one representing a finger, comes together as the hand, for all people to be one as a fist.

“We are really hitting the international level,” said Dr. Kani Blackwell, president of the Kauai Powwow Council. “We have a woman from Canada who visited us two years ago and helped with the powwow. She has planned her vacation this year to volunteer for four days. We have another woman, living in Scotland, who wants to help who has never been to a powwow and is volunteering for three days.”

The school outreach program continues Friday for more than 400 students from the Kawaikini Charter School, King Kaumualii Elementary School, the Kekaha Elementary School, the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School and the Koloa Elementary School.

“This is an honor to be able to be here to represent my people,” said Virginia Chentis-Stevens, a captain with the U.S. Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and part Potawatomi, part Ojibway from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. “This is my first powwow on Kauai and I’m proud to represent not only my people, but to bring to light the numerous sacrifices made by our veterans.”

The public is invited to the powwow with no admission charged on Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Kapaa Beach Park.

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