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Powerful presence

KAPAA — Rona Johnston has been coming to the Kauai Powwow since it started more than 10 years ago.

“I powwow to dance for healing, for the Earth, for the people,” said the jingle dress dancer of the Cherokee nation in Garretson, South Dakota. “Most of the time, when I dance, I focus on other people. Last summer, dancing for healing became more meaningful when I was diagnosed with cancer. Now, I still focus on others, but I also dance to heal myself because how can I help others when I’m not well.”

The Kauai Powwow at Kapaa Beach Park started Friday and continues this weekend. It offers Native American dance, arts and crafts, food, and informational booths for both Native American and Hawaiian culture.

The powwow is an opportunity for all cultures to be celebrated, said Kaplan Bunce, Kauai Powwow Council president.

“We had a great cultural exchange with the students where they presented gifts of song and chants during the outreach, which was held at the powwow site,” Bunce said. “I’m a lover of culture.”

Johnston’s daughter, Camas, a fancy shawl dancer of the Ojibewa, or Chipewa nation, was out with her colorful shawl created by her mother.

And she was ready to fill in for her mom, who said she had to work at an exhibit booth.

“She wanted to be a fancy shawl dancer,” Rona said. “I just made the shawl so she could dance.”

The powwow runs 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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