Powwow gives glimpse of American Indian culture

July 16, 1993|By Patrick Hickerson | Patrick Hickerson,Contributing Writer

The term "Authentic American," usually reserved for selling items from cologne to movies, will take on a different meaning during the next three days of American Indian culture at the Howard County Fairgrounds.

Here's where the indigenous is exotic.

The American Indian Pow-Wow/Festival, a first for Howard County, will include dancers and drummers along with craft and food vendors. The overarching purpose of the gathering is to educate.

"You'd be surprised what people know absolutely nothing about Indian culture. It's just tepees and John Wayne," said Barry Richardson, creator and coordinator of Pow-Wow, the event's sponsor which organizes festivals in states from North Carolina to Pennsylvania.

Mr. Richardson, 38, who is executive director for the Baltimore American Indian Center in Fells Point, created Pow-Wow three years ago. He and his wife, Brenda, finance the business and say they have submitted it for nonprofit status.

A native of Warren County in North Carolina, Mr. Richardson belongs to the Haliwa-Saponi tribe. He and his wife moved to Maryland in 1980 and live in Catonsville.

Pow-Wow has held similar gatherings this year in Raleigh, N.C., Richmond and Fredericksburg, Va. and Salisbury. Another is planned for next weekend at Virginia Beach, Va. Baltimore's Festival Hall will hold a Pow-Wow Aug. 27-29.

"I talked with a lot of people who live in Howard County. They asked, 'Why don't you do something near Columbia?' " Mr. Richardson said. "They've never ventured downtown for the Pow-Wow at Festival Hall. People [in Howard County] are open to new ideas and new people. We've got a good response."

The tapestry of more than 30 North American tribes will be represented this weekend -- Navajo, Sioux, Cherokee, Chickahominy, Oneida, Apache, Mohawk, Blackfeet and Piscataway, a tribe has deep Maryland roots. There are about 5,000 Piscataway in the state. In addition to the Piscataway, about 200 tribes have members in Maryland. The large number of tribes can be partly attributed to people who work at the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington and reside in Maryland.

The American Indian Pow-Wow/Festival will take place from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. today, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for children and senior citizens. Information: Brenda Richardson, 788-0254.

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