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Travis hosts Veteran's Powwow

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) --

About 2,000 people, including representatives from 20 Native American nations, took part in the fourth annual Veterans Powwow here.

The event, held Nov. 5 and 6, was hosted by the Travis Native American Heritage Council and was the first two-day powwow celebration.

“We had folks from Oregon, Nevada and Stockton, San Francisco and Alturas, Calif.,” said Master Sgt. Edwin Allert, the council chairman.

Sergeant Allert said the powwow is a gathering where people can make new friends and celebrate their creator and their existence.

“We gathered to pray, to heal and to live. It was our time to share with others our heritage and culture. By doing this, we strengthened our native spirit,” he said.

The arena, which was the circular area for dancing and the ceremony, was surrounded by booths where vendors sold drums, music, beads, regalia items, dance sticks, jewelry and fry bread.

Tribal and intertribal dancing was one of the highlights of the event.

There was a dance competition for all women traditional dancers. In addition, Hawaiian dancers, who are also considered to be Native Americans, performed various native dances, including flaming knife dance, hula, wedding dances and a couples’ dance, he said.

The powwow included a pipe ceremony and a Veteran’s roll call.

The pipe ceremony is a ritual where people gather to recognize people’s hard work by presenting them a pipe, Sergeant Allert said.

Dennis Carr, the master of ceremony, received a pipe.

During the Veteran’s roll call, all veterans -- native and non-native -- were invited to the arena to share their military experiences.

“The [event] was very successful,” Sergeant Allert said. “We brought many people together to celebrate and we have taught many some of our culture and heritage.

He said it was well received by participants, and “I was asked several times if we were going to have another one next year.”

The Travis council plans to have another two-day Powwow next year.