Qns powwow to feature native American dances

Joe Cross from the Caddo tribe judges the dance contests.
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Phil Corso

Three days of inter-tribal native American dance competitions are expected to draw as many as 17,000 people from throughout the country, Canada and the Caribbean this weekend as the Queens Farm Museum hosts the 34th annual American Indian Pow-wow.

The event, hosted by the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers group, has grown to become the city’s oldest and largest powwow with more then 40 Indian nations represented. A spokeswoman at the Queens Farm Museum said she expected thousands to come through this weekend for various events, including a hoop dance, Tlacopan Aztec dancers and a sunset bonfire lighting. A large selection of native American art, crafts, jewelry and food will also be available.

Donna Ahmadi helps organize the event’s various vendors and said the tradition has become a staple event for various native American communities throughout the country.

“What draws people to this event from the five boroughs and beyond is mostly the dancing,” Ahmadi said. “There are not too many powwows that happen within the city, which makes this one much more easily accessible to a lot of people.”

Ahmadi said a small committee in charge of selecting the vendors for the event have been selective to ensure authenticity.

“We are only looking for quality native American work,” she said. “Native people in the New York City area have come to depend on a good selection of vendors to get their supplies for regalia and whatever else they might be creating.”

The powwow also said it was generating money for scholarship funds, with plans to award as many as four native American students with scholarships to help fund their college educations. The cost has not been finalized.

A spokeswoman at the Queens Farm Museum said the three-day event would likely draw the most people on its Friday and Saturday night celebrations, which will both close out with a traditional bonfire at dusk.

Admission for adults will be $10 or an all-weekend pass for $15. Children ages 12 and below will get in for $5 or for an all-weekend pass of $7. Proceeds to the event will go toward the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers Scholarship fund and the Queens County Farm Education Fund.

The gates will open at 6 p.m. Friday with crafts and food stands through 10 p.m. and a bonfire beginning around 7 p.m. Gates reopen on Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. with various dancing contests and events throughout the day.

Parking for the weekend event is free, the Queens Farm Museum said. For more information, interested residents can call 718-347-3276 or visit queensfarm.org.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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