Thanks To City Pow Wow Becomes Reality

SPOKANE — A lack of funding almost prevented the Riverfront Park Powwow from even happening and because of its slow start, this year’s attendance is being affected.

This marks the 19th year the powwow has been taking place in Riverfront Park, but this year proved to be tougher than in years past.

“Some of the tribes are struggling financially, so there wasn’t as much support from the surrounding tribes to fund the powwow,” said one vendor.

In fact vendors at the powwow say there seem to be less of them. For some of the people at the park selling their goods, less booths means less competition for customers.

“It’s always a plus for me,” said Karen Walker, who runs a food booth at the powwow.

The city played a big roll in getting this year’s Riverfront Park Powwow off the ground. Powwow organizer Heidi Silver thought that this year’s Pow Wow might remain a dream.

“During the first couple months of planning, we weren’t sure it was going to happen at all,” she said.

But thanks to a $10,000 grant from the city of Spokane and a little extra help from city officials the dream became a reality.

“The mayor also stepped forward and helped us out with some funding and made some things happen for us,” said Silver.

Dancing, food and most importantly, learning about the Native American culture is a tradition in Riverfront Park. It’s a tradition people involved in the powwow say is worth fighting for, and it is bringing them comfort to know the city of Spokane agrees.

“It shows us that the city is willing to make that extra commitment to see that these kinds of events continue and remain a cultural aspect of Spokane,” said Silver. 

It’s culture that can be seen and heard, hopefully for years to come.