Josh Morrisey

Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow Unites Tribes, Celebrates Culture

Josh Morrisey, Parks & Recreation, Marketing Assistant, 509.625.6236

Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at 3:34 p.m.

Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow Unites Tribes, Celebrates Culture

Photo Courtesy of Erin Gibson

Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow (GATF) celebrated its 28th year this summer, but the tradition of coming together to share tradition and celebrate the restorative power of river at the spot where Riverfront Park now exists goes back generations, to a time when the river was teeming with salmon and the falls served as a fishing and trading hub. Tribes from around the Pacific Northwest would travel to the falls to fish for salmon, share cultures, and engage in inter-tribal games.

The modern-day version of this gathering serves as an opportunity for area tribes to return to this place of spiritual and cultural significance, and to celebrate and share in traditions both old and new. The event features delicious traditional food and beautiful Native art, but the dancing and music is the centerpiece – the literal beating heart of the event. There is an indescribable beauty and complexity to the colorful regalia worn by the dancers, some of the pieces taking hundreds of hours to make. The variety of dance categories encompass all ages and abilities, and include both traditional and contemporary styles of dance. From Tiny Tots, to Golden Age, everyone had their chance dance to drum and song – even non-Natives.

Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow is as educational as it is fun, and organizers do a phenomenal job of welcoming anyone who comes to the event, whether it’s to participate or spectate. If you missed it this year, you can expect the 29th Gathering at the Falls Pow Wow to be just as grand.

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