Pow Wow Connects Youth with Their Culture

Thanks to Native American community volunteers, MacLaren youth participated in a recent pow wow at their facility.

Drumming, dancing, regalia, and fry bread were all part of the pow wow held July 27 at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility.

OYA’s Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, supported by dedicated community volunteers, hosts pow wows at most of the agency’s facilities each year.

The purpose: help Native American youth connect or re-connect with their heritage, and to introduce cultural awareness to those outside the Native American community.

Cultural activities are an important part of youths’ treatment and rehabilitation. They help youth develop a positive cultural identity and connection with the community.

Pow wows are traditional events where Native Americans honor their ancestors and teach their traditions to younger generations.

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MacLaren youth did more than just attend the pow wow — they were integral in putting together the event. Several made their own regalia and helped cook fry bread. They gifted the pow wow emcee, Nick Sixkiller, with a mask they had made in their Native American group.

MacLaren and OYA are thankful to all the community members who made the pow wow possible, including:

  • Nick Sixkiller, event emcee
  • Stuart Whitehead, head male dancer
  • Nick Hall, contractor who provides Native American programs at Rogue Valley Youth Correctional Facility in Grants Pass
  • Tom Smith, who also provides Native American programs at Rogue Valley
  • Naomi Strawser, who cooked fry bread
  • Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, who provided a drumming group

Photos by D.M., OYA youth

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