Source: Aimee DilgerNoxen Pow Wow
NOXEN — Donna Exley, welcomed people to the 12th Annual Noxen Fall Intertribal Powwow on Saturday, encouraging them to ask questions and learn about the history of American Indians.
“This isn’t a ceremonial event, it’s a powwow, which means that it’s open to the public, and anyone who can answer a question about Indian history will,” she said.
The event brought hundreds of American Indians from Pennsylvania and beyond to the Noxen Fire Company grounds. Many came in full regalia and eager to share their customs and culture with attendees. The event concludes Sunday, starting at 10 a.m.
Exley, whose ancestors were from the Black Foot tribe, said every activity during the event has meaning.
For example, she said burning sage provided the opportunity for spiritual purification as the smoke rose as prayers to the creator.
Earl Smith, of Moscow, said he came to the event as an opportunity to look back on his history.
Smith said his great grandmother was part of the resettlement of the Wyoming Indians and had moved to Spring Brook to raise her family.
“Our family always told stories,” he said. “And we’ve stayed aware of our heritage throughout generations dating back to the 1800s.”
Smith and his wife, Julie, who were vendors at the event selling crafts, credited attendees with providing positive energy as they made their way through the event and participated in various activities.
The Smiths said they especially enjoyed the ceremonial circle, filled with music and those bearing flags, including an American flag and a POW flag.
“Those who come to the circle must be invited in,” said Julie Smith. “It’s an honor.”
Jim “Red Fox” Sarles, a member of the Lakota Sioux Nation, conducted storytime at the event.
Sarles said he had been working at a traditional job when he suffered a significant illness.
As he was recovering, many stories told to him by the his grandmother were strongly brought back to his mind.
His favorite is the red fox story in which he tells of meeting a fox in the woods.
Coming back to his Indian roots, he said, has been life changing and has put things in perspective.
Kevin Fetters, part Cherokee Indian, said the celebration provided a chance to spend time with family.
Even the red and black paint on his face, he said, had significance.
“It tells a story about meeting a bear,” he said.
The music he said, with the prominence of drums, reflects the sustenance of mother earth.
The two-day event was filled with music and color enjoyed by young and old alike.
Vendors were on hand offering everything from handmade items to healing products to clothing to books.
Earl Smith said the event inspired him to take a deeper look back in history, using the internet to find a out more about the ancestors celebrated at the event.
“We’ll be back next year,” he said.
Reach Geri Gibbons at 570-991-6117 or on Twitter @TLGGibbons