Wearing colorful Native American regalia, Anyse Robinson-Minter, tugged on her grandmother’s shirt and said, “Come on grandma, I’m gonna be dancing,” and ran off toward the beating of drums.
Her grandmother, Tanis Robinson, spent the day cooking and serving native foods like tacos, fried bread topped with strawberries, fresh mint tea, vegetable soup and corn cakes.
“She’s been dancing since she was 6 months old,” said Robinson, 56, of the Shinnecock Indian reservation in Southampton. “It’s part of her culture.”
Their tribe was among the 13 to perform cultural dances at the 32nd Annual Paumanauke Pow Wow, sponsored by the Babylon Citizens Council on the Arts, on Saturday. The event runs until 10 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Babylon Town Hall Park in Lindenhurst.
Hundreds who attended the Pow Wow watched a celebration of Native American culture through costumed dancing, sampling of native foods and vendors selling handmade jewelry, dreamcatchers and clothing.
Tony Langhorn, chairman of the Paumanauke Pow Wow committee, said it’s rare to see something like this and that more people should come out.
“It’s an intertribal Pow Wow. Today, there are 13 different tribes,” said Langhorn, 46, of Ramapough Mountain Indian tribe in northern New Jersey. “They’re selling crafts, dancing and showing off our history.”
Langhorn said a portion of the proceeds go towards an annual scholarship fund given to four Native American students on Long Island and two students out of the state. In September, the committee gave $4,000 in scholarships, at $500 each. In September, they are awarding $3,000 in scholarships. Each year, students must apply online at paumanauke.org between March and June.
Jeff Stevens, of the Seneca Iroquois Indian tribe, wore sacred eagle feathers, a coyote pelt, bone breast plate and knee and arm bands, while dancing in a circle.
“It’s in your heart. Everyone has their own dance,” said Stevens, 33, of Upper Black Eddy, Pa. who has been participating in the Pow Wows since age 5. “The purpose of the drum is to lift and carry the people. Wearing the colorful regalia is a way of self-expression and for people to represent their clan and Indian nation.”
It was Casey LaMarca’s fourth time at the Pow Wow, but this time she brought her boyfriend Chris Henzi, 19, of Babylon, to look at Native American jewelry, tea and handmade bracelets.
“I like the jewelry here. I got the earrings I’m wearing now from here when I was 10,” said LaMarca, 19, of West Islip. “I really like the tents with homemade, natural and organic items.”
Since before Langhorn can remember, he has always been exposed to the Pow Wow culture.
“I used to come when I was a kid and dance here,” Langhorn said.”For us, it’s a way of keeping our traditions alive and to meet year after year.”