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The Autumn Harvest PowWow Comes to the Little Theater in Fort Edward

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A Celebration of Native American Song and Dance

The Autumn Harvest PowWow at Fort Edward’s Little Theater on the Farm

Troy Burkett in full regalia. Photo Courtesy of The Little Theater on the FarmOn September 15-16, Native Americans and the general public are encouraged to come together with the spiritual leaders of the North to sing, dance and honor American Indian culture during this year’s Autumn Harvest PowWow at the Little Theater on the Farm in Fort Edward.

This two day festival will “present an annual, inter-tribal PowWow which will be a cultural and educational experience for all peoples through indigenous music, dance, crafts, and storytelling in order to perpetuate the heritage of Native Americans”.

powwow is a traditional Native American gathering; the word powwow actually derives from the Narragansett word powwaw, which means “spiritual leader”. Today’s powwows feature both Native American and non-Native American people in a celebration of song and dance, all while honoring the rich history of Native American culture. Powwows are known to vary from several hours to several days, sometimes lasting up to a week in length.

Music and history have a strong connection in Native American traditions as most tribes recount their history through music, which is an integral part of tribal identity. Different tribes have different traditions in regards to their drums and how they are played. For a powwow the drums are usually made from wood frame or hollow log, with buckskin or elk skin stretched over the opening.

Powwows usually feature a group of performers collectively referred to as a “Drum,” who play a large drum, created specifically for the event. The group responsible for providing the music is known as the “Host Drum” and in some cases when the PowWow is intertribal, several Drums will be on hand to represent each tribe.

This year’s Host Drum will be the Medicine Horse Drum group from Pennsylvania. According to member Sam Bower, “We have all been on other drums before, but we wanted to form an outstanding drum group with the higher pitched Northern style. It’s a Healing drum in the sense. We drum in order to honor our ancestors, mother earth and the spirit world as well as educate the public. Therefore, the name Medicine Horse.”

For those wanting to get a sense of history, the Living History 1750s Encampment will be open to the public, featuring over 30 re-enactors who will demonstrate life in the encampment and the relationship between the Native Americans and the soldiers during the French and Indian War.

Also participating will be Onyota (the Oneida Dance Troupe) who will perform traditional Eastern dances. The Laughing Couple Interactive Storytellers (Carolyn Black Hunt and Rick Hunt) will be on hand during the weekend to share tales of the Native Northeast tribes while at the same time creating a mural.

There will also be dance competitions where the public is invited to dance during the General PowWow. There will also be children’s crafts tents featuring a face painting and Native American crafts and educational exhibits. And there will be plenty of vendors on the premises providing food.

Festivities will be held on Saturday, September 15th (10am-10pm) and Sunday, September 16th (10am-5pm). This event is free to the public; donations will be appreciated.

For more information, visit or call 518-747-3421.

–by The Free George Staff. Photo Courtesy of The Little Theater on the Farm

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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