A celebration of Native American culture began Friday at Hansen Dam Equestrian Center in Lake View Terrace--a local showcase that organizers hope will become an annual event.
Promoter Dick Wixon said that nearly 40 tribes will attend the three-day Los Angeles Intertribal Powwow, including Kiowa, Choctaw, Navajo, Pawnee and Sioux. The highlight will be a variety of dance competitions and exhibitions, he said. Events, which are open to the public, continue today and Sunday roughly from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
D.D. Winterbear, a Choctaw whose booth displayed an abundance of handcrafted wares, said the powwow offers Native Americans a unique opportunity to share their traditions.
“It’s part of giving back to the people, not only to your own culture but also to the cultures you touch,” she said.
Among her many offerings, Winterbear displayed a deer-dance rattle, made from the bones of a stag. The purpose of the dance, she explained, is to thank the deer for giving its life so that humans can eat.
“You honor him by using all his parts,” she said.
Sue Bicknell, of La Canada Flintridge, said she was attracted to the powwow by its educational aspect, which gave her children a chance to explore Native American life up close. Jenna Bicknell, 11, said she liked “the way they treat the earth,” while brother Jay, 6, was more impressed by the bones and traps on display.
Also on hand Friday were a group of part-time cowboys who spent the afternoon practicing for a mounted shooting competition this weekend.
One competitor, Mel Astrahan, who performs in character as gunslinging veterinarian “Doc” Mortimer, said the troupe of riders often appears in elaborate scenarios in which balloon targets represent bandits, or in the case of the “Pony Express” script, Native Americans.
“We won’t do that one here,” he joked.