For the first time in 22 years, the sounds of drumming and Salish voices raised in song will be silenced in Riverfront Park this August.
The Spokane Falls Northwest Indian Encampment and Powwow, originally scheduled for Aug. 26-27, has been canceled because of lack of funding, according to committee Chairwoman Kathleen Warren.
“We are certainly going to be working on it next year,” said Warren, of the American Indian Studies program at Eastern Washington University.
Agencies, vendors and tribes across the Northwest are being contacted about the cancellation of the summer gathering of regional tribes along the shores of the Spokane River, Warren said.
For the past several years, the powwow has been threatened by lack of funding, and last year the organizing committee managed in the final week to come up with the $30,000 necessary to stage the event.
At the end of last year’s celebration, organizers said the event was in danger of extinction.
“The powwow has been hurt by the economic situation the last two years, but different people kept it alive,” last year’s chairman, David BrownEagle, told The Spokesman-Review.
Warren cited the support of Mayor Mary Verner, the Department of Parks and Recreation and Golf and others in the community, “but not enough for this year.”
Anyone wishing to volunteer to help bring the powwow back next year is asked to call (509) 359-6664.