For a few hours Friday night, the powwow at Riverfront Park belongs to kids.
The Youth Powwow and Family Fun Night is part of the Gathering at the Falls Powwow. Spanning three days, the event brings together Northwest tribal members and non-Natives for dancing, food and socializing in downtown Spokane.
Organizers set aside one night for kids to provide entertainment for families that doesn’t come with a hefty price, said Jerry Crowshoe, powwow co-chairman.
“We wanted to give the kids their own night to shine and have fun and dance, and really validate their engagement in their culture,” Crowshoe said. But “any kids can come out there and dance, whether they’re Native or not. It’s about cultural sharing.”
Youths can bring their own drums, and they don’t have to wear regalia to join the dancing.
“You can come down there with shorts and a T-shirt and shoes,” Crowshoe said.
Along with intertribal – or social – dances, organizers will run games and give away prizes, including school supplies. They’ll connect kids with “Spokane Batman,” the Spokane Shock’s Shox the Fox and other characters.
They’ll also invite parents to play some games.
“That way kids can see parents be silly and have fun,” said Crowshoe, a mental health counselor who believes in the value of “healthy modeling.”
“If kids can see parents putting a balloon between their legs and walking funny and having fun,” he said, “it’s actually really healthy.”