Event returns to Allegany Territory after two years of cancellations
ALLEGANY TERRITORY, SALAMANCA, N.Y. – Following a two-year absence driven by the coronavirus pandemic, a long-standing celebration of Native American culture is set to return to the Seneca Nation’s Allegany Territory, when the Marvin “Joe” Curry Veterans Powwow is held at the newly renovated Veterans Park in Salamanca on Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17.
“The powwow is a signature event, not only for the Seneca people, but for friends and neighbors locally and across the country who have been a part of our celebration for many years,” the Powwow Committee said. “After waiting for the past two years, we’re thrilled to finally welcome everyone back to the Allegany Territory. Powwow weekend can’t get here fast enough.”
The powwow will feature a number of dance, drum and singing competitions, with more than $36,000 in prizes awarded. Dance competition categories include Smoke Dance, Jingle Dance, Grass Dance, and Traditional Dance. Special categories include Men’s Veterans Special, Women’s Veterans Special, “Honoring Our Womxn Healers” Jingle Dress Special, “Dance for Her” Women’s Red Dress Smoke Dance Special, and the Kyle Dowdy, Sr. Memorial War Dance Showdown. Competition winners will be announced on Sunday evening, before the conclusion of the powwow.
Other weekend highlights include along the Tiny Tots Dance, for dancers 4 years of age and younger, Iroquois Social Dancing, in which everyone is invited and encouraged to participate, and the Cultural tent presented by the Onohsagwe:de’ Cultural Center, formerly the Seneca Iroquois Museum. In addition, Native crafts, artwork, and food will be available from a wide variety of vendors throughout the weekend.
The Seneca Nation presented the annual celebration of Native American culture for 30 years before the onset of the global pandemic forced the cancelation of the event in 2020 and 2021. It is one of the largest powwow celebrations in the northeast, attracting competitors and visitors from across the United States and Canada.
According to the Powwow Committee, the return of the powwow and seeing many familiar faces will be especially meaningful this year, given the difficulties brought on by the pandemic.
“We have lost so many friends and loved ones over the past two years, within our Seneca community and across Indian Country,” the Committee added. “Coming together for the powwow gives us all a chance to reconnect, reflect, honor those we lost, and, most of all, celebrate being together.”
Daily admission is $10 for adults, with weekend bracelets available for $15. Admission for students age 5-17 and seniors age 60 and older is just $5 per day or $10 for a weekend bracelet. Veterans and active military personnel (with valid ID) and children age 4 and younger will be admitted free of charge.
Gates open at 10 a.m. each day, with a Veterans Honoring at 11 a.m., and the must-see Dancer Grand Entry at Noon. Complete schedule, online ticket purchase, registration and contest information is available at senecapowwow.org.
The powwow honors all veterans and is named in honor of Marvin “Joe” Curry, a member of the Seneca Nation of Indians’ Snipe Clan, who led a long and distinguished career of military service in the United States Navy, serving two tours of duty in the Korean War and also serving in the Vietnam War.
The powwow is a family-friendly community celebration. Everyone is invited to come enjoy the competitions, immerse themselves in Native culture and traditions, and enjoy the wondrous natural beauty of Cattaraugus County and the surrounding area.