Delta Park Powwow 50th Anniversary

Families celebrating outdoors at the Delta Park Powwow

The Indigenous team at the library focuses on connecting with the community.

This is the first year the library is tabling at the Delta Park Powwow. The powwow will be June 16-18 and is located at 10737 N Union Court, Portland. Dancing for the powwow starts at 7 pm on Friday, and at 1 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

The team will be giving away books, helping people get library cards, and creating a bridge between the Native community and the library.

Eva Red Bird, Indigenous community services coordinator, shares that “historically, the library has been a place Native people have been excluded from, so this is a really important place for us to be.”  

The powwow has not happened for the past three years, so this one will be special for the team and community.

“Ceremonies are happening, and babies are getting their names. There will be honorings of people that passed from Covid, and missing and Indigenous people. It is an honor to be there, especially representing a government agency — helping to build trust with agencies and Native people,” says Eva. There will be competition dancing, drum groups and more.

Several team members have a connection to the powwow as more than an event they will be attending for the library. 

Library Assistant Jack Allman-Abraham has a connection with the planning team and committee that organizes the Delta Park Powwow. His grandfather was on the first initial committee (53 years ago), and his family has stayed heavily involved. His aunt has served as president of the Bow and Arrow Culture Club, which organizes the Delta Park Powwow, for the past 30 years.

“A lot of people travel around to come to this powwow. People come from all over the west coast and Canada, ” says Jack.

This powwow is “meant to be in the spirit of gathering of nations where people would come and spend time together. It really is a multicultural event,” says Jack. Jack will also volunteer for Monday’s clean-up effort, which welcomes volunteers to join at 9 am. 

All are welcome to join in the powwow. However, the powwow should not be seen as a performance. Indigenous library staff recommend ways to respectfully participate in this important cultural event.

Stand up when the honor flags and color guards are coming out.

Do not photograph dancers and other attendees without permission.

Only enter the dance arena if invited by the emcee. When invited please do feel welcome to join in dancing!

Do not touch regalia (they are not costumes).

Be mindful of the space; often families reserve seats with their own chairs, blankets, canopies, personal items — these are not to be removed, touched or occupied.

Be respectful of the vendors and the incredible amount of skill and effort that goes into the work they bring to sell.

Respect the rules of the Delta Park Powwow, including: no alcohol or drugs, and no dogs or pets allowed.

Multnomah County is named after a tribe, and so are other counties, rivers and mountains around the Pacific Northwest. The powwow is a time to recognize and honor the connection between the tribes and the land we live on. This free event is a large community gathering and effort.