“The Native American Indian Association of Tennessee held its 41st annual educational pow wow this weekend at Long Hunter State Park. The fundraising event educates about Native cultures and is navigating the event’s recent growth.
The pow wow features traditional dances in brightly colored regalia, Native teachings, foods and crafts. It also educates to dispel misconceptions about Native people.
According to the association’s website, there are more than 30,000 Native American individuals living in the Tennessee. But there’s a lack of tribal presence.
“When you leave your tribe, your reservation land, the services at your tribe do not follow with you,” says NAIA board member Eleanor Lopez. “So we provide assistance for food, housing, rent, educational support.”
Last year’s pow wow fundraiser had significantly more people in attendance than previous years. But that growth caused a sharp increase to the fee the group was asked to pay to hold this year’s event at the state park.
Lopez says she hopes NAIA can work with lawmakers to keep the event affordable and on state land in the years to come.”