Wichita Landmark Celebrates Native American Roots

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

"We've always been told, be proud of what you are. And, we are," said Sharon Doyebei-Ahtone, traveled from Oklahoma with her husband for the seventh annual pow-wow.

Hundreds of people gathered to pay tribute to their roots inside the Mid-America All-Indian Center. The two-day long pow-wow celebrated the 37th annual Keeper of the Plains anniversary. It inspired people to sing and dance to the beat of the drum.

"I hear the singing, that makes me feel good. And then, I get up and dance, that makes me feel good. But there's just something about it that makes an Indian person feel good inside," said Doyebei-Ahtone.

Young and mature performers reenacted the legend of the dance a red wolf showed a Kiowa warrior eons ago. Some performers crossed state borders just to keep up with the tradition.

"I feel a sense of pride as long as people are doing it in a manner that stays close to the traditional gourd dance that I grew up with," said Veron 'Cy' Ahtone, performer from Oklahoma.

For many at the pow-wow, this was more than a celebration. It was a family reunion.

"We have family in from different states. We have people here from all over that come and share in this time with us and to celebrate with us," said Kari Nolan, pow-wow organizing committee member.

Friends of the Keeper of the Plains, a local non-profit organization, sponsors the annual May pow-wow in honor of the 44 ft. tall sculpture. The Indian warrior was created by one of Wichita's artists, Blackbear Bosin.

"We hope that people can celebrate the spirit that Blackbear Bosin shared with Wichita, in bringing the Keeper of the Plains here. This is a time for us to all gather together and celebrate," said Nolan.

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