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Inaugural Penobscot Pow-wow takes shape

INDIAN ISLAND, Maine - Preparations are under way for the inaugural Penobscot Pow-wow on Indian Island June 28 and 29.

The pow wow will take place at the Indian Island Ball Field, with the grand opening ceremonies starting at 1 p.m. June 28.

Master of ceremonies James Augustine, Mik'maq, will introduce the events and keep them flowing. Head dancers are Laura Priest and Joseph Dana, Penobscot. The host drum is to be announced.

Priest said she was excited about her tribe's first pow wow.

''It's awesome and, being the female head dancer, I'm really honored. It's going to be a lot of fun. I can't wait. It's going to be a really big event.''

Priest, a Fancy Shawl dancer, and Dana, a Grass dancer, are cousins.

''We've been dancing since we were able to walk, really. We were pow wow babies, sitting near the drum all the time,'' Priest said.

Sue Dana-Ginn, a member of the pow wow committee, said it's time for the Penobscots to join the Northeastern woodlands pow wow circuit.

''It's exactly what we need - to get out there and be on the list of pow wows.''

The two-day event promises to launch the Penobscots into the pow wow scene in a spectacular way.

Around 45 tribes have been invited, including the Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga and other Haudenosaunee nations, the Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoag from Massachusetts, the Narragansetts from Rhode Island, the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans from Connecticut, and more.

''We've had confirmation from a tribe up in Nova Scotia that will be taking a ferry down to Indian Island, so it's going to be a fine event between the confederacy and the pow wow itself,'' Dana-Ginn said.

Hawk Henries, Nipmuc, a flute player and maker, will give special flute performances during the pow wow. Several vendors will be on hand selling Native arts and crafts.

The pow wow will not hold dance competitions, but will feature intertribal and specialty dancing. Social drumming and dancing will take place after dinner.

The public is invited to attend the pow wow between noon and 5 p.m. each day. In case of inclement weather, the pow wow will take place in the community building gym. Admission is $5 per person or $10 per carload. For more information, call Dana-Ginn at (207) 827-3237 or Sharon Francis at (207) 827-4883 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or e-mail penobscotpowwow@yahoo.com.