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The Flagstaff All-Indian Pow-Wow Is Back

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But not the event itself, unfortunately. Instead, a spectacular new exhibit at Northern Arizona University is dediated to showcasing the Flagstaff All-Indian Pow-Wow that drew hundreds of thousands of spectators and participants to the Arizona city for four days over the Fourth of July Weekend every year from 1929-1979. The Pow-Wow consisted of re-enactments of ceremonies for the public, a parade showing Native American dances and costumes and a rodeo.

The exhibit is located in the special collections and archives section on the second floor of Cline Library on campus and consists of photographs dating back to 1929, as well as manuscripts and publications from the Flagstaff newspaper. Also on hand are home movies from multiple years.

As the university notes, "the story behind the pow wow offers numerous angles: the cultural exchange, the mix of tribes represented, the 'business' of organizing and promoting the event, social aspects, personal histories of dancers, cowboys, artists, and tourists, and the economic impact on the community." 

“The Pow-Wow evokes many memories of a city-wide celebration,” said Sean Evans, Cline Library archivist., told Northern Arizona News. “For newer residents, it tells the story of a grand undertaking — bringing Native populations from all over the U.S. to put on a multi-day event that both celebrated, and to some extent, exploited Native peoples. Certainly, it tells a story of the evolution of tourism if nothing else the exhibit demonstrates the synthetic process of telling a story using primary source material.”

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