EAST NEWPORT, Maine — About 30 tribes were represented at the three-day North Country Inter-tribal Pow-Wow, and about 2,000 people attended Saturday, with 1,200 more through the gates by Sunday afternoon.
“This is the most we’ve ever gotten,” said Ellie Luce, daughter of powwow organizer Ed Littlefield.
Littlefield said he has held the powwow at his property every year since 1999.
“I believe the Creator gave me a vision of all the people down here dancing and having a good time,” he said Sunday.
Although he doesn’t have documentation of his family’s history, Littlefield said, some of his ancestors were Penobscot Indians and his wife, Anna Eleanor Sunlight Littlefield, is Cheyenne.
For Littlefield, the gathering is about sharing American Indian culture and tradition not only with other tribes, but with the public.
Native cultures should be “looked at in a better light than they have been in the past,” he said.
Each year he and his family make improvements to the powwow grounds, where vendors sell their goods, tribes demonstrate their distinctive traditions, and some participants set up tents for the weekend.
Each day offers a variety of entertainments, including four drum groups from throughout the region, dancers and storytellers.
There were at least 25 vendors at this year’s event, which Littlefield said helps area businesses because people buy food and rent local motel rooms.
Although there is an admission fee of $5 for adults, Littlefield’s daughter, Ellie Luce, said the family doesn’t make any profit from the event. All the money goes to pay for the powwow, such as portable-toilet rentals and emcee costs. Any left over is donated to charity, she said.
A collection was taken Saturday for the Graves family of Etna, who recently lost their home in a fire.
“We raised $144 in a couple of hours,” Ellie Luce said. The collection continued Sunday and was expected to run through today.
The gates open today at 10 a.m. and close at 3 p.m.
Organizing the event is both stressful and fun, she said.
Her father agreed.
“But at the end of it, it’s well worth it,” he said.