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Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow returns for 28th year

A steady drum beat could be heard all afternoon on Sept. 21 on the Fort Omaha Campus of Metropolitan Community College. The drums were accompanied by traditional songs and dancers from various Native American tribes. 

The drums, dancers and songs on the MCC Parade Ground signaled the return of the Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow. In its 28th year, the powwow continues to unite tribes from all over the region and educate the public on the culture of each tribe.

Diane Good-Collins, director of the MCC 180 Re-Entry program and part of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and Ojibway, welcomed visitors to the College and thanked them for coming together for the day. 

“Thank you to the natives for welcoming me into your lives today,” she said. “The powwow has developed into one of the most respected in the community. Thank you for working with MCC and thank you again for bringing your traditions in and around us today.”
This year’s powwow had special meaning, occurring just days after Ponca Chief Standing Bear had a bronze statue unveiled in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall. In the late 1800s, Standing Bear was held at Fort Omaha while he won the court case that would see Native Americans recognized as persons in the United States.  

Different tribes, including Omaha, Ponca, Winnebago and more, took turns performing songs and dances in the arena. 

Steve Tamayo, who has helped organize the intertribal powwow and whose grandson, Izzy, was the head male dancer at this year’s, said it was amazing to see different tribal traditions, languages and practices being performed in a public space.

“Thank you to each and every one of you for coming here,” he said to the crowd. “This is a way to honor these people. A lot of my relatives had to go underground with their language and dancing. It’s awesome to gather and celebrate who we are.” 

Along with watching traditional dance performances, visitors had the opportunity to shop at various vendors, eat food from food trucks and tents, complete arts and crafts, learn more about the Raptor Recovery program at Fontenelle Forest and see what the inside of a teepee looked like. The powwow also featured children’s activities. 

The 28th annual Fort Omaha Intertribal Powwow is made possible with the support of Douglas County, Nebraska, the Nebraska Arts Council and Nebraska Cultural Endowment.