Native American Indian Dancer, dance during ceremony.
By Ricky Martin and Rhonda Haney Photos by Anna Diehl
Friday, July 22, 2011
White City VA Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinic (SORCC) was host to the 14th Annual Rogue Valley Veterans Pow Wow during the first weekend in June 2011. Members of the SORCC Stakeholder Council (SORCC residents) volunteered many hours to assure the event was successful. The event was open and free to the public and there were hundreds of Native Americans and non-Natives in attendance.
The Pow Wow kicked off Saturday morning with a Traditional Gourd dance and story followed a little later by a Grand Entry led by carriers of the Eagle Staff and our Nation’s flag. Native American prayer and traditional songs immediately followed the Grand Entry. Those participating in the Grand Entry included Native Americans from all parts of the country in full regalia and all Veterans were invited to join in the entry. Both days opened in similar fashion. This year all Veterans received a medallion to thank them for their service to our country and to welcome them home. The medallion was designed and produced in the Laser Engraving CWT shop. Venders sold arts and crafts and Native American drum groups and Native American dancers from all over the Northwest participated in the event.
All experienced the honorings, dances, and traditional ceremony. Over the 14year history, the Pow Wow Committee has been committed to providing Veterans at the SORCC and from around the Northwest with access to healing and restoration through the experience of Native American practice, acknowledgement, and fellowship.
Prior to the Pow Wow there was a special Sweat Lodge conducted Thursday evening and Elders from several tribes came together for a pipe ceremony in a traditional teepee, on the ball field at VA SORCC. These tribal elders came together for the spiritual healing of the pipe and to promote inter-tribal unity throughout the region.
The VA SORCC is proud of its commitment to culture sharing. The annual Rogue Valley Veterans Pow Wow provides an opportunity for residents in rehabilitation programs at the SORCC and citizens of the greater Rogue Valley to experience the beauty, pageantry and spirituality of this traditional Native American gathering.
Part of the healing quality of the Pow Wow comes from the focus on service to family, community and country. Native American storytellers weave the idea of the spiritual nature of service to others as a key element in recovery. These qualities are also highly valued in the VA SORCC rehabilitation mission. The residents of the SORCC who helped the elders and children find their way, or served up “Indian Tacos”, or helped set up and tear down the tents and shelters, displayed the healing power of community. The Pow Wow offers a beautiful display of how Veterans can experience healing by helping others.
The Rogue Valley Veterans Pow Wow Committee wishes to thank the VA SORCC, SORCC Stakeholder council, the residents and staff for all their help and all Veterans, families, and business for their support and attendance to the 14th Annual Rogue Valley Veterans Pow Wow. The success of this event is directly related to the combined efforts of everyone.