HAVERHILL — The 31st annual Native American Intertribal Pow-Wow will happen at the Plug Pond Recreation Area this weekend.
This family-friendly event, sponsored by the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness and the city’s Recreation Department, has become one of most popular fall events in the Merrimack Valley.
Visitors can immerse themselves in Native American art and culture while experiencing food, music, dance, crafts, storytelling and other traditions that are part of this cultural-educational event. Gates will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and sit back to enjoy various dance-style demonstrations.
The public, especially children, will be encouraged to join in on some of the inter-tribal dancing.
Drumming and singing will be performed by the Iron River Singers of southeastern Massachusetts and the Split Feather Singers from Massachusetts and Vermont.
The emcee is Annawon Weeden, Mashpee Wampanoag, one of the most sought-after speakers on Eastern Woodlands culture who previously worked at Plimoth Plantation as a museum interpreter and cultural outreach educator.
He will keep visitors informed of what is happening throughout the day and educate the public on some of the local Native American history and the eastern woodlands peoples.
The Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli Aztec Dance Troupe will perform ancient Aztec dances that honor centuries of indigenous culture and tradition.
All dances are accompanied by one or two standing drums.
The Kasibahagua Taino Cultural Society will perform both days. This intertribal, intergenerational organization of indigenous Caribbean singers, musicians, speakers, and artists is dedicated to transmitting their ancestral heritage to present and future generations.
Loril Moon Dream and Peter White Fox will invite visitors inside their tipi and storytelling and craft-making will happen around the tipi at specific times throughout the day. There will also be self-directed games.
Visitors can take a free guided kayak or canoe ride around the shoreline of the pond throughout the day. The powwow passport program will be available for children to encourage them to meet and talk with native guides and document what they learned.
Special craft demonstrations will be performed by Julia Marden of the Aquinnah Wampanoag tribe, Marlene Lopez of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and Irene Strong Oak of Maliseet/Mi’kmaq descent.
Marden will demonstrate 17th century traditional twined basket weaving. Lopez will demonstrate the art of traditional 17th century finger weaving. Strong Oak will demonstrate hand-drum making. Their work will be on display and for sale.
There will be one 30-minute interactive workshop each day by Claudia Fox Tree. One topic will focus on developing a counter narrative to inaccurate history and misinformation about Native Americans. The other will focus on indigenous contributions to history and contemporary society. The presentations begin around 11:30 a.m. each day.
A resource table will offer educational information, event flyers, newsletters, membership applications and brochures. T-shirts and patches with the MCNAA logo will also be for sale, along with jewelry, rattles, shawls, handmade children’s drums and other items.
Native American food and American fare will be available all day.
Suggested donation is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and $3 for children ages 4 to 12. Children 3 and younger are admitted free.
No pets, drugs, alcohol or coolers are allowed.