40th Annual Labor Day Pow-wow at Puyallup: A Time for Native Heritage and Joy

40th Annual Labor Day Pow-wow at Puyallup: A Time for Native Heritage and Joy


Join the fun and festivities at the 40th Annual Labor Day Pow-wow at Puyallup.

A fun time for the whole family, the annual pow-wow is a chance to celebrate Native heritage and experience the joy of our communities with the whole family.

Puyallup Tribal member and Elder Sharron Nelson has been on the pow-wow committee for 40 years. Along with Jim Young, Sr. (committee chair), and Lauren Butler (administration), these tribal members help create a weekend of fun and joy every year, giving the Puyallup Tribe and larger Native community the chance to celebrate our histories and traditions.

“It’s one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see,” Nelson said of the annual event.

This celebration is hosted and run entirely by Tribal members, and gives other Natives from across the nation a chance to visit and share their cultures, featuring Native American Arts and Crafts from people originating throughout Turtle Island.

In addition to the Arts and Crafts, visitors can find great food—fry bread, wild huckleberry ice cream and many other traditional foods, including a salmon dinner. Tribal member Eddie Butler cooks this traditional dinner every year.

Make sure to stop by Saturday, August 31 between 5 – 7 p.m. for a homemade salmon dinner for only $5.

The main draw of any pow-wow is the dancing. For many Tribal members, especially our Elders, pow-wow dancing brings immense joy and pride. “I used to dance, I love to pow-wow dance. I raised my kids in the pow-wow circle,” Nelson recalled. “It’s the fun of my life.”

In addition to the beauty and fun of pow-wows, these events provide an opportunity for Native people to come together and experience the power of our histories.

“It’s a very spiritual thing,” Nelson said. “It teaches Natives to be proud of their heritage, to walk an honorable path in life. It teaches our kids good morals and to respect your elders and treat people kindly. The competition dancing gives the kids con dence in themselves. It’s a good way to raise your family, and teaches positive things about being a Native American.”

For Puyallup people in specific, Nelson finds great pride in the annual event.

“It gives me pride in being a Puyallup Indian to put together this beautiful Native American cultural event that is one of the nicest ones in the Northwest,” she said. “And it gives me joy and pride to help with it. I’m sure my other committee members all feel the same.”

Invite your family and friends down to Chief Leschi Schools August 30 – September 1 for the 40th Annual Labor Day Pow-wow.

Puyallup Tribal Elder Sharron Nelson is pow-wow ready. Photo curtesy of Nelson.