By Molly Bryant, Puyallup Tribal News
Following a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Puyallup Tribe’s annual Wellness Powwow and Holiday Bazaar made a triumphant return on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Chief Leschi Schools. The event commenced with the Puyallup Tribal Veterans posting the colors during Grand Entry at both 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
One of the main purposes of the powwow was to promote overall wellness within the community. Puyallup Tribal Health Authority (PTHA) employees participated, hosting an information booth and overseeing a raffle drawing for various prizes.
Attendees also had the opportunity to explore informational booths from various Puyallup Tribal departments, including Human Resources, Kwawachee Counseling Center and PTHA. They were encouraged to participate in a “wellness challenge,” with organizers providing guides on topics such as health insurance, healthy eating and flu prevention.
The main events included a drum and dance competition, a royalty contest, an ugly sweater contest and powwow specials. The featured head boy and girl, who danced throughout the event, were Puyallup Tribal members Jeremiah Wahchumwah and Emma EagleSpeaker.
“(The Wellness Powwow) makes everybody feel better,” Norma EagleSpeaker, chair of the powwow committee, said. She added it is a great time for community members to get together, dance and see loved ones.
The powwow floor was bustling as community members of all ages danced. Stealing the hearts of the attendees were the tiny tots, small children who danced to their heart’s content in their colorful regalia.
The Wellness Powwow was in collaboration with the Chief Leschi seniors for the first time. All proceeds from the Holiday Bazaar went to the CLS senior class. “We have to show them that we’re here for them and support them,” said Laricia Garcia, a longtime member of the Wellness Powwow committee.
Many holiday-themed items were sold in the CLS little gym, along with Native-designed and inspired goods.
The Wellness Powwow has experienced significant growth since its inception as the Takopid Powwow in the 1990s. It was renamed the Puyallup Tribal Wellness Powwow in 2010.
Looking ahead, EagleSpeaker and Garcia anticipated holding Wellness Powwows during the first Saturday of December, marking a shift from previous years when the event occurred in September.
“We want to improve it,” Garcia said. “Each year we want to improve as we grow and promote wellness in our community so that we are here for many more generations to come,” she added.
To contribute ideas or suggestions for next year’s Wellness Powwow, email email@example.com.
Royalty Contest Winners
Wellness Kiya: Grace Ann Byrd
Wellness Sapa: Jose Landrie
Wellness Queen: Cherish Carillo
Jr. Wellness Princess: Michelle Lamere