First-annual powwow has hundreds from Utah Indigenous tribes heading to Heber this weekend
The Intermountain Championships Powwow is happening at River’s Edge Campground just north of Heber this Saturday and Sunday.
Organizer Melāni Glass is the partnerships coordinator for Cultural Fire Events. She said to expect an abundance of performances, arts and food.
“We're trying to get people from all over the community to come and to observe and to participate,” she said. “There's going to be a lot of dancing and singing and spirit, as well as we have many vendors coming selling arts and crafts and jewelry.”
Planners said they expect 800 to 1,500 Indigenous people to attend and hope many more will also join. They said as many as 300 of those could be dancers.
Dancers wear traditional costumes, some items of which are family heirlooms of past generations valued at thousands of dollars. That’s according to Executive Director Jacob Crane.
Besides the ceremonies, he said the events help entrepreneurs expand their businesses beyond localized tribes. He said it's also a crucial way to keep traditions alive.
“I noticed over the years that powwows, they still happen, but some of them stopped happening,” Crane said. “As somebody who grew up away from their community, you have to have those strong cultural ties. As somebody who's operating and working in the Indigenous community, without those powwows, I wouldn't be doing that, and so my train of thought there was to create spaces so that we can get more Indigenous folks, young people especially, working for our communities.”
Cultural Fire Events became an official 501(c)-3 recently, which means it is a nonprofit.
Organizers hosted two other powwows in Moab and plan another there this October at the Old Spanish Trail Arena.
Cultural Fire Events also plans to start yearly powwows in Salt Lake City and St. George. Along with Heber City and Moab, planners said they want all four sites to be home to annual events.
The official grand entrance is at noon Saturday. Glass said some vendors will be ready for people to arrive as early as 11 a.m., and festivities last until 10 p.m. Sunday hours are noon to 4:30 p.m.
River’s Edge Campground is at 7000 Old Highway 40 in Heber City. Parking will be available on-site and nearby, accessible by the main road to the campground.
Tickets are $10 and are available at the entrance to the powwow.