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Annual Pow Wow returns to Newhall

Posted: September 28, 2013 4:38 p.m.
Updated: September 28, 2013 4:38 p.m.

U.S. Marine and Korean War veteran Saginaw Grant of Oklahoma wearing a traditional otter skin headdress, participates in the Gourd Dance during the 20th annual Hart of the West Pow Wow held at William S. Hart Park in Newhall on Saturday. Signal photo by Dan Watson

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SANTA CLARITA - The low thunder of a drum beat cuts through the air.

From the drumbeat is born a rising harmonious noise. Bells begin to jingle. Rattles, held firmly in hand, are vigorously shaken.

Low-throated singing breaks out. Dancers, clad in colorful and elaborate regalia marking their heritage and pride, begin to move throughout the central arena at William S. Hart Park in Newhall.

The annual Hart of the West Pow Wow has returned to the Santa Clarita Valley.

The event, now in its 20th year, is both a celebration of Native American culture and a nod to William S. Hart’s admiration and fondness for the Native American tradition, said Norm Phillips, superintendent of Hart Park.

Phillips estimated that between 8,000 and 9,000 people will attend the two-day event this weekend.

One of those in the crowd was Myriah Daniels, who had come to visit the Newhall Library and stumbled upon the event by chance.

It was the second time in as many years she has happened upon the event, said Daniels.

“When I heard this was going on again, I jammed over here,” she said as she sat in a shady area near the drummers. “And when you sit next to these drum circles, I cry like there’s no tomorrow.”

Before any dancing took place in the arena, Ted Garcia, the spiritual adviser for the event, blessed it and the dancers.
He will also bless and offer advice to attendees who ask for it, he said.

Garcia, who is a member of the Tataviam people who first inhabited the Santa Clarita Valley, said he also blesses his family in the same way.

“I’m just a man,” he said. “But it is an honor to be able to pray and bless this arena and be able to bless the people.
“But it’s a big responsibility as well,” he added, watching dancers move about the arena.

The Pow Wow ran from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and continues from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. It includes traditional Native American dances, craft vendors and food.

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