FROM THE ARCHIVE

NMAI pow-wow saved from fry bread disaster

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2002

The following is a press release issued today by the office of Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.). We did not make this up.

BINGAMAN STEPS IN TO ENSURE FRY BREAD CAN BE SERVED AT POW WOW ON WASHINGTON MALL

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today stepped in to ensure that fry bread can be served at a two-day pow wow on the National Mall in Washington, DC next weekend.

When Bingaman learned from the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that that National Park Service was dragging its feet on issuing necessary permits for Navajos and other Native Americans that would have allowed them to sell fry bread and other food at the pow wow, he began working with the agency.

Bingaman told the National Park Service that in many instances it was going to be impossible for fry bread vendors to produce required certifications proving they operate as "licensed food establishments" or that they have been certified by their states. He pointed out that many of the fry bread makers are not affiliated with restaurants and therefore would have no need for such certifications. The National Park Service ultimately agreed to work with the vendors to find another way to comply with the agency's requirements and authorized the permits.

"Fry bread is a tradition in Indian communities across America and I can't imagine barring it from a major occasion like this one, especially since it is the inaugural pow wow on the National Mall. A pow wow is not a pow wow without Indian food prepared by Indian people," Bingaman said.

Bingaman is the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the National Park Service.

Relevant Links:
Sen. Jeff Bingaman - http://bingaman.senate.gov
National Museum of the American Indian Pow-wow - http://www.nmai.si.edu/powwow/index.html