The actual word "powwow" comes from an English alteration of the Narragansett word "powwaw" or "pawwaw," which meant a spiritual leader. Europeans may have misinterpreted the word to mean a form of gathering, as its known today. Anyway, the Narragansett have held this August Meeting, 1 of 13 thanksgiving celebrations they honor throughout the year, on the second weekend of August and have done so since pre-contact. In 2020, tribal leaders have decided to cancel the powwow due to safety precautions and to prevent large gatherings. This saddens many Narragansett people but health concerns are at an all time high amidst the coronavirus. The Narragansett are a group who are at risk but often find themselves swept under the rug or put on a backburner and forgotten about by the outside world. So 2020 will not see Narragansett people coming home this weekend to spend time at the powwow, however, the idea of a virtual event online could be one way to still connect for this powwow. Several other tribes and Indigenous organizations have done this and it has been successful. Anyone who would want to still dance in regalia or drum and sing, can still record themselves doing so and share it to the powwow event page on Facebook. Its not the same, but it is one option to maintain this annual tradition, at least in some form. Anyone interested, go to the link: facebook.com/events/s/345th-annual-august-meeting-po/1397872270422267.
Celebrating August Meeting 2020 virtually. COVID-19 has forced many large gatherings to be cancelled for the general...Posted by Tomaquag Museum on Saturday, August 8, 2020
Brian Lightfoot Brown is an enrolled citizen of the Narragansett Tribe. This opinion is his own.
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