The 7th Annual Aquinnah Wampanoag Powwow

Wenonah Madison of Aquinnah added the finishing touch to a pair of leather pants while Annie, Kate, and Alex Adams watched. — Photo by Lynn Christoffers

The Circle at the Gay Head Cliffs was pulsing with life over the weekend during the 7th Annual Aquinnah Wampanoag Powwow. Several hundred people attended on both Saturday and Sunday, either to observe or participate in the Native-American festival, expressed through dance, song, drumming, and food. The powwow’s purpose is to share and celebrate the culture of the first inhabitants of the land, while introducing that culture to those who arrived here later.

Participating this year were members of the Osage, Narragansett, Mashpee Wampanoag, Penobscot, and Aquinnah Wampanoag tribes.

Many of the participants were dressed in traditional clothing that represented different peoples and different eras. Drumming was provided by four groups, two from Maine and both the Mashpee and Aquinnah Wampanoags.

A drum roll call and the registration of dancers each day preceded a Grand Entry at 12 noon. Then came Intertribal and Exhibition dancing, followed by less formal dancing, all to the rhythm and singing of the drummers. Each day ended with a closing ceremony.