With eye on future Cowlitz shift powwow closer to reservation

first_imgThe Cowlitz Indian Tribe will bring its 19th annual powwow to the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds on Saturday. That’s after 18 years of holding the event in the high school gym in the tiny town of Toledo, which is about an hour up the freeway from Vancouver.“They wanted to keep the powwow close to the original property and accessible by the elders” who live in tribal housing in Toledo, said tribal spokeswoman Abriel Johnny-Rodriguez. “But the powwow has outgrown what Toledo is capable of. Now that we have the reservation, and it’s closer to the actual Cowlitz homeland, we wanted to have the powwow on the reservation.”The Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds is very close, but chances are good that, within the next few years, the powwow will be held at or near ilani, which is a stone’s throw farther north up the freeway and, as of the 2015 legal ruling that cleared the way for casino construction, the actual Cowlitz Indian Reservation.“We may build a new cultural center there or we may see what spaces are available” in the existing ilani building, said Johnny-Rodriguez, who added that this weekend’s powwow will be the very first time that some Cowlitz tribal leaders have visited Clark County, their reservation land and ilani.“We just figured, we’ll go ahead now” at the event center, she said. “Before many more years, we’ll be able to move it onto the reservation.”last_img read more