Traditionally, American Indians have used the term "powwow" for any large gathering — including celebrations, ceremonies and meetings.
In recent times, the powwow has taken on new significance, as a way for tribes to celebrate and preserve their cultural identity and to expose the general public to authentic elements of American Indian culture, including traditional drumming, singing and dancing.
Spirit People Intertribal Family is once again inviting the public to celebrate the season as it presents its 2012 fall powwow Friday through Sunday at Starkey Ranch, 13139 Gladstone Drive, near the intersection of State Road 54 and Gunn Highway.
The seventh edition of the annual celebration of American Indian culture will begin at 10 a.m. each day, and will be open until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.
There will be drumming and dancing performances throughout the powwow. Guests can learn how these performances have interpretive meanings.
They can also buy drums, pipes and flutes, as well as other craft items and souvenirs, such as beadwork, leather crafts, jewelry and dreamcatchers.
Guests can see those crafts in practice, as many of the vendors will give demonstrations.
A flint knapper will teach the ancient skill of making spear and arrow points.
Award-winning flutist, storyteller and educator J. J. Kent will offer his talents at his teepee. One of the key parts of the Spirit People Tribal Family is the teepee campsite approximating what tribal life was like on the Great Plains. In the evenings, guests can sit by a fire and listen to stories.
The highlight of the powwow is the grand entry, a parade with traditional clothing, drumming and dancers during which warriors have traditionally been honored.
As always, the Spirit People Tribal Family powwow will follow what has become the modern variation on that tradition. Local veterans will lead the procession, carrying an eagle staff, followed by flag bearers carrying the American flag and the POW-MIA flag.
They will be followed by dancers in authentic American Indian regalia.
Grand entries are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, 1 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Food will be available, including Indian fry bread and "Indian tacos." There will also be 50-50 and other prize drawings and door prizes.
For information on the powwow, call (727) 495-3791.
A $4 per-person donation is requested at the gate. Children 12 and younger will be admitted free. Parking is free.