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School powwow honors culture

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The Mission School District held a powwow open to the community on Friday to honor the school’s annual Cultural Awareness Day.

Rose Bear Don’t Walk, the school’s Salish language teacher, said the event brings native and nonnative people together to experience culture. “We bring those two world views together and have fun,” she said. “Culture is beautiful and vibrant and we want to share that.”

After the grand entry circled the gym, the flags were set, and honor songs were sung. Retiring teachers and staff were acknowledged for their service. The high school seniors were recognized for their work. Emcee Ben Corral said the students were getting ready to graduate and this was their last school powwow.

Four drum groups played while people participated in different dance styles. The youngest drum group included elementary students that have practiced drumming for several months to get ready for the event. They call themselves the Que Qui Singers. And they put in a lot of work to get their sound just right.

“We learned to stay on beat,” said Jayden Simmons, 10. He said the trick to memorizing the songs is to listen to them until they are stuck in your head. He plans to keep practicing and wants to participate in next year’s powwow.

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