(Photo: East Coast Pow Wow, Nansemond)
The hottest pow wow this summer in Lenape Hoking may have been the Queens Farm Pow wow in late July. Queens Farm has been one of the hottest Indigenous events in New York City, and the nationwide heatwave made it even hotter.
None of this dissuaded our household from attending. The Queens Farm Pow Wow has the most food vendors for its size of any pow wow I’ve ever attended, which means no waiting in lines for food or refreshments. There are outdoor tables under the trees in which to enjoy your meal.
Queens County Farm Museum is a working farm, the last remaining farm in New York City. Its 56 acres of green open space, cornfields, orchards, vineyards and vegetable gardens is a perfect atmosphere for a pow wow.
As a veteran, I carried the U.S. flag in Grand Entry. The drum group was Kiowa, from the west, as was the emcee, who works at the Smithsonian. He noted that 40,000 Indigenous people reside in New York Ctiy, most with origins in other parts of the Americas.
Many of the vendors were local. The Shinnecock food vendor, Native Soul, had a large menu. I especially enjoyed the catfish, a dish that’s been harder to find these days. (even Cracker Barrel stopped selling it.)
Queens County is home to the Matinecock, one of the last remaining Tribes Indigenous to New York City. Chief Harry Wallace of the Unkachaug people on eastern Long Island told a story about two local Matinecock boys who died at Carlisle Indian school. The drum group played an honor song and the audience was asked to stand in respect in honor of the two boys.
We reconnected with old friends, fewer than we expected, as attendance was much lower than in the pre-covid area. But its great to see the pow wow community is still here for us to enjoy.