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Annual Pow Wow Honors Native American Culture

HILLSGROVE TOWNSHIP, Pa. — The rain couldn’t keep people away from an annual cultural event in Sullivan County on Sunday. The beating of drums echoe...

HILLSGROVE TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The rain couldn't keep people away from an annual cultural event in Sullivan County on Sunday.

The beating of drums echoed through the Sullivan County Fairgrounds marking the 29th Annual Forksville Pow Wow.

"The pow wow is actually for sharing and showing other people our ways of life," said Sun Wolf David Forgas.

The gathering, hosted by the Eastern Delaware Nations, brings together those of Native American heritage, as well as the outside community to celebrate the culture.

"There's certain times of the year that native people get together and celebrate on their livelihood and their traditions, their culture, to keep it alive," explained Matthew White Eagle of Hazelton.

Despite the rainy weather, many came in traditional clothing representing their tribe.

Many of the elaborate outfits take years to put together.

"I'm wearing Northeastern Woodlands attire. I got my leggings, I got my breechcloth, and my ribbon shirt, and my porcupine hair roach," said Forgas. He also carries a turtle shell for medicine around his neck.

Sunday's pow wow is an inter-tribal gathering, meaning people from all different tribes from all over the area come together to honor and celebrate their ancestors.

"It's a part of who we are. I mean, these ceremonies have been passed down for hundreds and hundreds of years, way before the Vikings showed up, way before Columbus showed up," added White Eagle.

Within the arena, dancers honored their ancestors, as well as veterans who served in the armed forces and first responders. In the middle of the arena is the sacred fire. This has been burning for over 25 years. It is carried by a fire keeper everywhere he goes, and he keeps the embers alive all year long.

"He takes the embers from that and has a specific container that he puts it in and it does not go out," said White Eagle.

Next weekend, another pow wow will be held in Danville. For more information on the event, click here.