STORY WRITTEN BY EVAN BRANDT
@PottstownNews on Twitter
POTTSTOWN >> When Ron Williams was growing up out west, he lost touch with his native American roots.
His father has a background in the Ute tribe and his mother, Mexican and Apache, but Williams said it wasn’t until he came to Pottstown that he began to take more of an interest in his heritage.
“I was at the burial memorial near the Schuylkill River and I suddenly felt a real loneliness,” Williams said.
What that loneliness inspired him to do was to establish an annual Pow-Wow in Pottstown’s Memorial Park that in its first two years, attracted thousands and ensures that anyone with an interest in Native American heritage has a way to get in touch with it.
Like last year’s event, the first day of the Pow-Wow, May 7, coincides with the May Day events at Pottsgrove Manor, a colonial-era celebration at the preserved homestead of Pottstown founder John Potts right across King Street from the park.
“It makes for a really fun day, there is so much to do. It’s a really good day to visit Pottstown” said Williams, who also serves on the Pottstown School Board.
“They send historic re-enactors over to the Pow-Wow and we send dancers and musicians over there,” he said.
This year, Williams has partnered with the Circle Legacy Center for the Pow-Wow on Manatawny Creek, as it is officially named, a Native American organization with wider regional ties.
“So we’re hearing from a few more drums (which is what a musical drumming and dancing group is called) that they want to come this year,” said Williams.
On both days of the Pow-Wow, May 7 and May 8, gates open at 10 a.m., where visitors can check out the dozen vendors and food truck — Martha’s Soup Coup, which features buffalo burgers, Indian fry bread, tacos and wojapi (a pudding-like dessert) — but things really get going at the Grand Entrance, which occurs at noon on both days.
Entrances fees this year have been reduced to just $5, which provides access to all the vendors and a day’s worth of dancing, and active duty members of the armed services and children under 6 are admitted free.
As a special treat, on May 8, all mother’s are admitted free and mothers and the sacrifices of those in the armed forces will be recognized in a special ceremony.
As in previous years ArtFusion 19464 will be hosting our children’s events and the silent auction. They will also be hosting a special event for veterans Saturday, from 1-3pm.
Check out https://nativeheritagespirit.com/for more information about the event.
Maybe, like Williams, you will be inspired to start a family tree.
“I’ve reconnected with people in my family who I haven’t heard from in years. I’m really exploring my legacy.”
Now, thanks to the Pow Wow on the Mantawny, you can explore it as well.