EUGENE, Ore. - The annual Mother’s Day Powwow kicked off on Friday, May 11, with a grand entry parade and blessing and dedication of a University of Oregon building.
One of the UO’s newer residence halls, Kalapuya Ilihi received a traditional blessing ceremony and dedication. The hall has been open since September, but staff said they wanted this ceremony to be at a time when both students and native residents could attend.
Staff said this building is such an important step for the UO to continue being a leader in Native American representation. They said so many other campuses, natives don’t feel welcome, but Oregon has worked hard to overcome that.
"We never really have been welcome onto campuses and universities. The University of Oregon, however, has been very, very welcoming," said Jason Younker, the assistant vice president of sovereignty in government relations for the UO.
The annual Mother’s Day Powwow received the honor this year, their 50th year, of being designated as an Oregon Heritage Tradition. It’s the oldest off-reservation Powwow in the state, and it’s been put on by the Native American Student Union since 1969.
"We can all reflect on how much growth the university has seen. So it's a good time for that reason alone," said Chris Mercier, with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.
The Powwow is all about celebrating mothers. Organizers said mothers are so important in Native culture and worth celebrating. They’re not just the bearers of life, but so much more.
The rest of the weekend will be full of activities to celebrate Mother’s Day. On Saturday, May 12, there will be two grand entries at noon and 7 p.m. And on Sunday, May 13, Mother's Day, there will be a Salmon Feast at the Many Nations Longhouse at noon.