EUGENE, Ore. -- The Mother's Day Powwow at the University of Oregon received a new honor for its 50th anniversary. The powwow, which is the oldest off-reservation powwow in Oregon, has been designated as an Oregon Heritage Tradition by the Oregon Heritage Commission.
The Mother's Day Powwow started in 1969 as a way for the Native American Student Union (NASU) to help indigenous students strengthen cultural values while at the university and to support educational success of the Native American community.
Over the years, NASU members decided that the UO's powwow should honor the contributions of all mothers and set the annual date for Mother's Day weekend.
"For Native Americans, mothers are life givers. It's pretty funny because Europeans came across and ethnographers came through, and they wanted to talk to the chiefs, but it was really mothers who were most important in our culture and within our societies," said Jason Younker, Coquille Tribal member.
Over 8,000 participants are expected to attend the three-day, family-friendly event, including Native American alumni who gather to honor the graduating students.
The powwow kicks of Friday, May 11, at 6 p.m. with a parade to McArthur Court. Grand entry is scheduled at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, at McArthur Court. The Mother's Day Salmon Fest is Sunday, May 13, at 12 p.m. at the Many Nations Longhouse at 1630 Columbia Street in Eugene. All events are free.