Sometimes event promoters talk about economic impact and how a dollar invested can "turn over” several times. For some reason that scenario came to mind as Star Yellowfish told me about the upcoming Eagles in Flight Powwow sponsored by Oklahoma City School District’s Native American Student Services. But it had nothing to do with money. Instead, Yellowfish, the district’s director of Native American Student Services, explained how this powwow has an impact that turns over many times. On average, there are 2,000 American Indian students enrolled in the district each year with more than 45 tribes represented. So here’s the investment: In addition to about 20 students who will dance in American Indian regalia at the powwow, another 30 to 50 will serve as volunteers. "I think it’s important for several reasons specifically for our school district,” Yellowfish said. "It gives our department and our Indian community a chance to educate non-Indians, and especially a lot of the administrators, about their Indian students’ culture.” For American Indian parents who might not travel to a powwow or a tribal community event, it also provides a chance to see their children dancing and being encouraged. "Most importantly,” she said, "I think it’s important for our students to have that kind of event within their own school district and see that their school district promotes it and endorses it. "We really try to push a lot of cultural pride and build self-esteem, and hopefully it translates in the classroom.” Whether the dance category is traditional, jingle or fancy shawl, the experience is memorable for participants as well as spectators. Yellowfish hopes participation in the powwow leads students to become involved in other activities. "Through the different programs that we have,” she said, "they learn powwow etiquette; they learn dancing; they learn gourd dancing. "So this, the powwow, is a time for them to kind of really showcase what they’ve learned.”
• What: Eagles in Flight Powwow
• When: 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday
• Where: John Marshall High School, 12201 N Portland Ave.
• Who: Oklahoma City School District students