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Native tribes sponsor Expo '74 + 50 anniversary events

Inland Northwest Native American tribes will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Spokane’s Expo ’74 this weekend with a two-day powwow at the Convention Center.

Visitors will experience a variety of traditional and special dances and drumming, with several drum groups from around the nation participating.

“The tribes are going to do cultural displays with tipis and tulle mat tipis, educational experiences for teachers and professors.” said Margo Hill, a Spokane Tribal member and Eastern Washington University urban planning professor who is chairing a series of “Tribal Pillar” events honoring the world’s fair.

The powwow is free and open to the public.

Hill says the region’s tribes have donated thousands of dollars to co-sponsor a series of cultural and academic events that will continue during the month of June.

“We’re also going to have a music festival and a fashion show at the Riverfront Park pavilion (June 13) and a performing arts theater group at Spokane Community College (June 14),” she said.

Arts and culture is one of the pillars of the tribal series. The environment is another.

“We’re going to have environmental history tours, where we talk about the [Spokane] river and our environmental issues, but also historical tours,” Hill said. “We’re going to talk about not only some of the battles of 1855 and 1857 [between tribes and the U.S. Cavalry], but also Chief Spokane Garry’s homesite.”

The series will finish with a Native and environmental film festival at the Garland Theater on June 28 and 29.

Hill says the region’s tribes sometimes disagree about issues, but they are united when it comes to commemorating Expo ’74.

“One of my cousins who’s going to be serving as emcee said, ‘You know, we were one of the last people to be invited to the world’s fair to participate and all the international people loved it.’ My brother was dancing and he remembers Olga Korbut, the famous Russian gymnast. She wanted to have a picture with him so he kind of thought that was cool. But there are so many memories we have,” she said.

You can find more about these and other Expo ’74 50th celebration events here.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.