“We feel every day is indigenous day for us, so it’s not anything any different,” said Warm Springs Prevention Manager T.J. Foltz. “So it’s just a way for us to get together.”
Indigenous Peoples Day was Monday, but due to a death in the tribe, the scheduled powwow put on by the Warm Springs Prevention team was postponed to Wednesday.
“Being indigenous means we get to carry on the way that our ancestors didn’t,” said Opioid Prevention Coordinator Jaycelene Brisbois. “They were punished for being native. They were punished for speaking the language, and here we are privileged. We get to do that freely, and we get to teach it to our kids.”
Before the powwow began, the prevention teams set up 300 pumpkins in the front lawn for kids to take home and several activities to participate in.
“One of our coworkers had the idea of where they wanted to go to the pumpkin patch, but we decided to bring the pumpkin patch to Warm Springs so to speak,” said Foltz.
Pumpkins, food, dancing, and music weren’t the only things getting attention.
The prevention team says they wanted to gauge how the community feels about the reservations’ opioid crisis.
“Fentanyl has hit our community, and we just really want to educate our community, but we also want to collect the data to show that we do have an opioid crisis here in Warm Springs, and the community is noticing, and the community is ready to take action,” said Brisbois.
As the night went on, jingle dresses were heard, the beating of the drums started and the moves of traditional dancing began.
“Culture is something that we really value. We noticed the kids that are involved in our cultural traditions, they are less likely to be involved in substances, they are less likely to be negatively peer pressured, they are less likely to do a lot of those harmful things that we don’t want them to do,” said Brisbois.