Colville Tribes host mini-powwow for firefighters and First Responders

NESPELEM – The Colville Confederated Tribes held a mini-powwow, July 27, for all of the fire fighters and first responders that were working on the Chuweah Creek Fire that burned 36,752 acres on the Colville Reservation.

The Tribe wanted to give thanks for all the hard work and hours spent by the fire fighters and first responders containing this fire, getting it under control and eventually contained - not to mention the countless homes that were saved in the process.  

“I’m humbled and appreciative of all that you’ve done on our behalf,” said Allison Ball, Colville Confederated Tribes Business Councilwoman who spoke at the event.

For Colville tribal member Dan Nanamkin, this was a special evening for him as he was the MC of the mini-powwow.

“Many of our homes were in danger. That’s why we’re here today to express our gratitude.” Nanamkin said. “I want to thank all these fire fighters. Thank all of you that are here. I’m honored to be here in front of all of you. It’s a major thing that you did for us, so thank you.”

Firefighters had the opportunity to get a sample of the Colville Native American culture, as they were able to take part in a variety of dances from grand entry to intertribal to the round dance to the owl dance.

The event kicked off with Veterans of the Colville Confederated Tribes leading the start of grand entry. Firestone, the drum group, kept the beat going well into the evening.

“It’s an honor to be here,” said Colville veteran Arnie Holt, who served in Vietnam for the 101st Airborne and led out fellow veterans for grand entry.

“I’m glad you guys are here to protect our homes, thank you,” said Jim Smith Colville Veteran who served in Vietnam.

In between dances, fire fighters had the opportunity to come up to the loudspeaker and introduce themselves and where they were from along with getting to sample some of the local food.

“Don’t be shy come get some fry bread,” said Nanamkin as he was talking to the fire fighters.

From close and far, firefighters from White Swan and Wapato to Oregon to Texas and Maui, Hawaii helped to save the homes of hundreds of tribal members.

As of Aug. 4, the Chuweah Creek fire is 90 percent contained.

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