THE METIS NATION FLAG.
THE ANNUAL ST. KATERI TEKAKWITHA POW WOW will be held July 2-4 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville. The gates open at 10 a.m. each day, with a suggested donation of $8 per person and $6 for seniors. For more information, contact the Metis Nation chief, Robert Ross, at (607) 776-6776 or metisnnaandca@gmail.com.
THE METIS NATION FLAG.

THE ANNUAL ST. KATERI TEKAKWITHA POW WOW will be held July 2-4 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville. The gates open at 10 a.m. each day, with a suggested donation of $8 per person and $6 for seniors. For more information, contact the Metis Nation chief, Robert Ross, at (607) 776-6776 or metisnnaandca@gmail.com.
"It's sort of like a family reunion," said Mary Ann Delany of the annual St. Kateri Tekakwitha Pow Wow.

Ms. Delany is part of the Metis Nation, the North American and Canadian Bands. The St. Kateri Pow Wow will be held July 1-4 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs in Auriesville.

The Metis Nation, which is hosting the celebration, is a Native American clan primarily from Canada, but including parts of the northern United States.

The pow wow is a meeting of area people, with dancing, singing, eating and other activities. Some traditional pow wows are open exclusively to the host nation; the St. Kateri pow wow is open to the general public.

Featuring crafts for the children, an auction and a trade blanket -- a custom in which participants bring an item to trade with someone else at the gathering -- the event is a chance for people unfamiliar with Native American culture to experience it firsthand.

"It's a very patriotic community," Ms. Delany said, noting that the pow wow revolves around appreciation of Native American warrior culture. The celebration starts with a dance in which military veterans gather and dance in a circle. A master of ceremonies explains the ritual for onlookers.

"It's honoring veterans. It's a warrior society," said Ms. Delany. "Without the warriors, we don't remain who we are. Unfortunately, in our society, we don't honor our warriors enough. We don't put the placement of importance on their sacrifice like the native culture does."

During the dance, she said, the veterans walk in a circle and then they walk back the other way, symbolizing that soldiers are never left behind.

Because the pow wow is a way for Native American people to gather and meet one another, many participants wear traditional regalia -- usually homemade, featuring elements of nature, colorful ribbons and other ornamentation.

But "it's not a costume," Ms. Delany stressed, so visitors are asked not to take photographs of people dressed in regalia unless they've asked permission.

The pow wow has been held at several locations in past years, but none as significant as the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs, which is the birthplace of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, who was of the Mohawk Nation. St. Kateri was canonized in 2012 and is one of the points of pride for people of the Albany Diocese and of Native American ancestry.

"I think she'll be very pleased with all that attend," said Ms. Delany, who is excited to gather with her family at the shrine. At the pow wow, she will sell her animal-themed artwork alongside other vendors.

Many of her t-shirts, tote bags and hats feature images of the turtle, which symbolizes Mother Earth in Native American cultures.

The pow wow is always "a good time," Ms. Delany said. "It's really uplifting. There's always a little space for shade for elders and those with disabilities."