Annual Pow Wow

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Annual Pow Wow
Nationally Acclaimed Pow Wow set for 3rd Weekend in July
By Emily Knitter


         The Marvin “Joe” Curry Veterans Pow Wow, held at the Veterans Memorial Park in Salamanca, NY, will be held this year July 14-16. It is an annual Pow Wow in honor of our veterans, and is rated one of the top 10 Pow Wows in the country and is the largest smoke dance in North America.

   An opportunity for non-Native Americans to learn and celebrate the Native American culture, the Pow Wow is named in honor of “Joe,” a member of the Seneca Nation’s Snipe Clan and was born on the Cattaraugus Territory. He was a member of the Iroquois Post #1587 and served in several positions with them. He started serving in the military in 1950 and served two tours of duty during the Korean War and also served in the Vietnam War. During his active duty in the Navy, he served on eight warships, including the U. S. S. Little Rock. He retired in 1997. Throughout his career, he earned numerous honors.

   The smoke dance most likely originated when the Six Nations that comprise the Haudenosaunee (Seneca being one) had dances that would help warriors prepare for battle; once nations stopped warring, the dances became ceremonial, an honoring of those who came before. These dances, originally done solely by men, were slow, heavy, and dramatic, meant to incite or mimic the bravery required on the battlefield. Over time, as war dances had lost their original impetus, these dances became known as smoke dances. The dance’s rebirth also allowed it to become more open, and today both men and women compete in Smoke Dance.

   The annual Pow Wow is possible through the hard work of Iroquois Post 1587 as well as support from the Seneca Nation and the Seneca Allegany Casino. Tickets are $5 on Friday night for all ages, Saturday and Sunday tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students 5-17 years old and Seniors (60+), and $15 two-day tickets are available. Active Duty Military and Veterans are free with I.D., as well as children 4 and under. For more information, please visit or call (716) 532-8333.