It began as a weekly youth enrichment program to remind children of their cultural heritage. Now, four decades later, the Denver March Powwow is one of the largest annual celebrations of American Indian culture in the country, representing close to 100 tribes from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. According to its organizers, the focus on children remains. “Our origins were with youth, and we remain in that basis,” said Ken LaDeaux, president of the Denver March Powwow board. “At that early age, it begins education about the diversity of tribes in the U.S. — we have over 500.”American Indians participate in the Denver March Powwow’s Grand Entrance on March 21 at the Denver Coliseum in Denver, Colo. Hundreds of people were part of the event. (Jamie Cotten, Special to The Denver Post)More than 1,000 dancers are taking part in the powwow, which began Friday and lasts through Sunday at the Denver Coliseum. The dancers represent a variety of tribes, dance styles and age groups — ranging from the “Golden Age,” 60-plus dancers to the 6-and-under “Tiny Tots.”Grace Gillette, the powwow’s executive director, agreed that childhood participation is key.”These children, when they know their roots, when they know where they come from, their path in life is going to a be a strong one and a good one,” Gillette said. In addition to the dance competition, the powwow also incorporates about 40 drum groups from across the nation. In 2004, 73 groups registered for the powwow — an international record, according to Gillette. She said they didn’t have room for everyone and had to add a registration fee to keep the numbers manageable.LaDeaux said there is a waiting list for the vendors, too. About 180 booths circle the coliseum, offering everything from handmade crafts and jewelry to fine arts and raw materials. “It kicks off the powwow season,” said Jordynn Lee Paz, this year’s Denver March Powwow princess. Paz, whose Crow name is One Who Puts Others Before Herself, said she’ll attend 25 to 30 more powwows in the coming months.The powwow continues Sunday, with doors opening at 10 a.m. The grand entry begins around 11 a. … – Click Here To Visit Article Source