The NAYA Family Center


Saturday, September 12, 2020



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One Home. Many Nations.



The NAYA Family Center Annual Neerchokikoo Powwow is a celebration of Native American history, culture and cultural arts. Since 2010, the powwow has welcomed the community to gather in honor of Native culture and tradition through dance, music, art and food. Traditional drumming and dance for women and men of all ages is performed throughout the day, as well as exhibitions from our tiny tots, youth and multi-generational groups. Participants dance, drum and sing in their own styles, as Portland is home to the ninth largest urban Native population in the United States, representing members of 380 different tribes,.

The powwow is free to the public. In addition to the dance exhibitions, Native artists supported by NAYA’s microenterprise services offer beautiful prints, jewelry and other items for sale. And of course, tasty fry bread and Indian tacos are available for purchase. The Neerchokikoo Powwow also honors partners, volunteers and donors whose contributions to NAYA’s work has enhanced the lives of our youth, families and Elders over the past year.

This annual powwow is named for the village that previously occupied these lands where NAYA now operates. Once called Neerchokikoo, this site was a thriving village for the Multnomah Chinook people well into the 20th century. It had over 126 dwellings and a year round encampment located next to the slough for transportation access. In June of 2006, NAYA Family Center moved to this site and officially asked the Chinook for permission to make our home on their homeland. We are honored that permission was granted.

Where do we get the word “Powwow”?

“Some reports say that the word, Powwow, has its origin from the Pawnee word, pa-wa, meaning, ‘to eat.’ Other sources say the word is of Algonquin origin and was originally pronounced pauau, which indicates a gathering of people for the purpose of celebration or an important event. In any case, it is a special time to gather and celebrate, meet old friends and create new friendships!”
–Your Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Powwows, Murton McCluskey, Ed.D.