The Maine Wildlife Park is getting ready for its largest event of the year — Honor the Animals Native American Powwow — next weekend.

“The park is filled with dancing and drumming circles and vendors all weekend. There are traditional foods, artwork and jewelry booths. There will be something going on all day long here at the park,” said Sarah Ogden, program coordinator at the Maine Wildlife Park.

This event celebrates Maine’s American Indian culture and heritage. What makes this weekend extra special is how the animals at the park are incorporated into the celebration. For instance, the sacred Grand Entry, held at noon Saturday and Sunday, will include an appearance by the park’s bald eagle and red-tailed hawk.

“This powwow is one of only two in the entire country that has a live bald eagle participating. This makes it very special for us,” said Lisa Kane, natural sciences educator with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as well as supervisor of the Maine Wildlife Park.

The animals will be joined by representatives of the Maine Abenaki, MicMac and Passamaquoddy tribes, as well as others from New England states and beyond. They will attend as presenters and vendors, many in full regalia.

“There will be a lot of dancing from different tribes and some will likely be specific to children as well,” said Ogden of this family-friendly event.

A traditional Wiki Teepee, also known as a wigwam, will be a new feature this year. Bedrolls, furs, kettle chains and hooks, axes and other camp equipment will be part of this exhibit, which represents a typical traveling lodge historically used by Northeast tribes.

Interpreters in authentic clothing will give formal, scheduled talks as well as be on hand for individual questions throughout the weekend.

In addition to the powwow, the park’s usual exhibits and self-guided audio tours of 30 species of native wildlife can be enjoyed. The fish hatchery, nature trails and wildlife gardens will allow visitors plenty of ways to explore the many aspects of the natural world in Maine.

All proceeds from the Honor the Animals Powwow will be directed toward new exhibits for the wildlife at the park.

“This is probably one of the best weekends to be at the park all year,” said Ogden.

Staff Writer Wendy Almeida can be contacted at 791-6334 or at:

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