CLARKS SUMMIT — One people coming together in harmony again is how Marlene Iris of The Portal Institute, Susquehanna, describes her goal for an upcoming mini Pow Wow at the Abington Community Library.
The Pow Wow, scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15, is offered free to the community and is an opportunity for Iris and her husband, Sri Akhenaton, “to bring that American Indian culture and way of life to everyday Americans,” Iris said.
The event is a collaboration of the Abington Community Library, The Belize Fund, The Portal Institute and the Abington Heights Civic League Inc. (AHCL).
Abington Community Library Executive Director Leah Ducato Rudolph said the Native American event ties in with a “Heroes” summer reading program at the library.
“American Indians were the first heroes in America,” Rudolph said. “We think it will be an interesting and unique evening, combining music, art, literature and culture at the Abington Community Library.”
Iris remarked, “When you hear the drum beats of the Red Storm Drum & Dance Troupe (from Staten Island) that beats with your own heart and it awakens a part of you to come back alive and realize we are all as one.” She said a pow wow is also planned at The Portal Institute in September.
Sri Akhenaton, author, mystic and teacher of diverse esoteric, spiritual philosophies, is part Native American with Palitan and Cherokee ancestry. He began the Portal Institute 15 years ago in Susquehanna. An art gallery, gift shop with bonsai and other items for sale and large koi ponds located on the premises are among the attractions visitors can enjoy.
Iris said a few years ago Sri Akhenaton built an American Indian center to honor the Native Americans.
“Someone said to us, ‘Why don’t you assist the people in your own country?’ That sparked something for us, especially for my husband, who’s part Native American,” said Iris.
A non-profit entity known as The Belize Fund serves as a helping services organization.
“That (The Belize Fund) is the organization in which we can fund things and assist other people by collecting and distributing both food and clothing,” said Iris.
At the library pow wow, attendees will see an authentic teepee setup containing Sri Akhenaton’s artifacts, mostly a few hundred years old, representing American Indian culture and traditions, crafts, face painting, and Native American artifacts and art. A highlight of the program will be continuous dance and song presented by members of the Red Storm Drum & Dance Troupe, a non-profit Native American educational performance and community outreach group. Its performance at the library is sponsored by the AHCL Inc.
“Giving Thanks” artist and illustrator Erwin Printup Jr. will also be on hand for a book signing and copies of the book will be available to purchase. His art will also be displayed at the library during July.
“There will be an opportunity for the public to come in and dance with the native people and to learn the dance,” Iris noted. “A candy dance will be offered to children. American Indians have a way of life where they respect Mother Earth. There is no waste. It’s a time of sharing the American Indian culture with the community.”
The library is located at 1200 W. Grove St., Clarks Summit. For more information, call 570-587-3440.