The Salem City Council voted Jan. 25 to host a nationally recognized event this spring.
On May 19 and 20 the third annual Circle of Hope Intertribal Powwow will be held at the Salem City Park and Fulton County Fairgrounds.
The event is expected to bring thousands of Native American people from all across the United States, according to Sovereign Amonsoquath Tribe of Cherokee President Cathy Jones.
Jones, who is co-director of the powwow, said this event grew out of her work with the Amonsoquath Tribe as well as Leonard Heth's work with the Circle of Hope Cultural Center. They noticed a growing interest in Native American culture, and together they began planning for the powwow, she said.
The first powwow had approximately 5,000 attendees; last year's had 7,000, according to Jones.
"This keeps growing year after year," she said. "And this will bring new people and outside money -- we have an event here that can really help the community."
In its first two years, the powwow was held at the Mammoth Spring State Park; however, Jones said the event is growing, and they need the space Salem can provide.
"We had great success (at Mammoth Spring). But (at Salem) there's more space and more facilities for camping," Jones said.
Jones said she is excited about the continually increasing interest in the powwow and is happy about bringing the event to a new environment. "We think this is the best location right now," she said. "And it's a great opportunity to showcase this pretty little town; I think the mayor has good insight and can see that."
The most rewarding aspect of the powwow is that the event gives both Jones and Heth an opportunity to share their heritage with others, according to Jones.
Jones, from the Amonsoquath Tribe, and Heth, from the Yankton Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, are proud of the opportunity to bring people together and preserve their culture, Jones said. "For us this really is a labor of love," she said.
Anyone who is interested in volunteering with the event can contact Jones or Heth at 870-625-0112, or for a more in-depth history of the event, go to www.amonsoquath.net.
In addition to the Circle of Hope Powwow discussion, Salem's city departments also presented their 2006 end of the year activity reports to the council.
Salem Police Chief Albert Roork said responding to the 787 reported complaints was the most time consuming task the Salem Police Department faced in 2006.
Salem Fire Chief Heath Everett reported that the fire department responded to 95 calls throughout 2006.
Everett also said that 2006 was better in comparison to 2005. In 2006 vehicle accidents were down from 27 to 15, and there were no fire related fatalities or firemen injuries in 2006, according to Everett.