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By Jon Bishop

jbishop@nashobapub.com

DEVENS — Lorena Novak, vice president of the United Native American Cultural Center, remembers when UNACC first began hosting pow wows. They were smaller affairs, with only one drummer.

“I look at it now and it’s like: Wow. We’ve grown,” she said.

In her 16 years at UNACC, she’s seen them get bigger and bigger. And the 20th annual unity days pow wow, which will be held on May 16 and 17, promises to be bigger than ever. It’ll feature drumming and dancing, raffles, a food tent, and vendors selling various items. It’ll also have two programs: Eyes on Owls, which will bring live birds; and a nature presentation from Mark Fraser, the executive director of the Nature Walks Conservation Foundation.

According to Novak, drumming and dancing will be both days, and the food will include hot dogs and hamburgers.

There is also a candy dance for kids, Novak said. The dance circle is filled with candy, and the kids have to pick up and drop the candy according to the drumming.

“That kind of entices the younger kids to go into the circle and dance,” she said.

They will light a fire Saturday morning and it will stay lit throughout the pow wow, Novak said.

For the pow wow, UNACC received a grant from the Groton Cultural Council. Also, any proceeds collected from food sales will go toward UNACC.

“We are a non-profit organization,” she said.

And because UNACC isn’t a one single federally-recognized tribe, they don’t receive grants. So they have to rely on donations.

Which is why, in addition to the food proceeds, they will also have a UNACC raffle table, and any vendors, as a condition for their participation, have to donate at least one raffle item.

In commenting on the pow wow’s increasing size and attendance, Novak said it’s good there is such an interest in Native American culture.

The pow wow will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both the 16th and 17th. There will be a grand entry at noon on each day. Admission is free.

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