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Lack of funds shuts down annual Pow Wow at Autry (UPDATED)

July 20, 2009 | 10:39 am

Autry pow wow This year's Pow Wow celebration at the Autry National Center -- an annual event celebrating Native American arts and culture -- has been canceled as a result of diminished financial resources, according to the event's organizer, the Southern California Indian Center.

For 40 years, the Pow Wow has brought Native American heritage to the public with musical performances, dancing, arts exhibitions and family activities. It is the largest Native American cultural event of its kind in Southern California.

Paula Starr, the executive director of SCIC, said there was a "huge decline in sponsorships and donations" this year. The Pow Wow usually draws 100 arts and crafts vendors, she said, but this year only 25 signed up. Vendors are the Pow Wow's largest source of income, with each vendor paying $600 to participate in the event. (UPDATE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the fee for vendors was $60 instead of $600)

Starr said the L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs denied a request for support, and one of its sponsors had pulled out. The SCIC is a nonprofit community-based organization that does not receive annual casino revenue.

The Pow Wow was set to take place July 31 to Aug. 2. The center said it will organize a scaled-down Pow Wow at Garden Grove High School on Aug. 1.

The Autry, a co-presenter of the Pow Wow, will continue to host other Native American-related events this summer: On Aug. 1 and 2, the SCIC will hold a public discussion of the organization's mission and goals. It will also present theater company Native Voices in “Young Native Voices at the Autry: Sharing Our Stories,” with two free performances on Aug. 1.

The SCIC said it hopes to resume its annual Pow Wow at the Autry next summer.

-- David Ng

Photo: A young participant in last year's event. Credit: Abel Gutierrez