The brisk Saturday morning air didn’t stop Santa Clarita residents from coming out for some Native American culture at this year’s Hart of the West Powwow. . .
“There’s a lot going on,” said Lima Schultz, director of the powwow. “We have between 30,000 and 50,000 visitors and they come from all over.”
The smell of barbecue and traditional Native American food filled the air, and dozens of booths with various goods dotted the walkway. There was a huge area called the “arena” where Native Americans danced, sang and played instruments.
“It seems to be going quite well,” said David Jallo, superintendent of Hart Park. “It’s my first time seeing this (and) it’s pretty impressive.”
Among the groups present was the Wildlife Waystation, a wildlife habitat in the Angeles National Forest.
“We are a sanctuary for wild and exotic animals,” said Dee Westlund, volunteer with Wildlife Waystation. “We rescue wild animals and bring them back to health.”
The habitat is home to lions, tigers, bears, birds and wolves, as well as a host of reptiles, Westlund said. Most of the animals stay on the habitat because there are not many accredited zoos or organizations that can take them, she said.
One of the animals at the powwow was a timberwolf named Aisha. “She came to us when she was just a baby,” Westlund said, “(and) she will probably stay with us for the rest of her life.
“Right now we have about 500 animals with us, and we are 95 percent volunteer-run. We come to wonderful events like this hoping that people will see what we do and (donate).”
Another booth was occupied by the Fontana-based company Native Silver Smith. Jaun Thorn-Bush owns the company and makes the jewelry himself.
“We make the mold and then make 50, 60 or 100 (rings) at a time,” said Thorn-Bush who also does custom jewelry. “One of the positive things (about the powwow) is that it’s a time for a lot of people to get together.
“(We’re) all friends, all family (and) we don’t have time to get together much, but we make time for this.”
Thorn-Bush said he really enjoyed the opportunity to bring the Native American culture to people who are unfamiliar with it.
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