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story.lead_photo.caption Native American men and women, both young and old, perform a ceremonial dance before the grand entry of the For the People Pow Wow on Saturday, May 28, 2016 at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fairgrounds. Photo by Matt McCormack / California Democrat.

Native American culture filled the Jefferson City Jaycees Fairgrounds on Saturday as the ninth annual For the People Pow Wow began.

The Pow Wow continues at the fairgrounds today and though in its ninth year, it's only the second year the Pow Wow has been held in Jefferson City.

Greg Olson, a member of the Pow Wow Committee, said the event had previously been held at the Boone County fairgrounds, but had to move after the property closed at the end of 2014. Olson said coming to Jefferson City turned out to be a benefit, as the facility is nicer and the event has drawn larger crowds since moving.

Olson said the Pow Wow is meant to be a social gathering for the native community, as well as being open to anyone who wants to watch or visit. He noted the Pow Wow is the only one held in the area, noting there are ones held at the Lake of the Ozarks and in St. Louis, and offers Native Americans throughout central Missouri a place to come together at least once a year.

"In Missouri, the native community is spread out without any centralized native community," Olson said. "It's a really nice opportunity for people in central Missouri to get together."

The Pow Wow features gourd dancing, tribal singing and vendors with products made by Native Americans. Inside the pavilion early Saturday afternoon, dancers in native dress performed the gourd dance, which Olson said was for the veterans, while an inner circle sat tightly together at the center of the floor performing the drums.

Denise Jones, her husband and daughter, Melanie, had driven up from Springfield to attend the Pow Wow on Saturday. Melanie minors in Native American studies at Missouri State University, and Denise Jones said they had come to continue studying their heritage.

Denise Jones said they were enjoying the music and dancing, as well as the different crafts sold.

Melanie Jones said her family is both Blackfoot and Cherokee, which is what led her to wanting to study native culture more closely.

"We're removed from the tribe, but as an adult I want to reconnect," Jones said.

The Pow Wow continues from noon-5 p.m. today at the Jaycees Fairgrounds. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for school children and free for elders and preschool-aged children.

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