In Warm Springs, Ore. as the sunlight peeked through the clouds on a hot Saturday afternoon in June, the sounds of jingle cones and brass bells blended with the rhythmic downbeats of the drum. Dancers filled the powwow circle for the grand entry of the 55th Annual Pi-Ume-Sha Treaty Days Powwow and celebration which took place June 27-30, 2024. Hundreds of families gather every year from near and far to participate in the powwow, traditional parade, rodeo, endurance horse races, stick game and more.

Linda Meanus, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, granddaughter of the Chief of Celilo Falls, holds her eagle feather fan as she dances around the circle during grand entry of Pi-Ume-Sha Treaty Days on Saturday June 29, 2024. (Photo by Jarrette Werk Cronogomet / Report for America)

The first Pi-Ume-Sha celebration took place in 1969 as a way to honor Native veterans, says 71-year-old Warm Springs elder, Louise Katchia who has been helping organize the event for the past five decades. This year was the first time she was able to watch her grandkids run around and have fun from the sideline since retiring last year. She has now passed the baton onto her nieces and younger relatives to continue the legacy.

“They wanted to honor our veterans and our elders, because of their vast knowledge of our old ways of culture and spiritual gatherings,” Katchia said. “This was one way we could honor the veterans and to remind people, not just the community, but the surrounding communities, about the sacrifices the Native people had made.”

On Saturday June 29, 2024, Louise Katchia, 71, Warm Springs, Waco and Paiute, sits back and watches the powwow as a spectator for the first time in nearly five decades. Last year she retired from the Pi-Ume-Sha committee, a role she held since she was 20 years-old. (Photo by Jarrette Werk Cronogomet / Report for America)

This year also marked the 169th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of 1855, which established the Warm Springs Reservation on a fraction of the original 10 million-acre territory. The treaty was an integral part to preserving their sovereign rights to harvest fish and game, as well as gathering other first foods on lands beyond the reservation boundaries.

“We signed our treaty on June 25, 1855 and we're still here practicing our way of life,” said Cyrille Mitchell, treasurer of the Pi-Ume-Sha committee. “They did it for celebration, because ‘Pi-Ume-Sha’ does mean ‘celebration.’'

A dog joined in during a round dance at the 55th annual Pi-Ume-Sha powwow on Saturday June 30, 2024. He walked around synchronized to the beat of the drum before being ushered out of the circle. (Photo by Jarrette Werk Cronogomet / Report for America)

Mitchell’s family has a deeply rooted connection to the annual celebration. Her grandfather, Arthur Mitchell, was one of the founders of Pi-Ume-Sha back in the late 60’s. She calls herself a “Pi-Ume-Sha baby” because her birthday falls around the annual celebration, and because she grew up coming to the event each year participating in multiple capacities, including holding the crown as Miss Pi-Ume-Sha in 2008. Her daughter followed in her footsteps and held the title from 2023-2024.

Two young boys sing with a drum group during inter-tribals during Pi-Ume-Sha Treaty Days on Saturday June 29, 2024. Everyone is encouraged to come out in the circle to dance and have fun. (Photo by Jarrette Werk Cronogomet / Report for America)

“We bring our children up in this,” Mitchell told Cronogomet. “It’s a revolving door of just letting the world know we're still here. [Pi-Ume-Sha Treaty Days] is a positive family event and is what our community looks forward to every year, because it's a celebration.”

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Jarrette is a multimedia journalist with experience in digital news, audio reporting and photojournalism. He joined Underscore in June 2022 in partnership with the national Report for America program....