'The pow wow is the stepping stone for the community'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- The fifth annual Springfield Pow Wow brought hundreds to Springfield High School to celebrate Native American culture.

While the halls and gymnasium were filled with food and crafts, the true highlight of the event was the dancers.

As part of a pow wow tradition, elders blessed the area before the dancers stepped onto the floor. The dancers - all dressed in full regalia - moved to the beat of drummers who performed off to the side.

Shane Martin of the Springfield Indian Education Program says the event is an opportunity to learn and see old friends.

"It's to bring the families back together. It brings the dancers the drummers together as a community," said Martin. "The pow wow is the stepping stone for the community."

The Springfield Indian Education Program hosts the annual event. Martin says it's their goal to help Native American students succeed in graduating from high school.