SPOKANE, Wash.-- There was a lot of music playing and dancing today at the Airway Heights Corrections Center. The prison held a powwow.
This year, the families of inmates could attend. The powwow is not just dancing and drumming for those who participate. It means a lot more.
In 1970, the American Indian Religious act was passed. That act meant prisons immediately recognized that men needed their spiritual needs met.
To the prisoners, the pow wow isn’t just a social gathering, it’s in a sense a spiritual awakening.
“There's a group of people that found change in here through our culture and through our spirituality,” Travis Comlast, an offender, said.
Comlast has spent the last three years locked up.
“We look forward to this day so much. It's the one day we can show our family something different, the life we was leading that lead us in here,” Comlast said.
This is one of the few events behind prison walls where the offender’s children and their family may attend and participate.
“Everything that we do is to give back to show to our kids and our family that we are going to work on getting back to those ways. Getting back to the spirituality,” Seymour Ruben, an offender, said.
The offenders made their own outfits. The group of participants grows each year.
The offenders said when the pow wow ends, they will begin getting ready for next year’s event.