INWOOD — Inwood Hill Park is returning to its roots this weekend as it plays host to the tenth annual Drums Along the Hudson festival, large-scale cultural celebration of indigenous dance and culture.
“This is the only open-air powwow in Manhattan,” said organizer Dave Ruder of the free event that hopes to draw in more than 7,000 people from around the world. “There’s not a lot of this type of cultural activity going in the city. That it’s been going for ten years is no small feat.”
Festival-goers will have a chance to take in world music and dance performances and drumming circles alongside international and Native American crafts and cuisine.
As scheduled each year, the group led by Mohawk Elder Tom Porter will plant a white pine tree in a ceremony in memory of community leaders lost over the past year.
Although the event was originally meant to reflect the history of the park as a homeland for the Lenape people, the event now seeks to celebrate the diverse cultures of indigenous people from all over the world.
“We’re bringing new members of traditional arts and dance community to event in order to have a dialogue between Native American culture and other areas of the dance community,” said Ruder, a program manager for Lotus Music & Dance.
In keeping with the goal, the powwow will now include a dance performance from the New York Chinese Cultural Center and Jacques d'Ambroise's National Dance Institute as well as the Thunderbird American Indian Singers & Dancers.
“We want people to see this beautiful park as not just a spot for its history,” Ruder added, “but a spot to bring together cultures from all over the world and city.”
Drums Along the Hudson takes place in Inwood Hill Park at West 218th Street and Indian Road on Sunday, May 20th, between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., rain or shine.
Bike riders will have a space to store their bikes for free.