Photo by Jack McNeel
Grand Entry at Airway Heights Correction Center in Spokane, Washington.

Pow Wow Behind Bars: Native American Inmates Dance the Time Away

August 02, 2013


Native American inmates of the Airway Heights Correction Center in Spokane, Washington, were permitted to pow wow with their families present earlier this week.

The pow wow was made possible by the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act. The act requires prisons to recognize the spiritual needs of its Native American inmates, and pow wows are observed as part of their religious freedom.

“We look forward to this day so much,” inmate Travis Comlast told Washington’s “It’s the one day we can show our family something different, the life we was leading that lead us in here.”

The pow wow is an annual event. The day after the pow wow, the Native inmates reportedly began planning the next one.

Click here to watch footage of the pow wow.