Nearly 5,000 people, including participants, attended the Native American Powwow last weekend at the American Indian Cultural Center grounds, just north of Waldorf on the border of Charles and Prince George's counties.

The event, which has been held in one form or another for 26 years, drew tribal delegations from around the United States, said Maurice Proctor, powwow chairman. Native Americans attended from Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Tennessee, South Dakota and Arizona, among other places, Proctor said. Tribe members from South America and Mexico also participated, as did a spiritual leader from the Himalayan region.

Proctor said the powwow also was an opportunity for the Piscataway tribe of Maryland to demonstrate that it merits the official recognition it has sought from the state of Maryland.

He said various groups of native peoples are beginning to plan for an international summit, sometime in the next two years, to focus on the state of the Earth.

Last weekend's powwow was sponsored by the Maryland Indian Heritage Society. The cultural center, Proctor said, operates a museum and conducts tours for area students and the public.

CAPTION: Celebrating Native Culture: Chris Newman, of Washington, performs at last weekend's Native American Powwow held at the American Indian Cultural Center grounds near Brandywine. About 5,000 people, including participants, attended the event.

CAPTION: Jeannie "Little Owl" Sullivan, near right, is of Cherokee and Shawnee Indian descent, and her husband, George "White Cloud" Sullivan, is of Penobscot Indian descent. The Fort Washington couple were among many local Native Americans at last weekend's powwow near Brandywine. Above, Devan Garcia, 3, of Waldorf, plays with a new drum.

CAPTION: The Cedartree Singers, above, perform at the powwow. Justine Lamont-Hill, 17, right, traveled to the event with her family from Centreville, Va. She is descended from Seneca, Ojibwa and Sioux Indians.