KAMIAH — Last Saturday, a highway-based motorcycle poker run, organized by Kamiah Kiwanis Club, ended at Kamiah’s Riverside Park where Music in the Valley hosted three bands throughout the afternoon. The event also included a show-and-shine opportunity for classic car owners. The park, reopened in recent weeks after being closed for several months for rehabilitation, welcomed people to enjoy the afternoon. Food and beverage booths ensured that people had plenty to eat and drink.

Brent Teets, Music in the Valley, welcomed people to the musical portion of the afternoon. He said that the community has been very supportive.

“When I asked businesses for help, they don’t even blink,” said Teets. “We are blessed to be on this land, on the Nez Perce Reservation,” continued Teets.

Stella Sammaripa, a Nez Perce tribal member, was asked by Teets to offer a prayer for the event.

“It is this land that was taken from my ancestors,” began Sammaripa. She also acknowledged the missing indigenous children who have recently been found buried at boarding schools. “Thank you, creator; by acknowledging our past, we can change our future.”

“I’m really proud of this first band, Torn Veil, they are really amazing,” said Teets. He had a part in the formation of the group. His pastor, Geoff Stevens, at Kamiah Christ Church, asked him three years ago to lead music for Sunday morning worship. Stevens, his children and drummer Kirk Howard formed the group, which has evolved to play country, rock and pop, in addition to praise and worship music.

“The root of all American music is the blues,” said Tony Frederickson, president of the Washington Blues Society. “People don’t realize that the root of blues is not just African American, but also Native American.” Two blues groups followed, with the Coyote Kings with Tiph Dames and Too Slim, who played acoustic blues.

Ron Sopko of the Kamiah Kiwanis had hoped for more than the approximately 40 participants in the poker run, but acknowledged this was a first-time event. He suspects that the fire conditions and uncertainty of U. S. Highway 12 being opened over Lolo Pass may have dampened turnout.

The event was a fund-raiser for the Kiwanis to support local youth. Dave Hasz of the Kiwanis said that the group awarded seven $500 scholarships last year to both Kamiah and Clearwater Valley students. They also support 4-H, sponsoring royalty, as well as the Lewis County Horse Show.