Local Group Voicing Concerns of Princess Pocahontas Council

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LAREDO, Texas (KGNS) - The WBCA celebrations may have ended but preparations are currently underway for next year's festivities.

Santos Polendo (right) is a member of the Kickapoo tribe, and says he is against tribal attire used by the Princess Pocahontas organization.

For the past 37 years, the Princess Pocahontas council has been a highlight of the WBCA festivities but now one Native organization is cornered about the portrayal of the Native Americans and the attire used by the organization.

The Princess Pocahontas pageant has been a staple of the WBCA since 1980.

With their elaborate costumes and portrayal of Native Americans, now those colors are being put into question by Santos Polendo.

Polendo is a member of the Kickapoo tribe and says he is against tribal attire used by the Princess Pocahontas organization.

Polendo is the founder of the Native American Student Association of TAMIU, a group that is over 30 members.

He says he respects the purpose of the Princess Pocahontas council, but not at the expense of Native Americans.

Members of the Princess Pocahontas council say that they have been around for over 30 years and have never had any issues with any Native American tribes nor have they been contacted by one.

The members of the council say they are sensitive to Native Americans and every year they do their research on the tribes they portray.

Members say they do research by published historical Native American books but Polendo says that is not good enough.

Polendo says he has reached out to the president of the Princess Pocahontas council but his concerns have fallen on deaf ears.

Jose Diaz De Leon is a member of the Chi Chi Meca tribe and says he has mixed views on the event.

He says he does not have a problem with the annual portrayal but he'd like the council to use that platform to bring more awareness to Native American issues.

Diaz says some of the past participants for the Princess Pocahontas court have reached out to him and have participated in events he has hosted.

In the end both groups say they don't want the organization to stop the pageant, they just want to work with the council to bring more authenticity to the portrayals.

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