More than 2,000 Native Americans expected for annual gathering

By By Doris Maricle / American Press

KINDER — Native American tribes from across the United States and Canada will gather this weekend for the 18th annual Pow


The family-friendly event will be held Friday and Saturday at The Pavilion at Coushatta, located behind the Coushatta Casino Resort on

U.S. 165, five miles north of Kinder or 23 miles north of Interstate 10 from Lake Charles.

"Every year, the Coushatta Pow Wow celebration

has a significant meaning for our people," Coushatta Chairman Lovelin


said. "Not only does this serve as a gathering of all nations, but

also as a homecoming to our Coushatta Tribe. We have the

honor of meeting new friends and welcoming back our friends from

other tribes."

During the two-day event, Native American dancers, drummers and artisans will showcase their customs, culture and history

through music, dance, food and arts, Pow Wow chairperson Loretta Williams said.

"The Pow Wow is a gathering of all Native

American Indians, getting together to celebrate their heritage, show

their dances

and drumming and share their food, arts and crafts," Loretta

Williams said. "It is very important for them to show their culture

and where they came from."

About 2,000 Native Americans from newborns to senior citizens will take part in what is billed as one of the largest gatherings

of nations in the South, she said.

Tribes are expected from as far away at Frog Lake, Alberta; Michigan, Washington, Oklahoma, Utah and other states.

"This is a very family-friendly event and very

educational for the everyone to see that American Indians are still


Pow Wow member Crystal Williams said. "Even though we are

modernized we still practice our culture and are proud of our heritage."

Festivities begin at 3 p.m. Friday with the dance and drum registration, followed by the gourd dance at 5 p.m.

The Grand Entry begins at 7 p.m. as dancers in

traditional regalia with feathered headdresses and handcrafted jewelry


the dance arena accompanied by tribal drums and singers. Drum and

dance competitions continue throughout the night as Native

Americans compete for cash prizes.

Dance competitions include the fancy dance, grass and traditional dances for men and the fancy shawl, jingle and Southern

cloth for women.

"These are all traditional dances to Native Americans, which is important to us to keep traditions alive," Loretta Williams

said. "We just want to keep our heritage going and thriving."

The Marketplace will feature more than 40 vendors selling handmade crafts including hand woven pine needle baskets, jewelry,

pottery, leather goods, sculptures, apparel and toys.

The Marketplace will also feature unique food including fry bread, Indian tacos and chawake (corn soup), as well as meat pies,

hamburgers, hot dogs and more.

The celebration continues at 10 a.m. Saturday

with the gourd dance, followed by the Grand Entry at noon. Drum and

dance competitions

continue throughout the day.

A gourd dance will be held at 5 p.m. followed by another Grand Entry at 7 p.m. with drum and dance competitions continuing

throughout the night.

Admission is $5 per person daily, or free for ages 6 and under.




4 p.m. — Food and craft vendors open

5 p.m. —  Gourd dancing

7 p.m.Grand Entry, drum and dance competitions continue to midnight


10 a.m.Food and craft vendors open

10 a.m.Gourd dancing

NoonGrand Entry, drum and dance competitions

5 p.m.Gourd dancing

7 p.m.Grand Entry, drum and dance competitions continue to midnight