Coushatta Pow Wow: Annual Kinder event offers chance to experience Native American culture

Published 1:53 pm Friday, June 7, 2024

With the beat of the drum, hundreds of Native American dancers, dressed in colorful and sacred regalia, will take to the arena circle this weekend for the 27th annual Pow Wow at The Pavilion at Coushatta Casino Resort.

The two-day event is both a reunion for tribal members from across the United States and Canada and a dance competition among the tribes, according to Pow Wow Co-Chairman Raven Langley.

“The Pow Wow circuit is like a big rodeo or homecoming for our tribal families,” Langley said. “Pow Wows go on at different places all the time, but our Pow Wow is traditionally one of the biggest in the southern states.”

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The annual event brings together different tribes and visitors for a unique cultural celebration that includes dancing, singing, socializing, arts and crafts and food.

“If you want to learn about Native Americans, here’s your chance to experience it as we share our culture through song and dance,” he said.

This year, more than 600 dancers, from toddlers to tribal elders, as well as singers and drummers will compete for thousands of dollars in cash prizes during two days of friendly dance and drum competitions.

“It’s a beautiful sight when you walk in and you see all the dancers in their colorful regalia and fancy feathers and hear the different drums as they are entering the arena,” Langley said.

The regalia is handmade with many passed from generation to generation, he said.

The dancers will be showcasing different styles of dancing and footwork including women’s and men’s traditional dance, fancy dance, women’s jingle dress, men’s chicken dance and more.

Singers and drummers will also be praising their creator and celebrating the rituals and traditions of Native American tribes through music.

“We all have a unique style of singing, dancing and drumming and our own language and music,” Langley said.

“It’s a great weekend of family fun,” Langley said. “Everyone can come out and learn about our culture and see what we are all about.”

The Pow Wow is a chance for non-natives to see all the bright colors, different dances and singing styles of all the tribes.

“For the non-natives
it’s a chance to be exposed to our culture,” Langley said. “For us it’s a chance to let others know we are still here and learn about the different cultures, heritage and traditions of each tribe.”

In addition to dancing, singing and drumming, visitors will also be treated to handmade crafts, including jewelry, baskets, pottery, sculptures and more. Traditional Native American foods including fry bread and Indian tacos will also be available in the indoor marketplace.

“It’s a great opportunity to see and maybe even buy a one-of-a-kind handmade bead work, one of the handmade baskets or one of the other arts and crafts items,” he said.

Admission is $8 per person, per day at the door. Children ages 6 and under get in free.

Doors open at 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday.

The Pow Wow kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday with the ceremonial gourd dance followed by the grand entry at 7 p.m.

Festivities continue on Saturday with gourd dances at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., followed by the grand entry at noon and 7 p.m.

Spectators are welcome to take pictures and videos of the performances and ask questions. However, they are asked to be respectful.