KINDER — The 24th annual Coushatta Pow Wow will bring a taste of Native American culture to Allen Parish this weekend.
The Pow Wow — Friday-Saturday, June 7-8, at The Pavilion at Coushatta Casino Resort — will feature singing, dancing and drum competitions and Native American arts, crafts and food.
Event Chairman Raven Langley said the Pow Wow is a celebration of the tribe's history and tradition and connects Native American tribes from across the country.
"The Pow Wow is a celebration of our tribe that we have been doing for 24 years," Langley said. "Each year we invite Native American tribes from all over the United States and Canada to come dance, compete and have fellowship."
"It's like a big celebration for us because we have people coming home who haven't been in a while and they are here with family and friends."
The two-day event will feature hundreds of Native American dancers, singers and drum groups taking part in a series of competitions.
Dancers will be in colorful handmade regalia with beads, feathers and other decorations, each representing a piece of tribal and ancestor history.
"No one will be disappointed in the dancing, singing or crafts," Langley said. "We have some of the best champion singers, dancers and drummers here and some one-of-a-kind, original art work and crafts."
"Everybody will have a good time. It's family-oriented fun for the whole family."
The Pow Wow will also feature an art market where visitors can shop for one-of-a-kind pieces ranging from jewelry and bead work to basketry and pottery to drawings and paintings, clothing and more.
There will also be food vendors featuring Native American, Cajun and other cuisine. Among the favorites will be Indian tacos, fry bread and chawahka (corn soup), hamburgers, turkey legs and more.
Doors open at 3 p.m. Friday with the gourd dancing at 5 p.m. and 10 a.m., and 5 p.m. Saturday to bless the grounds and honor veterans. Most of the gourd dancers are elders and veterans of the visiting tribes.
Grand entries will be at 7 p.m. Friday and noon and 7 p.m. on Saturday.
During the grand entry, dancers of all ages will be dressed in full traditional regalia and parade around the dance arena in a vibrant show of colors and sound.
Dance, singing and drum competitions will be held throughout the day featuring various styles of Native American music and dance.
A wide range of prizes will be awarded to the top five competitors in the singing contest (Southern and Northern Separate), with a $8,000 first-place prize; and to the top four competitors in a number of age categories in the dance competition, each with $1,000 first-place prizes in the adult divisions, $400 first-place prizes for the teen divisions and $150 for men's northern traditional, southern straight, grass, fancy and chicken dances, as well as for women's northern traditional, southern cloth, southern buck, jingle and fancy dances.
Admission is $5 per day at the door. Children who are 6 and under get in free.