Native American dancers and artisans from across the nation will gather for the 16th annual Pow Wow celebration at the Chief Joseph “Alcide” Pierite Pow Wow Grounds on the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation in Marksville from May 20th through 22nd. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and Paragon Casino Resort will host the cultural festivities, filled with authentic food, arts and crafts, dancing, singing and more.
This year’s Pow Wow will feature special performances by Memphis-based native blues and indie singer/guitarist, Butch Mudbone. Best known for songs such as “Mean Old Memphis Blues” and “Chocolate Lover,” Mudbone will perform two concerts, Saturday, May 21st at 11:00am and 6:15pm.
Participants in Saturday’s Native American dance competition can enter for $5.00 and win a share of $28,000 in cash prizes. Dance category styles include: fancy, grass, traditional, straight, buckskin and jingle. Categories are divided as follows: golden ages (men and women, 50 plus), adults (men and women, ages 18-49), juniors (boys and girls, ages 11-17) and children (boys and girls, 10 years and younger). Any one category with less than five dancers will be combined. On Friday evening, the Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow Committee will host a $1,000 winner-take-all dance contest special, featuring the men’s fancy, women’s fancy shawl and chicken dance.
Native American singers can also participate in the Drum Contest vying for a share of $12,000 in cash prizes. First place winners will receive $3,000, second place $2,000 and third place $1,000 in both Northern and Southern style categories. Host drums are not eligible.
Open to the general public, daily admission to the Pow Wow is $5.00. The fee for children 5 and younger is $2.00 and $3.00 for seniors 65 and older. Spectators will be treated to other performances by flutist Hawk Henries and the Tunica-Biloxi Legend Keepers. Over 40 food and crafts will also be available for guests.
Prior to the weekend festivities, the Pow Wow Committee will present a series of free 90-minute programs on Native American culture for school children on Wednesday, May 18th and Thursday, May 19 thon the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation. Area students will be able to learn firsthand about Indian cultures from native people in this unique opportunity. The presentation will cover various components of an inter-tribal pow wow highlighting the historical, social, religious, and symbolic significance of its activities including performance of Indian drum and flute music, storytelling and traditional dances.
For more information about the Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow or other upcoming events at Paragon Casino Resort, please visit www.tunicapowwow.org or call (800) 946-1946.