15th Annual Choctaw Pow Wow
The 15th annual Choctaw Pow Wow was held December 7-8 at the Choctaw Event Center in Durant. Over four hundred dancers from tribes all over the country and as far away as Canada came to participate in the weekend-long event of dancing, singing, foods, and crafts. Hundreds of spectators were also on hand throughout the weekend. Choctaw tribal member and dancer Michael Roberts served as Head Arena Director.
The Choctaw Color Guard and Tribal Council led the dancers into the arena at each Grand Entry. During Saturday evening’s Grand Entry, Tribal Council Speaker Thomas Williston called for a dance of unity, inviting members of Oklahoma tribes present to join the Tribal Council on the arena floor. Many joined the Councilmembers in the arena for a time of solidarity in light of recent measures taken by Oklahoma Governor Stitt with regard to Oklahoma gaming compacts.
Over $120,000 was awarded throughout the weekend in the different dance and drum categories. Each dancer’s regalia was unique and as special as the dancers themselves, representing moments and events in their lives that they danced for. Categories of dance such as ladies’ Shawl and Jingle dances, and men’s Fancy and Chicken dances were among the various categories that kept the arena floor busy for two full days. Being one of the only tribes that includes a category for their tribal women, the Choctaw Traditional category is always highly anticipated. The dance is deeply connected to the matriarchal social structure of the Choctaw tribe, and women are honored as the givers of life...