The 40th annual Alabama Coushatta Pow Wow is now in the history books. Organizers say it was another good year. The Pow Wow started Friday afternoon with the traditional gourd dance.
Spectators were captivated as Native American dancers in full regalia entered the dance arena during processional. Men, women and children dressed in their best dance regalia presented themselves to the audience before competition.
Tiny Tots and Junior boys and girls competed Friday night. On Saturday, the adults took center stage competing in several adult categories such as the Men's Fancy Dance, which is the highlight of the Saturday evening celebration.
Food, as well as, arts and crafts were available for sale on the powwow grounds.
Joining the Alabama-Coushatta for this annual event were dancers and singers from all over the United States and Canada beginning with the Host Northern Drum Group "Medicine Tail" from Atmore, Alabama with "Southern Thunder" out of Pawnee, Oklahoma serving as the Host Southern Drum. Host Gourd Dancers were the Texas Kiowa Tiah Piah Society from Crowley, Texas. The Master of Ceremonies is Dean Whitebreast from Montour, Iowa. He was assisted by Herbert Johnson, Jr., a member of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. Taking care of the dance arena was Dale Roberts from Ada, Oklahoma and Quanah Whitethunder, who is also a member of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. The responsibility of making sure all the contests go smooth went to Robert Tehauno of Apache, Oklahoma.
The PowWow is held every year for educating the public on the culture and traditions of not only the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, but Native Americans in general. Throughout the ceremonies, the master of ceremonies explained what was taking place in the arena and at various points visitors were invited to participate.
The PowWow also serves as a homecoming for tribal members who live away from the reservation. It's a drug and alcohol free event.
The Alabama Coushatta Indians have been proud Texans since the 1700s. During World War II, 47 tribe members served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Today, approximately 500 Alabama Coushatta live on the 4,600 acre reservation. The Tribe is working to keep its language alive; provide for the education, health care and economic success of its members and to continue to celebrate its history and culture.