Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas celebrate heritage in annual Powwow

Published: Jun. 7, 2015 at 12:23 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2015 at 12:35 AM CDT
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LIVINGSTON, TX (KTRE) - The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas held their 47th annual Powwow in Livingston Saturday.

The tribe has been in East Texas since the mid 1700's and are very proud of their heritage.

"Our uniqueness is we're quiet, we're peaceful, but we're strong and we're strong people," said Powwow Chairman Herbert Johnson. "Our people have been living here for many generations."

Many tribe members have moved off of the reservation over time, but return for the Powwow as a way to reconnect with their roots.

"It's a way for them to come home, once a year, at least," Johnson said. "They come and celebrate this way of life our people have."

The Powwow celebrated the tribe's heritage through traditional dance, crafts, food and music.

However, it's not just a homecoming. It also serves as a way for them to teach their way of life to their youth, who they fear they're losing to modernism.

"It's to promote our way of life through our culture and to instill through our young people because our language is something that is dying every day," Johnson said.

The tribe's youth council works with their elders to organize the Powwow, hoping they'll learn the traditions and pass them on to future generations.

"As a youth, it's hard because we haven't learned as much as our elders have," said Steven Renfro, Vice President of the Inner Voice Youth Council. "When I'm old and the younger ones come, they'll know what we do and how we learn and how we powwow."

The Powwow has also turned into a teaching moment for people outside of the tribe.

"It shows everybody who we are and shows people out there who don't know who we are, that they can come here and listen to our music and watch our people dance," Renfro explained.

The tribe has certainly made an impression.

"It's really cool because they have different stuff that you don't really know about and you can learn about a lot of stuff," said Houston resident Avery Pinter. "It was such a cool experience. I loved the dancing!"

The Alabama Coushatta hopes that even with the changes of the 21st century, their heritage will continue to thrive.

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