The public is invited and encouraged to attend the 2016 Northern Paiute Powwow and Lacrosse Games, which will be held Saturday and Sunday, October 8-9 at the Harney County Fairgrounds, 69660 S. Egan St. in Burns.
The event is held annually in October to honor the day that the Burns Paiute Tribe became federally recognized and the land that was held in trust for the tribe became a reservation (Oct. 13, 1972).
Thanks to fundraising and financial contributions, this year’s powwow will be competitive, with prizes awarded in all categories. Diane Teeman from the Burns Paiute Culture and Heritage Department has been a great financial support to the powwow.
The Golden Age dance contest will be held for men and woman age 60 and older. Woman and girls of all ages can compete in traditional, fancy and jingle contests, and there will be traditional, fancy and grass dance categories for men and boys. The clown dance will offer competitors an opportunity to sport their funniest or craziest outfits, and young dancers can compete in the Tiny Tots contest. Additionally, Native Love — a media campaign aimed at promoting healthy relationships among native youth — is hosting a couple’s dance competition.
Carlos Calica will serve as the master of ceremonies again, and he’ll be assisted by Anthony Purcella who will take on junior master of ceremonies duties. Jeremy Barney will be the arena director, and Julie Johnson will fill the head woman dancer position.
The powwow will get underway at noon on Saturday with “Joining the Circle,” an opportunity for new dancers to familiarize themselves with powwows.
Grand entry will begin at 1 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
The round robin Creator’s Game Lacrosse Tournament will kickoff at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Anyone who is interested in participating in the tournament is encouraged to call Rick Roy at 541-589-1159 for additional information.
A community dinner of barbecue pulled-pork sandwiches will be served Saturday at 5 p.m. Indian tacos, hamburgers and hot dogs will also be sold during the event.
Additionally, arts and crafts vendors will be coming from all over Oregon to sell their creations.
A hand drum contest will be held on Sunday, with grand entry starting at noon.
The host drum, Chute 8, will be traveling from Granger, Wash. to participate in the event. Other drum groups will include Northern Black Horse, Turquoise Pride, Umatilla Inter-Tribal, White Sage, and Big Eagle Singers.
The weekend’s events will also feature the crowning of a new powwow queen.
Lexi FirstRaised, a sixth grader at Hines Middle School, and Laevona Purcella, a junior at Burns High School, are vying for the title by selling raffle tickets for a chance to win one of five Pendleton blankets. The contestant who sells the most tickets will be crowned queen.
Tickets can be purchased by calling FirstRaised at 541-589-4595 or Purcella at 541-589-2905.
Rhonda Holtby, who is coordinating the event along with the Powwow Committee, said it is an honor to host a powwow.
“We value our culture, and this is one way that we can prevent a lot of destructive behavior such as drinking, alcohol and substance abuse, and domestic violence,” she said.
An event handout explains that powwows bring families and friends together in a healthy way to promote culture, community togetherness, substance-free lifestyles, and health and healing.
The handout also states that, “The Burns Paiute Tribe is proud of its history and culture,” adding that, “The tribe is currently working to gain a greater understanding of their culture, and preserve what knowledge they have of their past, all the while looking toward the future and developing a stronger, healthier community to pass on to the next generation.”
Holtby added that powwow organizers hope to involve as many native youth as possible.
“When we have our powwow here, we are honoring our youth and our families,” she said, adding that alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and violence will not be tolerated.
The family-fun event will be held outdoors, and admission is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs.
“We really want the community to come out and join us,” Holtby said.
For additional information regarding the 2016 Northern Paiute Powwow and Lacrosse Games, contact Rhonda Holtby at 541-413-0448.