by MJ BRICKEY and JEANNE LEFLORE
Approximately 1,000 people gathered for the Arrowhead Powwow at the Southeast Expo Center on Saturday.
The event was free and open to the public. People from all cultures stopped in to check it out. Some stopped in only to buy Indian tacos from the Choctaw District. 11 senior citizens who cooked up and handed out the tacos to a consistent long-line of Indian taco enthusiasts the entire evening.
Native American tribes and dancers hailing from other Native American tribes participated in Saturday’s event.
Chairman Dena Cantrell of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma said it’s been several years since the last powwow was held in the area and she said it went well. This powwow was the first powwow to be held at the Southeast Expo Center, she said.
Choctaw Nation District 11 Councilman Bob Pate was on hand to lead the grand entry.
“We used to have our powwow at Lake Arrowhead and it was a three-day event,” Cantrell said.
The buzz among attendees that she spoke with was positive.
Master of ceremonies was Archie Mason.
“He was our MC years ago and it’s an honor to have him back,” she said.
Native American singer Michael Whitecloud was in attendance, representing the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. Also attending were Head Lady Dancer Everlyn Kasworn, of the Southern Cheyenne Nation; Head Gourd Dancer Ira Kualay Jr,. of the Kiowa Nation, and Arena Director Bill Takehorse, of the Crow Nation.
There were Native American dance competitions including Fancy, Traditional, Shawl and Buckskin, and there were Native American crafts and concessions on hand.
Cantrell said she was very pleased with the event and the Choctaw Nation plans to do it again. Choctaw Chief Gregory Pyle was not in attendance at the powwow.
The Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office deputy reserves were present and volunteered to secure the event.