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10 Pow Wows Definitely Worth Your Travel Dollars

These great pow wows of 2017 should be on your bucket list—Shoshone-Bannock, Bear Mountain, Morongo, Ute Mountain and more.

Several hundred pow wows take place in Indian country every year and each has its unique events and opportunities to soak in some well-needed Native culture, celebration and dance. There are, however, a few pow wows that have earned an extra bit of recognition. Here are 10 great pow wows in 2017 that should be on your bucket list.

LUMBEE TRIBE 2017 DANCE OF THE SPRING MOON POW WOW, MAY 5–7

The Lumbee Tribe 2017 Dance of the Spring Moon PI cow Wow is a popular early-season pow wow on the East Coast. Celebrated in Maxton, North Carolina, the pow wow grounds are surrounded by lush forests.

SAC AND FOX NATION 54TH ANNUAL POW WOW, JULY 6–9

Held at the Jim Thorpe Memorial Park in Stroud Oklahoma, the Sac and Fox Nation Pow Wow is a four-day event celebrating a wide array of Native cultural activities, including a Traditional Village Dress contest, a drum contest on Friday, a Saturday morning Turkey dance, a Saturday night Fancy dance and Grass dance special, and a Sunday morning Sac and Fox Turtle race.

BEAR MOUNTAIN POW WOW, AUGUST 5–6

Run by the Redhawk Native American Arts Council, the Bear Mountain Pow Wow is one of the many great annual pow wows in the Northeast. Redhawk will also host the alternative to Columbus Day known as the Indigenous People’s Day Celebration and Pow Wow on October 8-9, 2017 on Randall’s Island in New York City.

THE SHOSHONE-BANNOCK INDIAN FESTIVAL AND POW WOW, AUGUST 10–13

Held since 1964, the Shoshone-Bannock Indian Festival and Pow Wow takes place on the Fort Hall Reservation and includes such special events as the Miss Shoshone-Bannock Pageant and the Fort Hall Indian Relay. This year’s drum groups include southern drum Southern Style from Red Mesa, Utah and the Grammy-nominated northern group Northern Cree from Alberta.

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UTE MOUNTAIN CASINO POW WOW, AUGUST 25–27

Held near Ute Mountain Tribal Park, Mesa Verde National Park, the Four Corners Area and Monument Valley, the Ute Mountain Casino Pow Wow in Towaoc, Colorado screams location, location location! It features a handgame tournament, dance and drum contests, and a daily gourd dance.

CHOCTAW NATION OF OKLAHOMA 67TH ANNUAL LABOR DAY FESTIVAL AND POW WOW, AUGUST 31–SEPTEMBER 4

No one can say the Choctaw Nation doesn’t know how to celebrate—its 67th Annual Labor Day Festival and Pow Wow is a five-day celebration in Oklahoma. The festival kicks off with a Choctaw Princess Pageant, and offers a series of free concerts with well-known performers. This year’s marquee includes Merle Haggard, Jeff Foxworthy and more. There is also Choctaw dancing, stickball games, storytelling, silversmithing and demonstrations of primitive weaponry. While there, you can also stop by the Choctaw Nation Museum.

THE AKWESASNE INTERNATIONAL POW-WOW, SEPTEMBER 9–10

Get your passports (or tribal ID’s) ready! The Akwesasne International Pow Wow is unique in that it’s held on territory in both the United States and Canada. The Mohawk also celebrate Iroquois dance styles of the Haudenosaunee to include the Smoke dance, the ‘fastest dance on two-feet,’ which got its name when people danced around a fire pit to stir the air and feed the embers. The pow wow is held at the A'nowara'ko:wa Arena on Cornwall Island, Ontario near the St. Lawrence River.

MORONGO THUNDER & LIGHTNING 27TH ANNUAL POW WOW, SEPTEMBER 22-24

Named the #1 contest pow wow in 2009, the Thunder & Lightning is sure to kick up some moccasin circle dust in 2017. This California pow wow has a number of contests for dancers and singers, including the Bird singing and dancing contests, 13 contest categories of traditional dancing, the Peon games and total contest payouts in the tens of thousands of dollars.

CHUMASH 22ND ANNUAL INTER-TRIBAL POW WOW, SEPTEMBER 30–OCTOBER 2

Supported by the Chumash Casino Resort this pow wow, put on by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, is now in its 22nd year. It features First Nations and Native American drum groups. Camping sites for pow wow goers are available nearby at the Live Oak Campgrounds.

SILETZ TRIBE 40TH ANNUAL RESTORATION POW WOW, NOVEMBER 18

This pow wow is a great late season event for anyone who hasn’t gotten the pow wow bug out of their system. This year, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians will hold their 40th annual celebration at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon. Jewelry, beadwork and other items will be for sale throughout