It’s no small feat for a tribe to have held an annual pow wow for century or more. This week marks the 119th annual celebration of the Arlee Esyapqeyni Pow Wow of the Salish and Pend d'Oreille tribes of the Flathead Reservation. The Arlee Esyapqeyni Pow Wow takes place June 28th through July 4th in Arlee, Montana.
“It's always a good feeling to reach this part of the year when we celebrate to follow the footprints of our elders,” says tribal member Johnny Arlee on the Arlee Esyapqeyni Pow Wow event website. “Our ancestors paved this cultural path for us and we continue paving this path for our future, leaving our faith and trust in the Great Spirit to guide us.”
In the 119 years since the Arlee Esyapqeyni Pow Wow began, tribes on the Flathead Reservation faced opposition from the federal government. To hold traditional Indian ceremonies and celebrations in the late 1800s would have been in violation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs rules. Flathead Indian Agent Peter Ronan had no qualms about using the threat of U.S. Army interference to stop Native cultural practices on the Flathead Reservation.
The Salish and Pend d'Oreille tribes came up with an ingenious alternative to carrying out cultural events in secret and proposed having a Fourth of July “celebration” to honor the nation’s birthday. The BIA found it hard to come up with reasons to say no - and thus began a tradition that has grown and evolved over the subsequent decades.
This year’s Arlee Esyapqeyni Pow Wow events include drumming, singing, and dancing contests, arts and crafts, and food concessions. There will also be a Science Learning Tent on Friday from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 30, and Saturday, July 1.
In addition to the pow wow, there is a Youth and Family Day on Monday July 3 that includes games, a biathlon, a Rez Ride car show, a fashion design competition, a youth contest pow wow, and a Top Rez Chef competition. A DJ dance will be also held in the pow wow arena from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Fourth of July day events include a stickgame tournament, parade and a Snake Dance.
Here is a select list of pow wows happening across Turtle Island June 30th through July 4th:
Arlee 119th Annual Esyapqeyni Pow Wow, June 28-July 4
Arlee Pow Wow Grounds
425-1253 Pow Wow Rd (20 miles north of Missoula on Highway 93)
Arlee, MT 59821
For more information visit the Arlee 119th Annual Esyapqeyni Pow Wow website or Facebook event page.
Leech Lake 4th of July Pow Wow, June 30-July 2
Veterans Memorial Grounds
Palace Casino Drive (Located next to Palace Casino)
Cass Lake, MN 56633
For more information visit the Leek Lake Band of Ojibwe website or Facebook page.
Indian Plaza Intertribal 4th of July Pow Wow, June 30-July 2
Indian Plaza Pow Wow Grounds
1475 Mohawk Trail Route 2E
Charlemont, MA 01339
For more information visit the Indian Plaza Pow Wow Grounds website or Facebook page.
Northern Cheyenne Nation 4th of July Chief’s Pow Wow, June 30-July 2
Kenneth Beartusk Memorial Powwow Grounds
Northern Cheyenne Reservation (3 miles south of Lame Deer)
Lame Deer, MT 59043
For more information visit the Northern Cheyenne Nation website or NC Tribal Government Facebook page.
Oneida 45th Annual Pow Wow, June 30-July 2
Oneida Tribe Norbert Hill Center - Pow Wow Grounds
N7210 Seminary Road (5 miles west of Green Bay on Hwy 54)
Oneida, WI 54155
For more information visit the Oneida Nation website or Oneida Pow Wow Committee Facebook page.
Wildhorse 23rd Annual Pow Wow, June 30-July 2
Wildhorse Resort & Casino
46510 Wildhorse Blvd (I84, Exit 216)
Pendleton, OR 97801
For more information visit the Wildhorse Resort & Casino website or Facebook page.
Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) 21st Annual Green Corn Dance Pow Wow and Gathering, July 1
27345 Aquia Path
Courtland, VA 23857
For more information visit the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe website or Facebook page.
Mother Earth's Creation Pow Wow, July 1-2
Mother Earth's Creation Intertribal Pow Wow Grounds
2145 Rt.16 (White Mountain Highway)
West Ossipee, NH 03890
For more information visit the OMother Earth's Creation website or Facebook page.
Mashpee Wampanoag 97th Annual Pow Wow, July 1-3
Cape Cod Fairgrounds
1220 Nathan Ellis Highway, Rt 151
East Falmouth, MA 02536
For more information visit the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe website or Annual Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow Facebook page.
Quapaw 145th Annual Pow Wow, July 1-4
Quapaw Pow-Wow Grounds - Beaver Springs Park
5681 South 630 Road
Quapaw, OK 74363
For more information visit the Quapaw website.
Check out our Pow Wow listings here (updates ongoing).
Attention Pow Wow organizers:
You can also update your information on our pow wow email list. By adding your email, you’ll enable us to contact you on select pow wow updates & announcements. We will only send a few emails each year, and it will only be used by our internal pow wow team.
Add your email for the pow wow email list here: http://eepurl.com/bOY8ir
Follow ICTMN Correspondent Lisa J. Ellwood on Twitter at www.twitter.com/IconicImagery