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Winter powwow honors Native American heritage

A gourd dance during the Texas Indian Heritage Association's 64th annual powwow in 2022 at the John L. Kuykendall Event Center in Llano. The 2023 powwow is Jan. 28 at the center, 2200 RR 152 West. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography

The Texas Indian Heritage Association hosts its 65th annual winter powwow on Jan. 28 at the John L. Kuykendall Event Center and Arena, 2200 RR 152 West in Llano. It is open and free to the public and non-members.

TIHA members will conduct their traditional business meeting and hold a covered dish supper, vendors will be selling native heritage items, and the day will culminate in a series of traditional dances and ceremonies. Visitors are encouraged to join in the festivities, although the business meeting and supper are for members.

“Our goal is to celebrate Native American culture and get other people interested in it,” said TIHA Chairman Peter J. Durkin. “It's also kind of like a family reunion, seeing your friends and family that you haven’t seen in months.”

Durkin said the powwow's centerpiece will be a Kiowa- and Comanche-style gourd dance at 6:30 p.m. in the arena. The dance was originally performed by warriors from Southern Plains tribes, but it was outlawed in the 1890s and nearly erased from history by the 1930s. The modern Kiowa tribe revitalized the practice in the 1950s, and it has since spread to powwows across the country. This is still a “warrior” dance, and as such, it is performed by military veterans.

Those who wish to stay for the gourd dance and the intertribal dance in the evening should bring their own chairs.

Traditional powwows are community-based celebrations that bring together local tribes, family, friends, and organizations, and the TIHA powwow is no exception. Durkin noted that everyone is welcome, whether or not you’re of Native American descent.

“Over 75 percent of (TIHA) members are non-natives, but we share a passion for the traditions, cultures, and respect for what native people have contributed to the country,” he told 101HighlandLakes.com.

IF YOU GO

Whether shopping for native-made wares, learning more about the native traditions of Texas, or connecting with your own native roots, the winter powwow is a great first step toward embracing Texas' Native American heritage.

SCHEDULE

  • 11 a.m. — facility opens
  • 2 p.m. — business meeting
  • 5 p.m. — covered dish supper
  • 6:30 p.m. — gourd dance
  • 7:30 p.m. — intertribal dance

THINGS TO KNOW

  • The event is free to attend.
  • PLEASE ask before you take photos of dancers in their regalia.
  • There will not be food for sale, so bring your own if you plan to stay for the evening.
  • Bring your own chairs to sit and watch the dances.
  • There will be opportunities to dance if you’re feeling up for it.
  • No alcohol or drugs are permitted at the powwow.

dakota@thepicayune.com

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