Powwow to Launch Native American Heritage Month

Published October 17, 2022

DURANT, Okla. – The 17th Annual Choctaw Powwow will kick off Native American Heritage Month with what is regarded as one of the nation’s largest and best powwows. Set for Nov. 4 – 6, it also is offering the largest purse in its history for dancers and drums, almost $177,000. More than 600 dancers are expected to be joined by drummers and singers, and an estimated 13,000 visitors for the festivities.

The Choctaw Cultural Center will host Choctaw Day, showcasing Choctaw heritage and a Gourd Dance Friday, Nov. 4. The Choctaw Powwow will then move to the Choctaw Event Center for its two days of dance and drum competitions, Saturday, Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 6.

Kerry L. Steve, executive assistant of Cultural Services, said, “Last year’s dancers represented 65 tribes from across the United States and Canada. It was truly an international event with last year’s live internet coverage reaching 640,000 views from 111 countries.”

On Friday, Nov. 4 the Choctaw Gourd Clan will have its official debut on the Outdoor Dance Arena in the Living Village of the Choctaw Cultural Center. Gourd dancing begins at 3 p.m. Choctaw cultural activities will be held throughout the day, such as singing in the Choctaw language, social dancing, and stickball demonstrations. There is no charge to attend the Gourd Dance or stickball games, but regular cultural center admission prices apply for Choctaw Day activities and other center activities.

On Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Choctaw Event Center, the Powwow’s first Grand Entry of the day will begin at noon with dancing beginning immediately afterwards. “Specials” with gifting and recognition will run 4 – 6 p.m. The evening Grand Entry will begin at 7 p.m., followed by dancing.

Contests will be offered for seven different age groups from Senior Golden Age to Tiny Tots. Various categories for dancers include Northern Traditional, Straight, Grass, Fancy Feather, Chicken, Southern Cloth, Southern Buckskin, Jingle, and Fancy Shawl. The Women’s Choctaw Traditional will return for its sixth year. Competitions are open to both Northern and Southern Drums. Dancers and drums planning to compete may register onsite.

On Sunday, Nov. 6 the Grand Entry will be at Noon with dance and drum contests following immediately. The drums will have their final competition with first-place Southern and first-place Northern going head-to-head with an additional money purse sponsored by Discover Durant.

Admission is free to the Choctaw Powwow at the Choctaw Event Center and doors will open at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Choctaw Cultural Center is located at 1919 Hina Hanta Way and the Choctaw Event Center at 3702 Choctaw Rd. in Durant. For the complete schedule and activity updates to the 17th Annual Choctaw Powwow, visit Choctaw social media or bit.ly/cno-pow-wow.



Photo by Choctaw Nation