North American tribes come together at Choctaw Pow Wow - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

North American tribes come together at Choctaw Pow Wow

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One of the participants in the 2019 Choctaw Pow Wow. (KTEN) One of the participants in the 2019 Choctaw Pow Wow. (KTEN)
Native American drummers at the 2019 Choctaw Pow Wow in Durant. (KTEN) Native American drummers at the 2019 Choctaw Pow Wow in Durant. (KTEN)

DURANT, Okla. -- More than 150 tribes were represented this weekend at the 15th annual Choctaw Pow Wow in Durant.

There were dancers, drummers and singers competing for prize money.

At its core, the Pow Wow is a celebration of life, harmony and kinship, and is a time for Native Americans to come together and celebrate their culture.

"Dance was actually created by my people, so I'm always happy to share that wherever I go," said Wichita War Dancer. "The colors that I wear represent strength; they represent the sun; they represent a new day, a new beginning, that we are gifted every day by our creator."

Tribal members came to Durant from all across the United States and Canada.

"I've been a couple times, actually," said northern traditional dancer Dallin Maybee. "I currently live in Colorado, so it's a bit of a hike, but I love coming here. Some of my best friends are here."

Pow Wows date back to the beginning of Indian reservations, when so many things were being taken away from them -- including their dances.

"Slowly they came back but, we still needed to fill that need of competition, to compete with each other," said Choctaw Pow Wow coordinator Michael Roberts. "So we would bring our best dancer forward and they would dance against one another and the crowd would decide on who the winner was."

And the dancers embody strength to tribal members.

"Yes, we are a people who have had so much taken from us in the past but yet here we are, so many generations later, carrying on these same traditions," Wichita War Dancer said. "It makes me very proud to be a part of it."

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