DURANT, Okla. (KTEN) — The Choctaw Nation celebrated its 16th annual  Pow Wow on Saturday and Sunday at the Choctaw Event Center.

This event honors the heritage of Native Americans through music and dance, and many participants came from all over the United States and Canada. 

"Many, many years ago, our Choctaw people, we had something similar to this that wasn't called 'Pow Wow,' but it was just a gathering," said arena director Michael Roberts.

He explained that people would come and share in song and dance to celebrate life. 

Many dancers performed to the beat of the drums, and tribal member Kaya Littleturtle shared what this signifies.

"It's the heartbeat of the people and of Mother Earth," she said. :We actually refer to the drums as our 'grandfather,' and we never leave the drums by itself."

Josiah Tsatoke, a member of the Kiowa tribe, said this event is special to share with other tribes.

"For us to come here today in 2021 and to represent and go into the year of 2022 means a lot; not just for my people but for all the Indian people in the world," he said.

"We've got these little ones coming up, and we need to share our traditions and cultures with them so they can go on and pass it to their future," added Joyce Gilmore.