Spring Powwow Set for April 7-8 on USAO Oval
One of Chickasha’s largest annual powwows is scheduled April 7-8 on the oval at the University of Science and Arts. Students in the Inter-Tribal Heritage Council (ITHC) are planning the event, which is non-exclusive and open to all members of the community.
Special guest dancers from across Oklahoma will be featured. The two-day event kicks off Friday evening at 8 p.m. as the Mithlo family of Apache performs the Dance of the Mountain Spirits.
According to tradition, this dance is performed as a blessing for the Apache people. “This is a sacred ritual passed throughout many generations of our people that we are sharing,” said Heidi Tee, senior Indian studies student from Apache. The Council has asked the public to refrain from taking photographs and filming videos during this dance.
Saturday’s events include a Gourd Dance from 2-5 p.m. and a free dinner featuring fry bread and Indian corn for all guests from 5-6 p.m. The Grand Entry is scheduled at 7 p.m. followed by a dance contest in eight categories.
“The Grand Entry is a beautiful sight to see,” said Tee. “They will dance as they enter, and then they will dance to a memorial song in honor of the service men and women who have fought or are still fighting for our country.”
ITHC sponsors this event each year in the spring at USAO. This year, the John Holt Auto Group of Chickasha provided support for the dance contests. The powwow also is sponsored in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council. The Comanche Indian Veterans Association and Comanche Nation College acted as co-hosts for the event.
“We would like to invite everyone to come out and have a good time,” said Tee.
The USAO Princess is Jerrolyn Doyebi of Anadarko. The Little Princess is Mia Fisher of Anadarko, who is also head little girl dancer. Emcee for the event is Sammy “Tonkei” White of Anadarko. Host drum is provided by Southern Thunder, which is made up of members from across the state. Head gourd dancer is Austin Klinekole of Apache.
Head war dancer is Zack Morris of Shawnee, and head lady dancer is Sarah Kelley of Lawton, who was named Miss Indian Lawton. Head little boy dancer is William Satepeahtaw of Anadarko.
The powwow is free and open to public. Booth spaces for local and out-of-state artists and vendors are available for $25. More information is available from Tee in the USAO Native American Resources Office, 405-574-1317.