25th Annual Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow Returns to Avoyelles Parish

After 3-year hiatus, Tribe encourages public to participate in traditional arts, storytelling, music and dance competitions

Marksville, LA – (March 3, 2023) –This May, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana will host its 25th Annual Pow Wow following a three-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This annual public event, held on the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation in Marksville, welcomes various regional indigenous tribes to celebrate culture through vibrant craft displays, music performances, dance presentations and cultural exhibits. An assortment of interactive events and live performances throughout the weekend aims to highlight the history and traditions of the Tribe. Not only does this historic, cultural event celebrate the traditions of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe, but neighboring tribes from across the region, who are invited to share their own culture and heritage as well.

This year’s Pow Wow is also a celebration of community resilience in times of difficulty brought on by the recent pandemic and the perseverance of the Tribe. Native Americans were one of the hardest-hit groups during the COVID-19 pandemic. They faced a long road of protecting their citizens, often living in rural areas far from healthcare access and rebounding in the aftermath. Despite these setbacks, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe’s reach is as large as ever and only continues to grow while still honoring its culture. Just this past year, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe saw great victories, including reclaiming ancestral burial grounds in central Louisiana and expanding internet and broadband access within the reservation. Additionally, members of Tribal leadership were selected to serve on numerous federally-appointed boards and committees with the hopes of amplifying the Tunica-Biloxi mission, and the goals of Indian Country nationwide.

“While the annual Pow Wow serves as a much-needed homecoming for Tunica-Biloxi citizens throughout the nation, the upcoming 25th-anniversary celebration is especially important after being separated by time and pandemic for the past three years,” said Tunica-Biloxi Chairman Marshall Pierite. “The year’s celebration is a reminder of our fellowship with other Native American Tribes and the importance of honoring our native cultures while our reach continues to grow nationwide.”

Featured performances and events include the Tunica-Biloxi Singers and Legend Keepers, Native American dance and drum (singing) contests and special performances by Swamp Water and native flutist, Hawk Henries. The event will also feature food and craft vendors.

Additionally, the Tribe will hold an Education Day on Friday, May 19, ahead of the Pow Wow. The event will include two sessions at the Chief Joseph Alcide Pierite Pow Wow Grounds at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Area children and school groups are invited to attend and discover the diverse and vibrant traditions of Native Americans from across the U.S. The event will include dance demonstrations, and attendees are invited to join in. The Tribe also encourages those attending to try their hand at using traditional tools and toys, as well as learn about basketry, clothing and jewelry of tribes of various regions. The Tunica Biloxi Singers and Legend Keepers will also share tribal folklore, language and songs with participants. Admission is free. For more information, contact Elisabeth Pierite-Mora (emora@tunica.org).

For lodging or general information, call 800-272-9767 or visit tunicabiloxi.org. Vendors must apply in advance. Contact Paulette Voiselle (pvoiselle@tunica.org) or Leslie Bonnette (lbonnette@tunica.org) for information on becoming a vendor.

Staged Reading of Play Three Sisters, set on Tunica-Biloxi Reservation, Debuts in Avoyelles Parish

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe and Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company presents a staged reading of the story of three Tunica-Biloxi sisters written by playwright with Tunica roots. 

Marksville, LA – (February 23, 2023) – The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, in conjunction with the Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company, presents a stage reading of Three Sisters at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, at Paragon Casino Resort. Written by playwright Carolyn Dunn, a descendant of the Tunica-Biloxi and other Native American tribes, Three Sisters shares the story of estranged sisters who return home to Avoyelles Parish in Louisiana at the request of their dying aunt. The performance explores familial ties, hidden secrets and death when they meet at the intersection of love, loss, tradition and culture.

Dunn’s Native American heritage gives her a deep, innate understanding of what motivates her characters and the connection between culture and relationships. Three Sisters give credence to the struggles of the Native American community and the plight tribal citizens face to preserve their culture and traditions when faced with the challenges and pressures of today’s society. 

“It is important for not only the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, but all of Indian Country to share pieces of our culture with those unfamiliar with our history and traditions,” said John Barbry, Director of the Tunica-Biloxi Language and Culture Revitalization Program. “Our hope is to continue spreading our culture across the country, and with the help of Three Sisters and Carolyn Dunn, we are well on our way. I encourage all audiences to partake in this wonderful story that transcends cultural divides.”

Three Sisters will be read at Paragon Casino Resort on March 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. The performances are free and open to the public. For additional ticketing information, contact Paulette Voiselle at pvoiselle@tunica.org or (318) 240-6400. The performance sponsors include The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, the Tunica-Biloxi Education Department, the Tunica-Biloxi Language and Culture Revitalization Program and the Oklahoma Indigenous Theatre Company.

Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana commits $1 million to fund new multi-sport complex

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana commits to their community through $1 million donation for the development of a multi-sport complex in Avoyelles Parish

Marksville, La. – June 29, 2022 The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana contributed to the development of Avoyelles Parish’s newest multi-sport complex by making a $1 million commitment over the next ten years, including $300,000 for this year.

“The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe has always taken the stance that we must continue to invest in our communities and our younger generations so that we as a people, and our neighbors, may continue to thrive,” said Tunica-Biloxi Chairman Marshall Pierite. “This sports complex will bring much needed opportunities for recreation to the youth of Avoyelles Parish. I extend my sincere thanks to all who have participated in bringing this very worthy cause to fruition including the local community, Representative Deshotel, Senator Heather Cloud, the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury as well as the Vice-Chairman Marshall Ray Sampson, Sr. and the entire Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Council.”

Members of the community recognized the need for a sports complex with the ability to host a wide range of sporting events and activities and approached Tunica-Biloxi Tribal leadership for assistance. Tribal leadership, with the support of a committee devoted to making this dream a reality, approached Louisiana State Representative Daryl Deshotel and Louisiana State Senator Heather Cloud.

During the recent legislative session, Rep. Deshotel and Sen. Cloud, armed with the support of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe, collaborated to secure $350,000 in state funds as well as donations from other private donors that will be used to bring this sports complex to Avoyelles Parish. It is envisioned that the complex will house baseball, softball, soccer and football fields – for use by the local community.

“I work with ARC,” said Sen. Cloud. “I have an intellectually disabled adopted son, and they compete in the Special Olympics across the state. The Muscular Dystrophy Association also has events in different places across the state, and I am excited about being able to host these things in time in Avoyelles Parish.”

Lawmakers and community leaders are eager to commence building over the next few months and are working with the Avoyelles Recreation Board in their search for property near the center of the parish that can accommodate the new facilities.