Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana Celebrates the Return of Pow Wow

After three years, Tribe welcomed the community to participate in traditional Native American arts, storytelling, music and dance competitions

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This weekend, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana invited neighboring tribes and Avoyelles Parish community members to join them in celebrating its 25th Annual Pow Wow following a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19. The vibrant cultural event highlighted Native American traditions through culinary offerings, traditional dancing and music, art and storytelling. Visitors from across the United States and Canada gathered to learn about the cultural significance of Pow Wow and Native American traditions.

“The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe was thrilled to be able to invite our neighbors and loved ones to celebrate Pow Wow this year after being unable to gather for three years,” said Tunica-Biloxi Chairman Marshall Pierite. “Pow Wow is about coming together to proudly represent our Native traditions and culture, making new memories, connecting with old and new friends and educating our future tribal generations and the community. This reunion was much-needed, and we look forward to honoring the tradition of Pow Wow for generations to come.”

Participants from Maine, Texas, Oklahoma and many other states traveled to Marksville, Louisiana, to enjoy the weekend full of cultural and traditional celebrations. Young and old alike gathered to hear the tales of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe, showcase their Native dances and share their tribal art through music, pottery, jewelry, clothing and more offered by vendors throughout the weekend.

Native dancers from across the country competed in a variety of dance categories – including Golden Age, Men’s Chicken, Senior Adults and Junior Adults, Teens, Junior Boys and Girls and Tiny Tots – led by Head Lady Melissa Guerrero, Head Man Dancer LaRay Guerrero and Head Gourd Dancer Gary Tomahsah.

Pow Wows, in tribal tradition, are gatherings to honor native heritage, give thanks to the Creator spirit and socialize with members of tribes from across the nation. From fancy dancers decked out in feathered tail pieces to traditional dancers with bristly porcupine “roach” headdresses, it was unforgettable for all attendees.

To learn more about the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana, click here.

Pow Wow Education Day Returns to Inspire Students of All Ages

After 3-year hiatus, Tribe encourages public to participate in this free, educational event held before annual Pow Wow

The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana will host a free Education Day following a three-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This annual public event, held on the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation in Marksville, is a free day of programming dedicated to educating students of all ages on Native American culture and highlights the historical, social and symbolic significance of inter-tribal Pow Wows.

The 2023 Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow Education Day will consist of Pow Wow dance demonstrations, Tunica-Biloxi storytelling, arts and crafts vendors and displays, flute music and an interactive traditional home. The Ottertrail Singers from Apache, Oklahoma, will accompany dance exhibitions during the programs, and attendees are encouraged to participate in inter-tribal dances, including Round Dance and Two-step. The Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow Committee is excited to welcome back Native flutist and master flute maker Hawk Henries to Education Day.

“The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana prides itself on the robust educational programming we have developed over the last several decades,” said Tunica-Biloxi Chairman Marshall Pierite. “This is an opportunity to share Native traditions with students of all ages so they may better understand our rich history and culture, and I encourage all who are able to participate in this wonderful experience.”

Students of all ages and backgrounds are welcome, and group reservations are encouraged. There will be two (2) programs, approximately 75 minutes in length, scheduled for 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Friday, May 19, 2023. For reservations, contact Elisabeth Pierite at (318) 240-6432 or emora@tunica.org. Education Day is a free preview to help audiences understand what they will see at the 25th Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow held on May 20 & 21.

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.

Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow 2021 Postponed

Out of an abundance of caution, the Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow Committee has decided to postpone our 25th Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow until May 21-22, 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pow Wow is an opportunity for our Tribe as well as other Native Americans to come together as a community and celebrate our heritage, and out of concern for the health and well being of our members we believe it is best to reschedule for a time when we feel it is safe to reconvene as a tribe of many.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to gathering with you next year!