MARKSVILLE, LA – This May, the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana will host the 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 also 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 continues to grow. 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 9:00am and 11:00am. 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. Vendors must apply in advance. For more information, visit tunicabiloxi.org.