DURANT, OK – The 18th Annual Choctaw Powwow is the first event of November’s Native American Heritage Month scheduled for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO). Regarded as one of the nation’s largest and powwows, the event runs Nov. 3-5 at the Choctaw Event Center in Durant, OK. Admission to the powwow is free all three days.
On Friday, Nov. 3, a gourd dance will open the powwow weekend beginning at 3:00pm at the event center. Also on Friday, the Choctaw Cultural Center will host Choctaw Day. Doors will be open 10:00am to 2:00pm at the cultural center. Cultural activities will be held including singing in the Choctaw language, social dancing, and traditional Native foods served in the center’s Champuli Café. Regular cultural center admission prices apply. In addition, a day-long stickball tournament is planned for Saturday, Nov. 4 on the Choctaw Cultural Center stickball field. Admission to the games is free.
The Choctaw powwow will stage two days of dance and drum competitions on Saturday, Nov. 4 and Sunday, Nov. 5 at the Choctaw Event Center. On Saturday, the powwow’s first Grand Entry of the day will begin at noon. The evening Grand Entry will begin at 7:00pm. Contests will be offered for various dance categories and different age groups from boys and girls ages 7 to 12 to seniors. The Women’s Choctaw Traditional will return for its seventh year.
On Sunday, Nov. 6 the single Grand Entry will begin at noon. Drum categories include both Northern and Southern styles. Discover Durant will sponsor a drum head-to-head contest between Northern and Southern contest winners.
The Choctaw powwow is offering one of the largest purses in the nation, including $1,000 in some dance categories and $10,000 for first-place drum competitors. More than 13,000 visitors are expected to join the 600 dancers and dozens of drummers and singers.
“In past years, dancers represented 65 tribes from across the United States and Canada,” said Kerry L. Steve, Choctaw Cultural Center Director of Arts. “It has become an international event with live internet coverage reaching almost 700,000 views in more than 100 countries.”