By Don Lowe
Early next month, people from all around our country and even from several places from abroad will converge on Quapaw, Oklahoma, for the 150th Annual Quapaw Powwow.
“Because Quapaw is located on Old Route 66, people come from all over the world to catch this annual celebration,” Quapaw Nation Chairman Joseph Byrd said. “People have always come to Oklahoma to see Indians, and they still do.
“I have had people at my family camp visit from California, Illinois, China, Germany and Russia. The celebration also attracts many area residents, because it is a family event and there is something for everyone.”
This annual event is vital for so many reasons as it connects the past to the present, while keeping a rich history alive. “This year is the 150th Quapaw Powwow,” Byrd said. “It is the longest-running powwow in the state and second longest in the country.
“A powwow is a social dance where people come together to honor our ancestors, visit with family and make new friends. This year is special to the Quapaw, because it marks a time in our history when our people survived the American Civil War and the impact it had on federal relations with the United States and our Treaty of 1867.
“Quapaw ancestors fought and negotiated for our land and livelihood, and the powwow is an acknowledgement of their sacrifices.
“That is why it is important to the Quapaw Nation. We do it to honor the legacy of our ancestors. We sing and dance for them.”
It is no small task to put this event together and Byrd said, “The planning for this takes several months, and there are many factors that go into making it successful every year.
“From our Powwow chairman to all the volunteers who help out, it really takes a village to make it happen.”
For many of those who graciously lend a helping hand, it is personal. “I suppose the excitement comes from knowing this event has been going on so long and that for some, it is a family affair.
“Their fathers and mothers, or their grandfathers and grandmothers, played a role in keeping this event going for so many years and now the responsibility is with them.
“I think there is a certain level of hospitality our people are known for, and we uphold that expectation as best we can.”
Quapaw Powwow Fast Facts
What: 150th Annual Quapaw Powwow
When: Friday, July 1-Monday, July 4
Where: Quapaw, Oklahoma
Attractions: Includes dancing, contests, vendors and plenty of family fun. It’s a perfect time to celebrate the culture and history of the Quapaw Tribe.
Quapaw Nation: Find out more information about the Quapaw at www.quapawtribe.com.