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Pow Wow this weekend

Intricate and brightly colored costumes are a highlight of the Avi Kwa Ame Pow Wow Grand Entry. This year’s event marks the 20th annual gathering.

JULIE FAIRMAN/Laughlin Nevada Times

20th annual Avi Kwa Ame gathering

By JULIE FAIRMAN, Laughlin Nevada Times

LAUGHLIN — Beautifully dressed dancers and rhythmic drum music are but a few of the featured activities scheduled for the 20th annual Avi Kwa Ame Pow Wow, to be held at the Mojave Crossing Events Center Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 14, 15 and 16.
The origin of the pow wow is not known. Some believe they were held to revive old friendships and begin new ones, while others are of the opinion that they came about when the American military forced Native Americans onto reservations and further demanded that they perform for the public.

Whatever the root, today’s pow wows are a vibrant, interesting and time-honored display of the native people’s heritage and culture.
This year’s pow wow begins at 6 p.m. Friday with Bird Singing and Dancing. The Bird Singing and Dancing competition will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The festivities on Friday and Saturday begin at noon with the Gourd Dance. Originally thought to be a dance of warriors, the Gourd Society was resurrected in the 1930s to recognize Native American soldiers who have served in the military.
Grand Entry will follow the Gourd Dance at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and also at 7 p.m. Saturday. At that time, a host Drum will be selected for that particular session. (Drum sign-up begins at 9 a.m. Saturday.)

Drum is a term which describes not only the instrument but, also, its complement of musicians and singers, and it is the center of the arena and the center of attention. The Drum performs for all occasions, including contest songs, flag songs, memorial songs, intertribal songs and more. Drums may travel many miles to attend pow wows.
Individuals from many different tribes will participate in the dance contests, with competitors divided into age groups from toddlers through elders. They will compete in fancy dancing, grass dancing, jingle dress dancing and many other structured dances. Dancer registration begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, and the fee is $5.
In addition to the dancing, songs and drums, there will be vendor and food booths. 
Tickets to attend the pow wow are $5 each or $8 for a two-day pass. All event times are Arizona time. No alcohol, drugs, firearms or fireworks will be permitted at the pow wow. The Mojave Crossing Events Center is located across the Colorado River from the Avi Hotel and Casino.
For more information, go to www.mojaveindiantribe.com/tribal-news/ or call Bricker at 760-629-4591.