Coushatta Tribe celebrates their heritage

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It is an event that is bringing hundreds of Coushatta tribal members together for a weekend of celebration.

This weekend is the 15th Annual Coushatta Powwow Celebration in Kinder, Louisiana.

"It's a social gathering where Native Americans will come from all across the United States and Canada and dance throughout the weekend and compete against one another," says Jauquin Hamilton of the Pawnee Tribe in Oklahoma.

Both men and women have their own dance categories when they compete.

"Each dance has an origin story of where it started and where it came from," says Hamilton.

As different tribes have different dances, this is the perfect opportunity for each tribe to learn from one another.

"Even though we're all Native American we're still different because we come from different tribes," says Hamilton.

"We all come together and bring our flavor to the dance arena," says Angelo Normandy of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

The celebration is also a chance for non-tribal members to come and experience a culture different from their own.

"They can visit with the dancers and talk about what their dance styles and what about the significance of their outfit," says Hamilton. "They can come try some Native American cooked food."

Fry bread is always a big hit among the visitors.

Members of the Coushatta Tribe feel that serving Indian tacos at the pow wow is a way to reach out to the community and share their culture with the world.

"It's been handed down from grandmother to mother and then we do it and try to teach our children," says Joyce Concho from the Coushatta tribe. "This is our culture so we don't want to lose it."

If you missed the pow wow celebration today, you can still catch the fun tomorrow.

Gourd dancing is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 11 AM at the pavilion next to the Coushatta Casino Resort.

The grand entry will follow at 1 PM.

(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)