The Coeur d’Alene Tribe won’t host a powwow this summer, but it will put on a brief cultural celebration next weekend that includes some traditional dance and song.
The Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort canceled Julyamsh, the big powwow usually held at the Greyhound Park and Event Center in Post Falls, because of the tribe’s opposition to the electronic “instant racing” betting machines installed at Greyhound Park. Four Idaho tribes maintain the machines are illegal.
Coeur d’Alene Tribe officials hope to resume the powwow in 2016 at a new outdoor venue near the casino, 24 miles south of Coeur d’Alene.
The traditional summer celebration next Saturday evening next to the casino resort is not a powwow, but it will give visitors a glimpse of the regalia, customs, dancing, drumming and song that have been part of Julyamsh.
“It’s really a demonstration performance and to celebrate and educate people about our culture,” said Quanah Matheson, cultural affairs director for the tribe.
It will be similar to the tribe’s annual Winter Blessing, a ceremony of appreciation for the blessings of nature’s bounty, Matheson said. The free summer celebration will include gifts of traditional food, such as salmon and huckleberry jam.
The event also will feature a fusion of traditional and contemporary dance with dubstep, a genre of electronic dance music. That shows how tribal members “transform ourselves but we keep to who we are,” Matheson said. “We’re modern people but we have traditional values. We move forward but we always keep our ancestral traditions and teachings alive.”
The celebration will be held at Chinook Meadow next to the resort. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the celebration begins at 7 p.m. and will last about an hour.
Held in Post Falls the past 17 years, Julyamsh grew into the largest outdoor powwow in the Northwest and one of the largest such events in the nation, with 1,600 participants and up to 30,000 spectators over three days.
A new grounds on the reservation for powwows and other events will enable the tribe to “benefit ourselves economically and invite people down to our beautiful reservation and share what we have with the general public,” Matheson said.
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