Sun, Dec. 15

Verde Valley Pow Wow

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DRUM contests are one of many events at the annual Verde Valley Pow Wow this weekend at Cliff Castle.

This year’s event is dedicated to the memory of Lucille Rose Jackson.

Featuring Native American foods, crafts and jewelry, the Pow Wow is the Native American people’s way of renewing old friendships and establishing new ones through traditional dance and song.

The Verde Valley Pow Wow started 12 years ago when the Jackson family established the event to reintroduce culture, tradition and a sense of belonging to the Native American youth. The event has continued and expanded thanks to the support of Cliff Castle Casino and the Pow Wow Committee.

“Each year we look forward to organizing this cultural event, and we enjoy seeing the community celebrate and have a great time,” said Pauline Jackson, Pow Wow Committee representative.

“We take pride in hosting the Verde Valley Pow Wow each year,” added John O’Neill, general manager of Cliff Castle Casino. “The Pow Wow offers a chance for us all to connect with the rich culture of native peoples, while allowing Native Americans to celebrate their history and pass traditions to future generations.”

Many festivities will be held over the course of the weekend including the Grand Entry, the centerpiece of the Pow Wow, where tribal veterans carry in the U.S. flag, tribal flags, the P.O.W. flag and eagle staff followed by various tribes and royalty.

Prize money totaling $30,000 will be awarded to Native American dancers in the tiny tot, junior, teen and adult competitions and drumming competitions.

The Pow Wow begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 9, with the sacred Gourd Dance, followed by the Grand Entry at 7 p.m. The festivities continue on Saturday and Sunday, July 10 and 11, beginning each day at 11 a.m. Highlights of Saturday’s schedule include:

• The Gourd Dance at 11 a.m.

• The First Grand Entry of the day at noon

• Dance contests for tiny tots, juniors, teens and adults

• Drumming competition

• The Second Grand Entry of the day at 7 p.m.

• Sunday’s activities feature a Gourd Dance at 11 a.m. and a Grand Entry at noon.

The cost of admission is $5 per adult and $3 each for children ages 10 to 17 and seniors. Children under age 9 are admitted free. Tickets are available at the gate on the day of the event only. Pow Wow is a Native American cultural event. No alcohol or firearms are allowed on premises, and a zero-tolerance drug policy is also enforced.

The head staff for this year’s Pow Wow includes Gabriel Ayala, Yaqui, master of ceremonies; Emerson Nakai, Navajo, arena director; Lawrence Jackson, Apache-Hopi-Yavapai, head man; and Monique Jackson, Apache-Hopi-Yavapai, head lady.

The Pow Wow is put on by the Jackson Family, sponsored by Cliff Castle Casino, and held at the beautiful Stargazer Pavilion at Cliff Castle Casino, owned by the Yavapai-Apache Nation. The Yavapai-Apache Nation is a self-governed sovereign Indian tribal nation that has called the Verde Valley home for more than 150 years. The Nation opened Cliff Castle Casino in 1995, breathing new life into the local economy and creating more than 800 jobs for northern Arizona residents.

Each year, the Yavapai-Apache Nation donates more than a quarter of a million dollars to charities and education initiatives in Northern Arizona.

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