8th Annual Permian Basin Inter-Tribal Powwow

by Mitzi Loera
NewsWest 9

They are draped in traditional regalia as they make their way onto the main floor.

A floor already blessed by a traditional dance known as the gourd dance.

The powwow begins.

"We bring in the dancers from all across the United States. The northern straight dancer is the one that wears all the feathers, a bustle in the back, and a head that is covered in a lot of feathers then there are the southern straight dancers which have more of the buckskin like leggings, and not as many feathers," Luis Tijerina said.

Organizers define a powwow is a colorful celebration of Indian people in dance, drum beat, and song

"We want the people to know that the heritage, and culture is alive and well, and it has been and it hasn't died out.  We want to make sure that the people know the truth about our heritage, and culture and not what Hollywood puts out," Tijerina said.

With powwows like this one taking place all across the U.S. when members get together they say it's like one big family reunion.

"If we don't preserve it its going to die, and there's a lot of good things going on here today that lead to other things as far as the tribe is concerned.  There is a spiritual thread that runs through it, and attached to all that's going on out here, and its important to keep that alive and give it on to the next generation," Tijerina said.

In working to preserve traditions for the next generation a health study is being conducted during the powwow to find ways to better treat the Native American.

The Permian Basin Inter Tribal PowWow continues on Sunday.