Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow to Feature Native Singer/Songwriter Pura Fé

TunicaPowWowTunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and Paragon Casino Resort host 19th Annual Pow Wow Celebration

MARKSVILLE, LA – Native American dancers and artisans from across the nation will gather for the 19th annual Pow Wow celebration at the Chief Joseph “Alcide” Pierite Pow Wow Grounds on the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation in Marksville, May 16-18. The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and Paragon Casino Resort will host the cultural festivities, filled with authentic food, arts and crafts, dancing, singing and more.

This year’s Pow Wow will feature special performances by New York native, Pura Fé.  Pura Fé descends from a generation of Native American singing sisters from North Carolina. She is a founding member of the Native American women’s acapella trio, Ulali. In the late 1970’s, Pura Fé began singing with local bands and recording jingles. In 1995, she released her first solo album, the R&B inspired Caution to the Wind, written and produced by James McBride on Shanachie Records. She also appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno with Ulali and Robbie Robertson to debut the Ulali song “Mahk Jchi-Heartbeat Drum Song”, which went platinum in Italy.

Pura Fé has appeared on several soundtracks including “The World Festival of Sacred Music” and on the Showtime hit series, “The L-Word.” She won a NAMMY (Native American Music Award) for best female album in 2006 and the L’Academie Charles Cros for best world album. In late 2009, she released “Full Moon Rising” for DixieFrog Records and toured extensively throughout Europe. Pura Fé’s fifth solo album, a live double CD entitled “A Blues Night in North Carolina,” was released in the spring of 2011. Pura Fé will perform at the Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow in two concerts on Saturday, May 18 at 11 a.m. and 6:15 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday, the best Native dancers from across the country will compete for a share of $35,000 in cash prizes. Dance category styles include: fancy, grass, traditional, straight, buckskin and jingle. Categories are divided as follows: golden age (men and women, 50 plus), adults (men and women, ages 18-49), juniors (boys and girls, ages 11-17) and children (boys and girls, 10 years and younger). The Golden Age Men & Women’s (age 50+) will be expanded into four categories including Northern and Southern styles. The Chicken Dance has become a standard category for adults (Age 18+). On Friday evening, the Pow Wow Committee will host a Special Mystery Dance Contest where three categories will be randomly selected to compete at 8 p.m. Participants will compete for $1,000 winner-take-all prize in each dance category.

Native American drum groups will compete for a share of $12,000 in cash prizes. First place winners will receive $3,000, second place $2,000 and third place $1,000 in both Northern and Southern style categories. Host drums are not eligible.

Open to the general public, daily admission to the Pow Wow is $5. The fee for children 5 and younger is $3. Spectators will be treated to other performances by flutist, Hawk Henries and the Tunica-Biloxi Legend Keepers. Native American food, art and craft vendors will also be a special part of the weekend’s festivities.

Prior to weekend, the Pow Wow Committee will present a series of free 90-minute programs on Native American culture for school children on Wednesday, May 15 and Thursday, May 16 on the Tunica-Biloxi Reservation. Area students will be able to learn firsthand about Indian cultures from native people in this unique opportunity. The presentation will cover various components of an inter-tribal pow wow highlighting the historical, social, religious, and symbolic significance of its activities including performance of Indian drum and flute music, story telling and traditional dances.  Tunica stories and songs will be featured on the program. Students from kindergarten to high school age are welcome.

The weekend schedule of events is as follows:

Friday, May 16:

6:30 – 7:15 pm Hawk Henries concert (Nipmuc Flutist)

7:30-9:30pm Grand Entry (Procession of Dancers in full regalia); Social Dancing

8:30pm Committee’s Special Dance Contest (3 Categories selected randomly after Grand Entry)

Saturday, May 17:

10:00am Tunica-Biloxi Singers & Legend Keepers (Storytelling & Songs)

11:00am Pura Fé concert (Singer & Songwriter)

12:00pm Gourd Dancing (Warrior Dance)

1 – 4pm Grand Entry; Social Dancing; Dance & Drum Competition

5:30pm Hawk Henries concert (Nipmuc Flutist)

6:15pm Pura Fé concert (Singer & Songwriter)

7:30pm Grand Entry, Social Dancing, & Competition

Sunday, May 18:

10:00am Tunica-Biloxi Singers & Legend Keepers (Storytelling & Songs)

10:30am Gourd Dancing

12:00pm Grand Entry; Social Dancing; Competition Finals

4:00pm Dance & Drum Contest Awards

For more information about the Tunica-Biloxi Pow Wow or other upcoming events at Paragon Casino Resort, please visit www.tunicapowwow.org or call 1-800-946-1946.