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Chukchansi Kicks off Pow Wow 2021

O’NEALS – Native American culture will flourish this weekend at the Minarets High School, as the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians kicks off its 2021 Pow Wow in a celebration of song and dance with the theme “Healing.” Presented by Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, the Tribe’s largest cultural event of the year takes place Oct. 8-10 and will feature a remarkable showcase of traditional handmade regalia, singing, dancing, drumming, crafts and food.

This year’s Pow Wow is recognizing two critical movements at the heart of community members’ everyday safety: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and Every Child Matters / Missing Children. By lending support to these movements, the 2021 Pow Wow Committee hopes to help end this preventable danger to our women and children. In addition to sharing information on how to participate in these movements to ignite change, this year’s Pow Wow will also feature a special dance in honor of MMIW & Missing Children.

“Pow Wow is an opportunity to embrace all of our brothers and sisters and honor our rich ancestry and heritage through good medicine of traditional prayer, drumming, singing and dancing – because the things we have in common greatly outweigh our differences,” said Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians, Tribal Council. “At this special time of year, we look forward to welcoming new and old friends and family as we join in praise of the incredible blessings bestowed upon us, and to recognize our ancestors, elders and veterans, whose sacrifice and perseverance has enabled us all to sustain our cultural way of life. During this year’s Pow Wow, we’re proud to honor Elders Marjorie Ann Lewis and Michael Philley, in addition to shining a light on the importance of the MMIW and Every Child Matters movements.”

Led by Master of Ceremonies Val Shadowhawk , festivities will include dance, drum and handgame contests, raffles, and the crowning of Miss Chukchansi and Jr. Miss Chukchansi. Highlighted performances include Patwin California Traditional Dancers and Hoop Dance performed by Logan Ramirez, in addition to Men and Women’s Team Dance. Dance competitions will range from Tiny Tots (6 years and under) to the Golden Age group (participants aged 65 and older). Wearing colorful outfits, dancers will demonstrate their talents as they compete for cash prizes. Head Dancers include Dustin Johnson (head man), Marsha Munoz (head woman), Randy Garcia (teen boy), Imani Manuel (teen girl), Nathaniel Johnson (Jr. boy), Katherine Sanchez (Jr. girl), Clay Madrigal (tiny tot boy) and Brooklyn Johnson (tiny tot girl). Guests also will want to experience the daily Grand Entry, a procession of all the Tribal dancers in their Native American finest. A variety of vendors will be on-site selling Native American crafts. All dancers and spectators are welcome.

Temperature checks will take place upon gate entry. As this is an outdoor event, no COVID test is required. Media attendees should check in at the Registration Table with Pow Wow staff on Friday from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Pow Wow Hours:

  • Oct 8 – 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Oct 9 – 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • October 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Event Schedule

  • Miss Chukchansi and Jr. Miss Chukchansi Crowning – October 9, 12 p.m.
  • Grand Entry – October 9 – 12 p.m. 7 p.m.; Oct. 10 – 12 p.m.
  • Handgames – October 8 – 7p.m. $50 buy-in, 9 – Kids Tournament (no buy in) 12p.m. & Main Tournament 2p.m. $125 buy- in & 10 – 1pm $100 buy-in

Click here for the detailed event timeline.

Special thanks to major Pow Wow sponsors including Chukchansi Crossing/Sonic/Willow Glen Smoke Shop, Chukchansi Insurance, Dumont Printing, Fresno Grizzlies, Mission Linen, Pepsi Beverage Company and US Foods.


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