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2019 White Eagle Park Ponca Powwow & Celebration

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All are invited to the 143rd White Eagle Park Ponca Powwow & Celebration on August 22-25, 2019 at White Eagle Park in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Originating on the Historic 101 Ranch in Ponca City, the White Eagle Park Ponca Powwow & Celebration features dancing, food and craft vendors. The excitement begins each day at 2 p.m. in the south arena. After a supper break at 5:30 p.m., the festival resumes at 7:00 p.m. in the main arena with different activities each night. Thursday features the crowning of the new Ponca Princess; Friday is the boys’ and girls’ junior division dance contests, Saturday is the womens’ division and Sunday is the mens’ division and fancy dance contest.

White Eagle Park Ponca Powwow & Celebration

There will also be food vendors and arts and craft vendors available. Bring your folding chairs and sit close to the dance area or score a seat in the original bleachers of White Eagle Park. The Powwow Tribal Powwow is free and open to the public.

Visitors are reminded that brush arbors, benches and chairs surrounding the circle are for dancers and their families. In the center of the circle is a brush arbor for the singers and the drum.

Public Welcome – Free Admission & Parking

Thursday: 2:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Friday: 2:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Saturday: 2:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Sunday: 2:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Historic White Eagle Park
20 White Eagle Dr
Ponca City, OK 74601

For More Information:
Call (580) 762-8104; Email
Alfred Arkeketa Jr 580-716-3892
Ben Arkeketa 580-304-9383
Betty Van Hoesen 580-352-2392
Tillie Broncho 580-352-0663

Pow-Wow Head Staff
Head Singer: William Kemble
Arena Directors: Pete Buffalohead, Mike Snake
Master of Ceremonies: Lester Eagle, Ben Arkeketa, Oliver Little Cook
Head Man Dancer: Graham Primeau Jr
Water Carriers: Charles Warrior, Patrick Warrior
Contest Coordinator: Wesley Hudson

White Eagle Park Ponca Powwow & Celebration - Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma

Prize Money
Tiny Tots Combined (5 & Under)
Juniors 6-13
Boys: Fancy, Straight; Girls: Cloth, Fancy Shawl, Jingle
1st $150 2nd $120 3rd $100 4th $75
Teens 14-17
Boys: Straight, Traditional, Fancy, Grass
Girls: Cloth, Fancy Shawl, Jingle, Buckskin
1st $200 2nd $150 3rd $125 4th $100
Golden Age Women 55+ Combined
Adult Women 18-54
Cloth, Fancy Shawl, Jingle, Buckskin
1st $500 2nd $400 3rd $300 4th $200
Golden Age Men 55+ Combined
Adult Men 18-54
Straight, Traditional, Fancy, Grass
1st $500 2nd $400 3rd $300 4th $200

Dance Sessions
Dance sessions will be held daily Thursday through Sunday, with afternoon programs beginning at 1:30 p.m. in the Rev. Dr. Thomas Roughface (South) Arena and the evening programs beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Main (North) Arena.

Afternoon Programs: Hosted each day by a different tribal organization and is a time for bringing new dancers into the circle, for family songs and for specials. All specials and giveaways will be held during the afternoon programs.

Thursday Evening Program: feature the selection division contests for boys and girls 13-18. The Indian Two-Step dance, where girls and women pick a partner, will also be held this night.

Saturday Night Program: Open with the Parade In of all dancers followed by Soldier dances. Dance contests this night are all of the Women’s divisions (19-54), Teen Fancy Dance and also the men’s Feather Pulling Contest.

Sunday World Fancy Dance Championship: The final night on Sunday will see all men’s division contests concluding with the World Fancy Dance Championship.

Other Pow Wow Activities
An arts and crafts fair for all ages will be held Thursday through Saturday at the Ponca Tribal Affairs Building. Saturday at 9:00 a.m. will find youngsters competing at the Main Arena in various fun events at the Ponca Youth Olympics.

Ration for Campers
Rations will be distributed to all campers at 10:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

About White Eagle Park & History of the Ponca Pow Wow
White Eagle Park has been the site of cultural practices of the Ponca Indians, such as the annual White Eagle Park Ponca Powwow & Celebration, for 128 years. Located on lands assigned to the Ponca Indians as a reservation after their removal from Nebraska in 1877, the park is a roughly triangular area of 26 acres lying just north of the Ponca Indian community of White Eagle.

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The park has been in use by the Ponca Indians as a campground and site of traditional ceremonies and dances since 1878. The main features of the park are a welled spring and two dance arenas still used for ceremonies, social activities and the annual Ponca Powwow. The smaller South Arena, in use since the late 1870s, is simply an open grassy area surrounded by trees. The larger North Arena, in use for most of the 20th century, lies on open ground in a circle of bleachers.
White Eagle Park is the first property in Oklahoma to be nominated and listed as a traditional cultural place on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located five and one-half miles south of Ponca City in the White Eagle community of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma,

The campground in White Eagle Park was the location for one of the most important, unifying, and enduring Ponca traditions, the Ponca Powwow. By 1938, the annual Ponca Powwow had grown to a four-or five day event with large crowds converging on the campground at White Eagle Park to watch or participate in the dances. They could also view exhibits of Ponca crafts and watch baseball games featuring the Ponca Indian Cyclones. A Powwow Princess was chosen on the opening Thursday night, a list of dance contestants was announced, and a schedule of events through Sunday night was advertised in the newspapers.

Earlier in the 1930s, a New Deal program, thought to be the Works Progress Administration or the Civilian Conservation Corps, Indian Division, had walled the spring and built a gazebo over it and a stairway for easier access from the camping areas. Workmen had also constructed three large five-tiered stone and concrete bleachers on level ground at the north end of the park, which provided audience seating for a space that served as both a baseball diamond and a large, lighted dance ground now known as the North Arena. For generations of the Ponca people, particularly those who no longer lived in the White eagle community in the late 20th century, the Ponca Powwow and the return to the campground at White Eagle Park meant coming home.

Poncas Create “Fancy Dance”
Not a historical dance tradition of any tribe, the Fancy Dance was created by members of the Ponca tribe in the 1920s and 1930s, in an attempt to preserve their culture and religion. At this time, Native American religious dances were outlawed by the United States and Canadian governments. Traditional dances went “underground,” to avoid government detection. However, this dance, loosely based on the traditional War Dance, was considered appropriate to be performed for visitors on reservations and at “Wild West” shows. Two young Ponca boys are specifically credited with developing the fast-paced dance that the audiences loved and the Ponca Tribe soon built their own dance arena in White Eagle, Oklahoma.

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Within no time, other tribes continued the practice and created new dances that could legally be danced in public. In the 1930s, the Kiowa and Comanche created new styles of dance regalia that was incorporated into the Fancy Dance.

Even before the Fancy Dance was established, an intertribal Pow Wow circuit had already been organized where various tribes held dance contests. These became an important source of revenue during the Great Depression. In the late 1930s, women also began to perform in the Fancy Dance

The dance is fast paced, colorful, and highly energetic, often including tricks and extremely athletic movements. Dancing regalia includes brightly colored feather bustles and headwear, beaded bodices, leggings, shawls, and moccasins. Clothes are also decorated with fringe, feathers, embroidery or ribbon work, and other rich designs. Beaded cuffs, chokers, earrings, bracelets, and eagle plumes are also worn. Fancy dancers are the most commonly scene in public exhibitions today and the dance has also became a competitive sport.

White Eagle Park Ponca Powwow & Celebration - Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma

The White Eagle Park Ponca Powwow & Celebration is not responsible for theft, accidents, or short funded travelers.

Mark your calendar today so you don’t miss the next White Eagle Park Ponca Powwow & Celebration at White Eagle Park in Ponca City, Oklahoma in August.

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