MISSION — Native American dancers and drummers will share their cultural traditions during the upcoming Wildhorse Pow Wow.

In its 25th year, more than $90,000 in cash and prizes is on the line as members of tribes from all across the United States and Canada compete. Dancers of all ages will compete in a variety of categories, including traditional, fancy, golden age, grass, chicken, jingle and more.

Pow wows offer an opportunity for Native Americans to gather to celebrate their cultural tradition, spirituality and competition. For thousands of years, music and dancing has played an important role in the lives of tribal members all across North America.

Colorful regalia and intricate ceremonial clothing is featured during the celebration. The pow wow is Friday through Sunday at Wildhorse Resort & Casino, located off Highway 331, Mission. Due to the launch of the Wildhorse expansion project, the outdoor venue has been moved to the open area west of the Wildhorse RV Park. Visitors should watch for directional signage to the new location.

The pow wow begins each day with a grand entry — 7 p.m. on Friday, and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There is no admission charge for spectators.

The host drum is Sharp Shooter from St. Paul, Minnesota. The group placed second during the 2016 Wildhorse Pow Wow. Serving as emcee are Fred Hill, Thomas Morning Owl and Jerry Meninick.

“When you get hit by a song, when you get hit by the vibration of that drum that makes you move, that’s when it gives life,” Hill said in an interview with The Archeology Channel. “As long as we dance, we shall live. As long as we sing, we shall live, too.”

A singer and cultural historian, Hill said in a past East Oregonian interview that pow wows are a way to participate in tribal culture. In addition, he said they give “our young people something they can be proud of.”

The Wildhorse Pow Wow also features traditional foods and American Indian arts and crafts. In past years, more than 50 vendor booths offer everything from Indian fry bread and beadwork to clothing and jewelry.

Also, held in conjunction with the celebration, Wildhorse Resort & Casino is hosting Pow Wow Comedy Night. The free show is Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Rivers Event Center.

Headlining the event is Tonia Jo Hall (Lakota, Dakota, Hidatsa). In addition to being a comedienne, Hall is a motivational speaker, jingle dancer and self-described “pow wow addict.” Opening the show is Marc Yaffee, founder and co-star of the “Pow Wow Comedy Jam.”

For more information, visit www.wildhorseresort.com.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539

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