The event began 13 years ago when two Native Americans, Kat and Leroy, were living on the property as volunteers and wanted to see a pow wow take place on the land. Hilda Jackson of Eureka Springs was one of the founders. According to her son, Clif Jackson, who serves as special events coordinator for the Refuge, his mother had some Cherokee blood, and was interested in the dancing. It became one of her favorite festivals.
Jackson took over the management of the pow wow 10 years ago. This year’s festival honors his mother, who passed away in February of this year. A moment of silence and an honor dance will be offered in her memory.
The pow wow is open to all tribes, and is well represented by Sioux, Apache, Choctaw and Cherokee dancers. The gates open at 3 p.m. Friday for an early preview of the crafts booths; the Grand Entry of the dancers begins at 7 p.m. The festivities include intertribal dances, contests, and exhibition dances.
Saturday and Sunday the arts and crafts booths open at 10 a.m., and the dance activities begin at noon. Intertribal and contest dances, including children’s dances and Golden Age Women’s dances, highlight the afternoon’s footwork.
Saturday evening women, men and golden age men perform their dances.
Sunday afternoon, tiny tots and men and women dance once more, and a special Father’s Day Honor dance, in memory of all fathers and all fallen soldiers, will end the performances. Contest winners are announced late in the day. Judges are other dancers and Native Americans familiar with the tribal dances.
Food vendors will offer turkey legs, wood fired pizza, funnel cakes, Navaho tacos and fry bread, as well as soft drinks.
Cost is $5 daily admission; $10 for the entire weekend, and children under three are admitted free. Proceeds go to help build natural habitats for the Big Cats of Turpentine Creek.
Alcohol, drugs and firearms are not permitted.
For additional information, call 479-253-3790 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .