Thanks to all who made the 23rd Annual Coushatta Powwow a success! We enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new friends.
About the Powwow
About the Powwow
The Coushatta Powwow is one of the largest in North America, and is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
Be sure to witness a Grand Entry, a rhythmic march that opens the competitions, when all of the dancers in full regalia claim the Dancing Ground to the accompaniment of tribal drums and singers.
This is a family-friendly event offering a look at the fascinating culture and heritage of Native Americans.
In keeping with our native ways, we will always honor our veterans. We are proud to honor these noble individuals, offer our thanks for their service, and welcome all veterans to Powwow.
About the Coushatta Tribe
From their earliest days as a proud, hard-working people struggling to maintain long-standing traditions in the face of forced governmental relocation, the Coushatta Indians endured every hardship by which they were confronted.
Even after serious setbacks and tribal dispersions at the hands of regional government expansion, the character and ideals of the tribe held fast. Indeed, they were actually strengthened, and remain important elements of its culture today. The Coushatta language, in particular, is now considered unique among Native Americans because it has survived in its purest form.
The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana was officially recognized by the Federal government in 1973, established its present home north of Elton in 1975, and marked a major turning point in tribal history in 1985 with the election by popular vote of the first Coushatta tribal government.
Like many other traditions and practices, the Coushatta family unit continues to flourish and in itself remains the cornerstone of Coushatta life. Today, the tribe is composed of seven large families known as "clans".
Past and present, the Coushatta Tribe may proudly boast of a culture rich in courage, ingenuity and perseverance.
As owners and operators of Coushatta Casino Resort, the people of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana invite you to experience the many influences of tribal history and heritage that have culminated in a truly family-friendly resort environment.
When at a Native Powwow, it helps to know what behavior is considered courteous and respectful. Naturally, customs and rules vary from tribe to tribe. Powwow etiquette means more than just “company manners.” A breach of etiquette at a Powwow will not only offend, it may also result in the offender being removed from the arena. The best way to bypass this is to know what behavior is appropriate.
These actions are a given:keep your children near you, speak softly, and refrain from negative thoughts and comments. These actions show respect for the Powwow as a religious and sacred ceremony. Following are more etiquette hints for non-Native newcomers and visitors.
- All Powwows are sacred places. The Dancing Circle is ceremoniously blessed before any festivities begin. It remains sacred ground until the Powwow is over.
- Alcohol, drugs, and firearms are strictly prohibited.
- Do not bring your pets to a Powwow.
- Dress and act respectfully. Maintain modesty in your attire. It is not appropriate to wear hot pants, “short-shorts,” extremely short skirts, halter tops, swim-wear, or other offensive clothing. Profanity and excessive public displays of affection (“making out”) have no place at a Powwow.
- Seats near the Dancing Circle are reserved for drummers, singers, and dancers.
- Dancers wear regalia. (It is also sometimes called an outfit.) Referring to these beautifully handcrafted and ceremonially adorned items as ‘costumes’ shows disrespect. Often some of the articles comprising it are family heirlooms. Do not intentionally touch any part of it, especially the eagle feathers––they are sacred. If you see a lost eagle feather, do NOT pick it up! Notify the nearest Powwow staff member at once.
- The Powwow is a spectacle of color and movement, and you've brought your camera to capture the excitement.
Before you snap the shutter, remember:
- NEVER take photographs when the Master of Ceremonies has stated ‘no photos.’
- NEVER take photographs during prayers, veterans’ songs or flag songs.
- NEVER take photographs of dancers in regalia without first asking permission.
- NEVER assume that, because the dancer gave you permission to take a photograph, this also means you have permission to use it in a publication. You MUST have the expressed permission of the dancer you photograph to use his/her likeness in any publication. This is best accomplished with a model release signed by the dancer.
- It is courteous to offer to send the dancer a copy of the photograph.
- Listen and pay attention to the Master of Ceremonies. He will announce all the information you need to enjoy the Powwow and know what is happening.
- The Master of Ceremonies will also ask all attendees to stand during certain songs (honor, veteran, flag, prayer, memorial, grand entry, and any other song he designates). Please stand until the song is finished if you are at all able to do so. If you are wearing a hat or other head covering, you are expected to remove it.
- Though the excitement at a Powwow can reach fever pitch and the noise level can climb quite high, it is considered extremely impolite to use your finger to point. Many Native cultures consider the pointed finger to be a sign of rudeness. If you need to indicate a direction, nod your head and direct your gaze to the area where you want to focus attention.
- Most of all, enjoy yourself! Powwows are social events, a “family gathering” of sorts, a chance to learn about Native heritage, culture and traditions, and best of all, to make new friends.
The Stomp Dance
What is a Stomp Dance?
The Stomp Dance is a form of dance to celebrate our culture. Dancers dance in a counter-clockwise circle, woman following man following woman, and so on. Women wear long skirts and turtle “shakers,” one of the main components in making the music. Men “call” and are the highlight of the song by setting the pace of the dancers. This particular dance is common to Indians in the southeast part of the United States. The dance is celebrated socially and religiously. Social stomp dances are held throughout the year and can be held indoors or outdoors, with or without a fire. Religious stomp dances are held during the summer at the height of the new crop season at particular stomp dance grounds during the Green Corn Ceremony.
What does the Green Corn Ceremony have to do with the Stomp Dance?
The Green Corn Ceremony is a festive holiday our Koasati ancestors once participated in to give thanks to Abba Chokoli, our Creator for providing us with food, life, and faith. The ceremonial fire provided for the Green Corn Ceremony is never allowed to burn out. It is made to represent the ongoing faith and belief for Abba Chokoli. As we dance the Stomp Dance during the night our prayers are symbolically sent to Him through the smoke flowing high above the fire to the Heavens. As we dance, we pray, give thanks, and ask for forgiveness of our sins through song and dance.
How do you “lose” a tradition?
It is common for cultures to lose traditions over time for different reasons. For our Coushatta people, the struggle to maintain the lands our ancestors thrived on forced us to move from our original lands of Tennessee to Texas and then finally to Louisiana. Influence from non-Indian cultures and religion made a big impact toward losing our Koasati ways. Presently, very few of our people know the original dances, songs, and ways of our ancestors.
How do we know the Stomp Dance is a part of our Koasati tradition?
Historical accounts of the Koasati people participating in the Stomp Dance and Green Corn Ceremonies do exist. One of the first anthropologists to research our tribe was John Swanton. His research revealed many facts about the Koasati Tribe, including details of our migration and how our people used to live among the Creek villages. There are many resources that detail our people’s history in old documents, researchers’ notes, and many books.
The Garfish,once used for food and jewelry, represents courage, wisdom, strength, and discipline.
The colors, reflecting traditional clothing worn by tribal members, also reflect the various colors of the day and night and have individual meanings.
Black represents Night.
White represents Daylight.
Yellow represents the Sun.
Orange represents Discipline.
Red represents Life-giving Blood.
The Whole Shape represents the Never-ending Circle of Life and Eternity.
Coushatta Casino Resort
777 Coushatta Drive
Kinder, Louisiana 70648
Powwow / Vendor Information
Katie Arvie (337) 584-1545
Coushatta Casino Resort is located in Kinder, Louisiana. From Interstate 10 take Exit 44 to Kinder. The resort is 5 miles north of Kinder on US Highway 165. It is 2 1/2 hours by car from Houston, 3 hours by car from New Orleans.
If you have questions, you may call Katie Arvie at (337)-584-1545.
This is the web site of Coushatta Powwow.
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P.O. Box 1510
Kinder, LA 70648
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