Yavapai nations host powwow this weekend in Camp Verde

CAMP VERDE – Native American singers, dancers and drummers from tribes throughout the Southwest will converge on Cliff Castle Casino's Stargazer Pavilion for the annual Verde Valley Powwow Friday through Monday.

Featuring Native American foods, crafts and jewelry, the pow wow is the Native American people's way of renewing old friendships and establishing new ones through traditional dance and song.

The Verde Valley Powwow started 12 years ago when the Jackson family established the event to bring back culture, tradition and a sense of belonging to the Native American youth. The event has continued and expanded thanks to the support of Cliff Castle Casino and the Pow Wow Committee.

"We look forward to this event each year with great anticipation," said John O'Neill, general manager of Cliff Castle Casino. "The powwow offers an opportunity for the community to connect with the rich culture of native peoples, while allowing Native Americans to celebrate their history."

Many festivities will take place over the course of the weekend, including the Grand Entry, the centerpoint of the pow wow in which tribal veterans carry in the US flag, tribal flags, POW flag and eagle staffs of the various tribes present, followed by tribal chiefs, elders and native dancers.

The powwow will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday and between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The cost of admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors or children ages 10 to 17. Children under 9 admitted free.

Powwow is a Native American culture event. No alcohol or firearms allowed on the premises.

The Head Staff for this year's powwow includes Roy Track, master of ceremonies; Emerson Nakai, Navajo, arena director; Gabriel Ayala, Yaqui, headman; Hattie Elsenberg, Kiowa, headlady; and a head gourd to be selected for each session.

For more information on Cliff Castle Casino, the Yavapai-Apache Nation, or Indian gaming visit www.cliffcastle.com.