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Holiday weekend starts with Arlee Powwow

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ARLEE — The Arlee Celebration Powwow kicked off their Fourth of July celebration this year on June 29, unpausing from Covid and carrying on the festivities through the holiday. 

The exact date of the first Fourth of July Powwow in Arlee hasn’t been pinned down due to government supression in the late 1800s. The CSKT website states that in 1977 Salish elder Blind Mose Chouteh placed the first Arlee powwow three years before the 1901 smallpox epidemic. This makes the Arlee Fourth of July powwow over a century old; a strong tradition that continues each year. 

This year’s celebration started with Campers’ Day, followed by a Memorial Ceremony for all Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal members who passed away in the last year. A material Stick Game took place afterwards. Friday was Traditional or ‘Old Style’ Day to honor the ways of the Salish, followed by a kids’ 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a 5K run on Saturday morning. 

Points for grand entries started Saturday afternoon, kicking off a full weekend of dance contests, singing, drums, history and celebration. 

“It’s a really important thing,” one attendee said of the powwow. “A lot of people have worked hard to keep these traditions alive, and now here we are.” 

“I just love it,” another attendee commented. “I look forward to (the powwow) every year. It really brings the community together.”

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