Beautiful Photos From the Peoria Tribe's Pow Wow in Oklahoma
Over the last 15 years the annual Peoria Pow Wow has flourished into something special for the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.
“The first pow wow we had was sparse and there was only about 40-50 dancers,” said Peoria Chief John P. Froman. “But this year we had well over 200 dancers and around 1,800 to 2,000 people attend the pow wow.”
The 15th Annual Peoria Pow wow was in Miami, Okla., on Friday, June 22 through Sunday, June 24.
Froman has attended every single pow wow and has enjoyed seeing it grow year after year.
“Each year we try to make improvements to the pow wow ground and we have put about $100,000 into it,” Froman said. “We have put in lighting, speaker stands, arbors, bleachers and expanded the camp ground.”
Froman adds that the tribe has made a commitment each year to provide a nice place for tribal members and guests.
“There is a great group of participants and many tribal nations represented at this pow wow,” said Froman. “The support is great from tribal members and visitors-it’s a great family event.”
The pow wow was started 15 years ago by a group of tribal members who simply just wanted to have their own tribal pow wow.
“In this area there are nine different tribes and almost all of them have their own powwow,” said Rob Blalock, Peoria Pow wow Committee Chairman. “We wanted to have our own pow wow so people could come and enjoy a weekend with us.”
The Peoria Tribe had land available so Blalock and others built the pow wow grounds.
Blalock, Peoria and Shawnee, said the first couple years the pow wow was only 2-days long and there was no contests. Then the committee added contests and began adding money each year.
This year the pow wow had a $1,600 All-Category Women Special Contest and a $2,000 Special Chicken Dance Contest. Both specials also had four consolation prizes of $400 each.
Blalock said that the support from the Peoria Business Committee and the Peoria General Council is what has really built the pow wow. The pow wow budget each year is $30,000.
“I have helped built the pow wow to what it is now and to see it grow makes me feel really good,” said Blalock. “It helps when you got good people helping.”
Blalock has been involved with the pow wow for 15 years and was the very first head man dancer. He has also been the arena director and has served as the committee chairman for seven years.
Blalock has been a part of the pow wow since it started because he wants to help his tribe as much as he can.
“I use to dance but I am older now and I don’t dance anymore but I want to help and have something for younger generations to look forward to,” Blalock said.
Blalock is always looking for ways to fix up the pow wow grounds and by next year’s pow wow he said the grass parking lot will be paved.
Jay Blalock, Shawnee, thinks the drive for the pow wow is great and it is just a good place to go.
“This year the women’s special had five groups of 13 contestants and the chicken special had about 27 contestants- for that corner of the state that was huge,” Jay said.
Jay has not missed a pow wow and helps in any way possible. This year he helped cook food for the pow wow concession stand, he helped run the contests and did anything else Blalock needed.
“I love the pow wow, the commodity around the pow wow and the people who come around,” Jay said. “It is a nice place to go laugh, giggle and have a good time.”