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40-year Manteca tradition
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The Three Rivers Lodge Powwow is traditionally a family affair for many guests attending such as this family who made their appearance at a previous event. Many of the children make their costumes for the event with the help of their parents. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO/Bulletin Correspondent

Another powwow is coming to Three Rivers in Manteca.
It’s the 40th annual celebration set to coincide with the Fourth of July observance. To mark the four decades of this summer American Indian tradition in Manteca, which is held this year from Friday, June 30 to Sunday, July 2, the theme is focused on “Honoring our Alumni.”
“This year, we celebrate by honoring our alumni, the people who have come and gone through our treatment programs,” explained Ramona Valadez, director of the Three Rivers Lodge facility which has been helping Native American Indians become clean and sober from alcohol and drug addiction.
There have been “probably thousands” who have gone through the government-funded programs “since it’s been in existence in 1972,” Valadez said.
Staff and volunteers are in the process of setting up the large tent in the back of the facility where the three-day event will take place beginning with the Grand Entry on Friday at 7 p.m. and ending at 11 p.m. The powwow will continue Saturday starting with the Grand Entry at noon followed by traditional dancing, drums and singing until 11 p.m. The final day of the powwow will start with another Grand Entry at 1 p.m. followed by more drums, singing and dancing through 6 p.m.
Close to 30 booths offering various Native American arts and crafts including costume jewelry, dolls, colorful beads and other souvenirs for sale are taking part in the celebration this weekend, Valadez said.
Indian tacos and drinks will be offered for sale by the Lodge as part of their fund-raising effort during the three-day event.
As in previous annual powwows, she expects to see hundreds of Native Americans not only from around San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties but also members of various tribes from all over the country and Canada “and even Central America and Mexico – the indigenous people from there.”
“Far more than a dozen” members of various tribes from all over the Golden State – “there are 114+ originally in California” – and from the “over 500 tribes in this country” have been coming each year to the Three Rivers Lodge Powwow, noted Valadez who is a registered member of the Comanche tribe in Oklahoma where she was born and where she lived until she got married and moved to California in the late 1960s.

Powwow open to public,
no admission for entry
The powwow is open to the public free of charge. However, everyone is expected to follow strict rules. Since this is a treatment facility, absolutely no alcohol or drugs are allowed. This is a “sober event,” Valadez emphasized.
No pets are allowed either. Visitors, though, are asked to bring their own chairs.
The reigning powwow princes this year is Kaylene Diamond Ballys.
The Three Rivers Lodge located on Union Road just north of Lathrop Road and Woodbridge at Del Webb has always hosted the powwow except on a couple of occasions when the venue had to be moved. However, since New Directions, Inc. and Three Rivers Lodge have purchased the property back in the 1980s, the celebration has taken place there every year.
For additional information about the Three Rivers powwow, call 209.858.2421.