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36th annual Three Rivers Powwow starts Friday
Three Rivers Indian Lodges 2012-2013 Princess Taylor Fountain is shown at the right. - photo by HIME ROMERO


• WHAT: 36th annual Three Rivers Powwow complete with traditional dances, ceremonies, vendors, and food
• WHEN: Friday, July 5, 7 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, July 6, 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; and Sunday, July 7, noon to 6:30 p.m.
• WHERE: Three Rivers Lodge on North Union Road north of Manteca

A Native American tradition that has been going on for close to four decades in Manteca will take place over the holiday weekend starting on Friday, July 5.

“Honoring the Nation” is the theme of the 36th annual Fourth of July Powwow to be held at Three Rivers Indian Lodge, 13505 N. Union Road. The summer staple of traditional dances, songs, native arts and crafts, food, and other attractions is being presented by the Native Directions, Inc./Three Rivers Indian Lodge.

Some of the highlights of this yearly event include the spectacular grand entry with the first one kicking off the three-day celebration on Friday at 7 p.m., open gourd dancing, dance contests, a raffle, and the offering of a traditional meal on Saturday evening. If you miss the first grand entry on Friday, you can catch up with the colorful parade of dancers and drummer participants in their ornate and colorful traditional costumes – many of them, if not all of them, handmade by the participants – on Saturday at noon and 6 p.m., and on Sunday at the start of the festivities at 1 p.m.

 While this is a Native American celebration, one does not have to be one to enjoy the event. No admission is charged at the entrance. All that guests are requested to do is to not bring any drugs or alcohol since Three Rivers is a drug- as well as an alcohol-abuse treatment facility, and that rule stands all the time. Guests are also asked to bring their own lawn chairs for their maximum comfort.

The Manteca pow wow has been hosted by Three Rivers every year around the Fourth of July observance. The only exceptions were the two years when the event was staged at the McFall Ranch in Lathrop, and at the McKinley Park in Stockton another year. For “whatever reasons,” the then-owners of the property did not want to have the powwow at the site, Three Rivers director Ramona Valadez explained last year. However, since the roughly four-acre property was purchased by Native Directions/Three Rivers several years ago, the traditional gathering has been held at this site annually.

Three Rivers is a program operating under the umbrella of the non-profit Native Directions, Inc. of San Joaquin County.