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Powwow continues today at Three Rivers Indian Lodge
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A 32-year tradition continues today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Three Rivers Indian Lodge on North Union Road between Lathrop Road and Lovelace Road.

That tradition is the Fourth of July Powwow. The grand entry is today at 1 p.m.

Three Rivers actually has been a part of the Manteca community for the last 35 years, but the first powwows were held in Stockton. All subsequent celebrations were later hosted by the nonprofit Native American drug- and alcohol-treatment facility located on a three-acre piece of property on Union Road about a mile north of Lathrop Road.

The event attracts up to a thousand people every year, many of them coming from as far as Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

In keeping with their Native American powwow tradition, this weekend’s event will be free to the public with no admission fee asked at the gate. The other thing offered for free at this event is the traditional meal.

“We feed the public because it is our custom to give meal to the people who come here to share. They are all guests and so they can share the evening meal with us free of charge,” Three Rivers Indian Lodge Executive Director Ramona Valadez said.

In addition to the arts and crafts booths, there will be information booths featuring various nonprofit organizations such as the Veterans Administration, the San Joaquin AIDS Foundation, California TANF, Family Connection Foster Care, and Washo TANNF. The California TANF is a “welfare-to-work organization that helps needy Native American families.”

In addition to the arts and crafts and Native American food, there will be dance exhibitions. Featured this year are Robert Leroy (Head Man), Smoke Johnson (Head Woman), Rockin’ Horse (Southern Drum), Northern Eagle (Northern Drum), Dennis Plumley (Gourd dancing), and Danza Azteca Cuauhponal (Aztec). Program and dance competition emcee will be Erik Kimple with Henry Johnson as the arena director. Other highlights will be a “hand drum contest, winner takes all,” plus raffles.

As always, the powwow is a drug- and alcohol-free event.