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Powwow returning to Three Rivers Indian Lodge for 3-day run Friday
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The family takes center stage at this year’s celebration of the annual Fourth of July Three Rivers Indian Lodge Powwow.

“Honoring the Family” is the theme of the three-day traditional observances which will begin on Friday, July 2, with the opening grand entry starting at 7 p.m. On Saturday, July 3, events will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the grand entry scheduled at 1 p.m. On the third and final day of the powwow, the program will begin at 11 a.m. with closing ceremonies set for 7:30 p.m. Grand entry on Sunday, July 3, will also begin at 1 p.m.

Now in its 29th year, this annual gathering of tribes from all over California, plus others from out-of-state, is an occasion filled with traditional and celebratory Indian dances. Featured this year will be two special contests, each offering a $500 cash prize to the winners: the combined Women’s Northern/Southern dancing, and the combined Men’s Fancy/Grass dancing.

Special guests include Head Man, Richard Vigil of Las Vegas, Nev.; Head Woman, Ronna Potts of Elgin, Okla.; Southern Drum, Rockin’ horse, Northern Drum, Red Storm, and Gourd, Monte Potts of Elgin, Okla.

Reigning over the 2010-11 powwow is Princess Michelle Peltier-Bright.

In addition to the wide array of bright and colorful costumes of the dancers, this drug-free and alcohol-free celebration will feature a variety of booths ranging from arts and crafts, Native American food and other collectibles. There will be raffles as well which will be conducted at various times during the day’s events.

Three Rivers Indian Lodge director Ramona Valadez said there will be limited spaces for camping at the facility’s compound located at 13505 Union Road between French Camp Road and Lathrop Road. Spaces will be on a first come, first-served basis only, she said. Donation per space is $10.

Three Rivers Indian Lodge is under the umbrella of the Native Directions, Inc. of San Joaquin County. Founded in 1974, the facility provides alcoholism-treatment services for individuals of Native American heritage. It offers the services “for the individual needing a point of new beginnings,” according to the program’s mission. Plans are under way to expand the facility’s programs to increase service capacity from 40 to 120 and to include job training, education, health care and women’s substance-abuse treatment.