The 25th Annual Tamkaliks Pow Wow and Friendship Feast showcased some of the best dancers from three states and shared a meal with 575 guests.

The event, held at the Homeland Project site in Wallowa is an annual opportunity for neighbors to unite.

“This is a time to come together as friends and celebrate this place,” said local Nez Perce representative Joe McCormack. “It is not a time to dwell on the dark times of the past, but to celebrate the friendships of today.”

The “place” is the 320-acre Homeland Project grounds with a huge dance pavilion shaded from the sun by a parachute cover that billows and breathes with the breeze and floored beneath with grass. It will soon contain a longhouse for the celebration of various events and educational programs and displays.

Dancers from Idaho, Washington and Oregon demonstrated traditional dances throughout the two-day program as master of ceremonies Thomas Morningowl, Fred Hill and organizer Brian Conner explained the meaning of the pieces and joked with performers.

The community feast, which fed 125 more visitors this year than last, was a huge success with plenty of buffalo, elk and salmon to go around. This time, in addition to the meats, traditional native foods such as camas root and biscuit root were served. Visitors and neighbors usually bring the side dishes, and there were plenty of those to go around as well.

The atmosphere this year was very relaxed, according to numerous reports, and visitors felt welcomed, entertained and educated.

Special presentations were made to the descendants of the Women Warriors of the War of 1877.

Winners of the female dance competitions were: Women’s Senior Dance, Scherri Greene of Lapwai, Idaho; Women’s Traditional Dance (18-49), Katie Harris of Pendleton; Girls’ Teen Traditional (13-17), Dana Sotomish of Lapwai, Idaho; Girls’ Traditional (7-12) Layla Sohappy of Pendleton; Fancy Shawl, Dana Sotomish of Lapwai, Idaho; and Jingle Dance, Dana Sotomish of Lapwai, Idaho.

Winners of the male dance competitions were: Men’s Senior Dance, J.T. Williams; Men’s Traditional Dance (18-25) Steve Axtell; Boys’ Teen Traditional (13-17) Juan Sotelo; Boys’ Traditional (7-12) Dylan Sampson; Fast and Fancy (all ages) Gary Smith; Grass Dance, Robert Tewawina, Sr.

The annually awarded scholarships went to local Karl Wellens and Native American Antoinette Crowe. The scholarships are awarded to both a member of the tribe and a non-member as an expression of friendship and belief in the future.

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