Tradition and honor are to go hand in hand this weekend at the 24th annual Snow Mountain Pow Wow at the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe's Snow Mountain Indian Reservation.
Festivities are planned from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, with opening and closing ceremonies planned for both. Participants from around the nation and Canada are slated to offer their talents, tribe traditions, vendor goods and food to hundreds of visitors.
Performances pit Native American heritage dance groups of all ages against each other for prizes.
The powwow is also to honor veterans, as festivities coincide with Memorial Day weekend.
The Southern Paiute Veteran Association is to perform a Native American salute, including festival favorites, the traditional military "Taps" and a dance contest, at noon Saturday and Sunday.
The veteran recognition is a unifying experience, said Tonia Means, tribal council co-chairwoman and military family member.
"They sacrifice so much for this country," she said. "It doesn't matter what color or gender they are, they sacrifice and families suffer, and that's something we try to focus on."
An additional veterans memorial event is planned for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the grounds of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe's Snow Mountain Indian Reservation near U.S. Highway 95 at exit 95.
A bronze plaque is to be dedicated and a salute via military flyover and bagpipes are planned.
The event is free and open to the public.
Although the Snow Mountain Pow Wow is a time of remembrance, Means said it's also a time of therapeutic togetherness.
"It's a healing time," she said. "Everyone gets together and you see people you haven't in a while. You laugh, you cry. It's a good feeling."
Last year's festivities brought about 1,500 Native Americans and powwow visitors together. Means said the turnout was strong for a two-day event.
Among highlights for Means, who has been a part of the powwow since its inception, is the Northern Men's Traditional Group. The warrior and hunter- style of performance includes a bustle of eagle feathers and performers ages teen to "golden age," she said.
"They will make your stomach turn - in a good way," she said.
Vendors selling jewelry, pottery, flutes, traditional Indian music and baskets are expected alongside performance staples such as fried bread and Indian tacos, said tribal council co-chairwoman and powwow coordinator Marcia Mahone.
"It's a cultural experience," she said. "It allows people to see history and take part in it."
Powwow guests are invited to join tribe members in a planned intertribal event dubbed Social Dance, Mahone said.
"I would hope people come out to have a good time, have good food, meet new people and get a little bit of what our culture is all about," Means said. "We're here. We aren't going anywhere and we want people to see that."
Daily admission for adults is $5, and a weekend pass is $7. Children 12 or younger are admitted free, and parking is free.
No alcohol, pets or fireworks are permitted. For more information, visit lvpaiutetribe.com/powwow, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 386-3926.
Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at email@example.com or 477-3839.