The Las Vegas Paiute Tribe has been part of Las Vegas since before there was a Las Vegas.
But if your knowledge of the tribe extends only as far as their Main Street smoke shop, this weekend's 24th annual Snow Mountain Pow Wow offers a more varied - not to mention more entertaining - introduction.
A Memorial Day tradition, the two-day event celebrates Native American culture from song and dance to arts and crafts.
The powwow provides "an opportunity to renew old acquaintances, make new friends and most importantly, see some of the best dancers in Indian Country," according to Marcia Mahone , who co-chairs the tribe's powwow committee.
Despite the tribe's efforts to publicize the event, local Paiute history is "not well known to the people of the Las Vegas Valley," Mahone says.
"Vegas has grown around us," she points out, noting that most locals who know the tribe's Main Street smoke shop are unaware that "there's a reservation behind the smoke shop."
The tribe's Snow Mountain reservation, about 20 miles north of downtown Las Vegas, provides a more expansive reminder that "we are a living, breathing culture," Mahone says. "We're still here."
About 150 to 200 dancers generally participate in the annual powwow, she says, in age categories ranging from Tiny Tots to 50-plus Golden Age performers.
And while this year's powwow features "local dancers" from Nevada - as well as the neighboring states of Arizona, California and Utah - participants also include "people on the powwow trail," who travel from event to event, Mahone says.
Among the tribes represented: Southern Paiute, of course, but also Navajo, Ute and Mojave . (Or Mohave , the spelling varies, depending on whether you're from California or Arizona, Mahone explains.)
And the best place to see them all, she advises, is the powwow's grand entry parade.
Scheduled at noon and 6 p.m. Saturday and noon and 5 p.m. Sunday, the parades feature performers from "all the dance categories," Mahone notes. "That's the highlight."
In keeping with Memorial Day weekend observances, the powwow also honors U.S. armed forces veterans during each grand entry. The Southern Paiute Veterans Association will perform a Native American salute, including a special version of taps, during the noon parades, to be followed by a veterans honor dance contest.
Other dance contests cover such categories as fancy bustle (for the guys) and fancy shawl (for the gals). There's also a drum contest.
The powwow features a variety of dance exhibitions, along with demonstrations of such age-old traditions as bird singing.
(Bleacher seating is available in the powwow arena, but visitors are welcome to bring lawn chairs to the event, Mahone advises.)
Along with the performances, the powwow features about 10 food vendors serving up traditional Indian tacos and fry bread with honey.
About 20 vendors will showcase a variety of arts and crafts, including jewelry, pottery, baskets and flutes, Mahone notes.
In most cases, "you're generally buying from the artists themselves," she says, which enables visitors to learn more about the objects on display.
Although the Snow Mountain reservation is usually about 10 degrees cooler than the Las Vegas Valley, Mahone reminds attendees that "we are still located in the desert." Which means the outdoor powwow might experience high winds - and/or burn-potential sunshine.
So, she advises, bring sunblock and water.
And wear comfortable shoes - because you'll find plenty to explore.
Contact reporter Carol Cling at email@example.com or 702-383-0272.