Once a year the America Indian Council of Mariposa County of the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation organizes a traditional Native American celebration. To most people this celebration is known as a Pow Wow, but to the Native Americans it is known as Chi-Tock-Kote-U-Pu, a drug free, alcohol-free, smoke-free celebration. This event is a celebration of Native American Culture, song and dance, proceeds help the Nellie Tucker Scholarship.
The event is held each year on Mother's Day weekend. The event is a celebration of Native American culture, song and dance and helps to fund the Nellie Tucker Scholarship.
The weekend event features several dance performances and contests. The men and boys compete in Fancy Dancing, Grass Dancing and Traditional Dancing. The women and girls compete in Fancy or Shawl Dancing, Jingle Dress and Traditional Dancing.
Contest dancing is divided into categories by age and style. The number of categories varies among regions according to local traditions and to the number of dancers. Dancers are judged on their regalia, as well as their dancing style. Dancing out of beat, losing regalia, or failing to stop on the fast drum beat can disqualify a dancer. The age categories being with Tiny Tots which are children five years old and under, Boys and Girls ages 6 to 11 are next, then Boys and Girls ages 12-17. The adult categories are divided between men and women ages 18 to 49. The Golden Age category is for men and women over 50.
The Grand Entry begins each session with a procession of dancers. The Flag Bearers lead the procession carrying the Eagle Staff, American Flag, Canadian Flag, and frequently, the MIA-POW Flag. Being a Flag Bearer is an honor usually given to a veteran, a respected traditional dancer, or a traditional elder. Indian Royalty are next, consisting of tribal and organizational princesses and other dignitaries. The Head Dancers lead a single file procession of dancers arranged by category and age. Everyone is asked to stand during the Grand Entry and men should remove their head coverings unless it has an eagle feather. After all the dancers are in the arena, a flag song is sung to honor the Eagle Staff and the flags. Then a respect person, usually an elder, offers a prayer. This is followed by a victory song during which the Eagle Staff and flags are placed in their standards. At this time, the Master of Ceremonies will introduce the Head Dancers and Royalty.
The Pow Wow is held at the Mariposa County Fair Grounds on Hwy 49 South.