Julyamsh returned this year to a new setting with more space and more excitement. Julyamsh is the Northwest’s largest powwow with more than 800 dancers and about 60 drum groups participating in the celebration. This year’s festival was held July 22-24 at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds and was filled with culture, tradition and fun.
When ties were severed with Greyhound Park in 2014, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe was in search of a new home for Julyamsh and after a long two years without the powwow the tribe found a bigger and better home in Coeur d’Alene at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.
“I have felt that this is where we belong, in Coeur d’Alene,” said Coeur d’Alene Casino Cultural Affairs Director Quanah Matheson. “Before contact and for decades after, this is where most of our tribe lived, on the north shore of the lake and near the Spokane River. It’s like returning to our ‘capitol city’ for Julyamsh.”
Julyamsh drew roughly 20,000 participants over the course of the weekend and featured multiple activities for everyone to watch. A Stickgame Tournament was held during Julyamsh so festivalgoers could migrate between the fairgrounds and the casino to get a better glimpse of the Native American culture. Apart from the dancing and drums, Julyamsh boasted a horse parade, various forms of art and food vendors.
The weekend started with rainstorms causing some events to be moved but the rain didn’t stop the excitement. The grand entry began with flag bearers and tribal royalty leading all the competitors around the arena. Different types of dances were represented in the grand entry giving a peek of what was to come in the remaining days.
Friday night’s event included the grand entry, special dance events hosted by Coeur d’Alene royalty Little Miss Coeur d’Alene, North Star Lawrence; and Miss Coeur d’Alene, Kyra Antone, as well as the Stickgame Tournament. Lawrence’s dance was a Sweetheart dance for couples in honor of her own grandparents. Antone’s dance featured donated school supplies being placed in the center of the dance floor for people to take what they needed while everyone danced.
Saturday was filled with even more. The Stickgame tournament continued, two grand entries were held, Friday’s reschedule horse parade contest took place and dancing. The night ended with a Royalty Crowning. The weekend culminated the following day with the Head Woman’s special dance, capping off a weekend filled with culture and tradition. Julyamsh 2016 made a grand return that we hope allows the powwow to thrive in the coming years. Visit Julyamsh.com for a full list of winners.